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By Madhurima Chatterjee
  • Published 29.06.11

What better way to celebrate Rath Yatra than with authentic Oriya food? Fret not, you don’t have to go all the way to Puri to get a taste of the famous Chhena Pora or Subz Besar Masala. Sonargaon at Taj Bengal is all set to host a special Rath Yatra Festival, just so that you can enjoy this festival closer home.

Sujan Mukherjee, executive chef of the star hotel, elaborated: “Bengalis are familiar with Oriya food as Puri is a popular destination. So, it was important for us to make it as authentic as possible. Our cuisine has a lot of similarities with Oriya food in the use of rice, fish, certain vegetables and, of course, mustard oil. But the taste and the end product are very different.”

The festival will serve up a healthy mix of dishes from all across Orissa. “Our in-house Oriya chef has tried to keep the menu as close to the Jagannath Mandir bhog served to devotees everyday, especially the pulao. Needless to say, the food is completely shakahari satvik, or pure vegetarian, keeping with the tradition during Rath,” added Sujan.

After a refreshing sip of Dahi Sharbot, move on to dishes like Aloo Potol Rassa, Kancha Kadoli Kofta, Lal Shaag Borir Bhaji, Subz Besar Masala, Dahi Baigana, Arhar Dal, Kanika or flavoured rice and puri. Polish off your meal with delicious Tomato Khatta chutney, Chhena Pora and Oriya-style Malpua made with ripe banana and whole wheat.

There’s also the Oriya thali, serving three vegetarian dishes, lentil, puri, rice and dessert. A must-have is the tangy Dahi Baigana — brinjals cooked in a mildly-spiced yoghurt gravy.

A meal for two is priced around Rs 2,000 (a la carte) and the thali costs Rs 1,150 (taxes extra). The 10-day festival, starting July 1, will be open for both lunch and dinner.