Monday, June 11, 2012

Vegetarian Bengali Thali from Bhojohori Manna

Bengali food is one of those cuisines where the intensity of the flavors stays with you long after the meal is over. I love Bong food for that distinct flavor of mustard oil and mustard seeds, that feeling of sleepy contentment from poppy seeds and the sweetness of jaggery mixed with the heat of fresh green chillies.

One of my favorite Bong restaurants is Bhojohori Manna. This is a quaint little place tucked away in a lane in Oshiwara in Mumbai. The first restaurant opened up in Kolkata some years back, and they have since set up shop in several cities in India. In Mumbai, the staff is not half as friendly and pleasant but the food is still awesome! Back in college this was an excellent choice for lunch with friends, because of it's quick service and pricing. 

Even now, their vegetarian thali is one of my favorite food choices in the city. The veg thali comes in two sizes- mini and regular. The mini thali is enough for two people so don't order the regular sized meal unless you can eat a LOT!

Aloo Dom and Luchi

For a Bong food virgin this promises to be an interesting experience- the dishes are cooked with some unusual ingredients like raw banana, bitter gourd, banana flower, ridge gourd, drumsticks, bay leaves, lots of mustard oil and poppy seeds! :O

My top picks at Bhojohori Manna are- 
  • Aloo Dom aar Luchi- the spicy tangy potato curry with fluffy hot luchis- best eaten with the gandharaj lebu (a lime that Bengalis swear by for its aroma) and green chillies. 
  • Shukto- A mixed vegetable that is loved for its bitter-sweet after taste! Made with veggies like brinjal, bitter gourd, ridge gourd, raw banana, string beans, mustard and poppy seeds this dish has a pretty unique flavor. (Make sure to ask for the one not cooked in ghee though!) 
  • Aamer Chatney- The mango chutney is sweet, spicy and sticky in just the right degrees.
  • Chholar Dal- This dal is cooked with Bengal Gram or Chana Dal and has a slight peppery sweet flavor.
Clockwise from left: Mochar Ghonto, Basanti Pulao, Steamed Rice, Shukto, Aamer Chatney

Clockwise from left: Luchi, Dhokar Dalna, Aloo Dom, Jhoodi Bhaaja, Chholar Daal, Centre: Basanti Pulao

1 comment: