The Poila Baisakh buffet at The Sonnet has a mix of traditional recipes from grandma’s kitchen and a remixed take on others. It also has certain items which were never Bengali to begin with.
While the chef has not tampered with sacrosanct recipes of Sukto, Dhokar Dalna and Alu Jhinge Posto, he has taken the liberty to innovate the paturi and kasa mangsho.
“The Bhetkir Dhakai Paturi is not steamed in the conventional style. The spices are different too. I’ve tried to make it taste like the paturi my mother made when I was young,” says corporate chef Niladri Chakraborty.
For the Hensel Thakurer Kosha Mangsho, the hotel claims they have got a chef who used to serve British sahibs. “He is very particular. He would not even let us use packed spices. Everything had to be natural,” says Chakraborty. The hard work pays off. The meat melts in your mouth and the flavours come alive.
The festival also serves Babu Saheber Chicken Biriyani. “Even though biriyani isn’t a Bengali dish it is a favourite of Bengalis,” says the chef. “Bengalis have personalised it by adding potatoes and eggs and the end product tastes neither like the Lucknowi nor the Hyderabadi biriyani.”
There is Basanti Pulao, which is basmati rice cooked with ghee and it emits a rose-like aroma. You can also team the Potoler Dorma with Hing-er Kachuri. For desserts there are favourites like Notun Gurer Jalbhara Sandesh and Patishapta.
“We decided on the menu based on customer demands. Many of them insist on items like Kumro Phooler Bora and a posto dish with jhinge so we have incorporated these in the menu,” says manager (food and beverages), Soumen Halder.
Henshel Thakurer Kosha Mangsho
Mutton: 850g cut into medium pieces (ribs preferred but optional)
Onion: 2 medium, finely sliced
Ginger: 2 inch, grated
Garlic: 4 pods, grated
Green Cardamoms: 5
Cinnamon: 2 each one-inch long
Red Chilli Powder: 1 tbsp
lKashmiri Mirch: 2 tbsp
Turmeric: 1 and ½ tbsp
Cumin seeds: 1 tbsp, dry roasted and finely powdered
Tok doi/Curd: 3 tbsp, heaped
Salt: to taste
Mustard Oil- 6 tbsp
Heat oil in a handi and add whole spices (cloves, cardamom, cinnamon). Fry for thirty seconds till spices crackle.
Add the sliced onion and fry for three minutes on medium high heat until soft.
Add grated ginger and garlic and stir for further 3 minutes
Add chilli powder and turmeric powder. Fry for one minute.
Add mutton pieces, mix well with the masala and fry on high heat for 7 to 8 minutes stirring continuously until oil leaves the masala.
Add the beaten curd (doi) as prepared above and fry on medium high for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the handi from direct heat.
Place the handi on a flat pan or tawa, cover with a tight fitting lid and place the tawa on medium low heat. In this manner, cook the mutton on indirect heat for 30 minutes or till meat is tender. No water is to be added for this dish.
Bhektkir Dhakai Paturi
6 pieces of fish
For the marinade
1 tbsp of turmeric
1 tbsp of red chilli powder
3 tbsp of mustard oil
For the paturi
4 tbsp poppy seeds (khas khas, posto). Soak the poppy seeds in hot water for an hour, this will help in grinding it.
5 tbsp of mustard paste
10-12 whole green chilli
6-7 tbsp mustard oil
1 tbsp kalonji (black cumin, Nigella)
½ tbsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
½ tbsp sugar
Banana leaves cut into square of ten inch each (6 pieces required)
String to tie the banana leaves
Wash the fish and marinate it with turmeric, red chilli powder, salt and mustard oil. Keep it aside for 30 minutes.
Make a thick fine paste of poppy seeds, mustard powder, six whole green chillies, turmeric and salt.
To the paste add Kalonji, sugar, 3 tbsp of mustard oil and mix it well.
Take a banana leaf and pour 1 tbsp of the mixture onto the middle of the leave.
On the mixture put a piece of fish and then 3 tbsp more of the mixture and make sure that the whole fish is covered with the mixture.
Put one slit green chilli on the fish and ½ tbsp of mustard oil on it.
Fold the banana leaf like making a parcel and tie it with a string. Aluminium foil can also be used in place of banana leaves but banana leaves gives a different kind of aroma.
Similarly tie all the pieces of fish
Put all the pieces in a steamer and steam for 25 minutes.
Aloo Jhinga Posto
Green chillies (slit): 2
Medium potatoes: 5-6
Sugar: 1 tbsp and mustard oil: 2 tbsp
Medium-sized onion (sliced): 1
Paach phoron (fenugreek seeds, kalonji, mustard, fennel seeds, cumin seeds): 1 tbsp
Poppy seeds (khus khus): 4 tbsp
Peeled jhinga: ½ kg; turmeric powder: 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Peel and cut the potatoes into one inch-sized piece, keep in water.Soak poppy seeds in one-cup warm water for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and grind to a fine paste.
Marinate jhinga using half tbsp of turmeric powder.
Heat up mustard oil in a pot till it is hot. Mix in paach phoron abd allow it to crackle. Add slit green chillies.
Add sliced onion and allow it to cook till light golden brown colour.
Mix in potato pieces and stir-fry on medium heat for five minutes, stirring frequently.
Add marinated jhinga and cook it for further two minutes.
Mix in the poppy seeds paste, stir and mix in half a cup of water, cover and stir-fry on low heat till the potatoes are almost done.
Take off the lid, mix in salt and sugar. Continue to stir fry till the potatoes are completely cooked. Serve hot.
Oil: ¼ cup
For the onion tomato gravy
Onions : 800 g to 1 kg, chopped
Coriander powder: ½ tbsp
Cumin seeds powder: ½ tbsp
Turmeric powder: ½ tbsp
Red chilli powder: ½ tbsp
Ginger- garlic paste- 2 tbsp
Tomatoes: 150 to 200g, chopped
Water- 1 cup
For the Filling:
Oil: 6 tbsp
Ginger paste: 1 tbsp
Garlic paste- 2 tbsp
Red chilli powder: 2 tbsp
Salt: 1 tbsp
Without peeling the parwars, scoop out the inner fleshy portion and blanch the shells in hot oil. Drain the excess oil and keep aside.
For the onion tomato gravy, heat the oil and cook the onions till brown.
Add all the dry spices, salt, ginger garlic paste and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and water. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring continuously, till smooth gravy is obtained.
Remove from flame.
For the filling, heat the oil in a pan. Add ginger and garlic pastes, red chilli powder, potato and scooped out inner portion of the parwal/ potol. Cook for ten minutes over a low flame.
Spoon the potato mixture inside the parwal shells. When serving, place 1 to 2 stuffed shells in each serving dish. Top them with the onion tomato gravy and serve immediately.