Durga Pujo (Puja) is round the corner.
A month before the celebration starts, Bengalis are busy shopping for new clothes and apparels.
For many like me that stay outside Bengal, our plans also include a list of people to meet, and places to visit.
I go a step further and plan out my street food calendar for Durga Puja. I plan on what to gorge on and on which day of the Pujo.
Yes, I take this exercise seriously.
And I involve my friends and family in it too! No, not in planning, in eating out with me.
When it comes to the Bengalis, most of them stay true to their trait of being a foodie. We do not discriminate between vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes during the days of the Pujo.
Indeed most Bengalis go a step further ensuring we have more of non-veg on the days of Durga Pujo, the biggest festival of the calendar year.
What excites me is the stuffing consisting of chopped cucumber, sliced onions and tomato ketchup wrapped in a lachha paratha laced with an omlette! The crunchiness and tangy flavor that explodes in your mouth with the first bite helps you walk for miles pandal hopping.
Deep fried chicken pieces with some black salt sprinkled on top and served with mustard sauce, tomato ketchup and chopped onions – salivating!
Bhelpuri / Jhalmuri
What attracts the crowd to the person selling this is his skills with utensils of steel – sound of puffed rice and mixture and nuts getting vigorously mixed describes the cacophony that Kolkata is all about.
Layers of flavor, mysterious to the mind and familiar to the tongue makes this a must while pandal hopping!
Peanuts, chutneys, mixture topped with coriander leaves (cilantro for the western audience), a dash of curd (also read yogurt) makes for an awesome street food which I have rarely found outside my home state.
Moglai (Mughlai Paratha)
Another delicacy, this makes for a perfect dinner when the legs are weary and the mind is planning for the next day’s trip.
Papdis tossed and blended with a number of chutneys, cucumbers, some potatoes makes me swoon every time I go home. A spicy, tangy, flavorful snack will help re-energize and bring back memories of childhood!
Phuchka/Doi Phuchka (Gupchup/Panipuri/Golgappe)
Ahem! No explanation. Just eat!
Happy Binging! Happy Durga Pujo!