Mutton Kosha to Bhapa Doi, 5 Poila Bosihakh special recipes

Poila Boishakh or the Bengali New Year is a significant celebration with family and friends, with the highlight of the festival being food, of course. Take a look at some of our favourites.

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Mutton Kosha or Kosha Mangsho is traditionally served with porota or pulao.

Poila Boishakh or Bangla Noboborsho is the first day of the Bengali calendar as the festival is celebrated on April 14 or 15, according to the lunisolar Bengali calendar as the first day of the first month, Baisakh. For Bengalis, Poila Boishakh is a significant celebration with family and friends with the highlight of the festival being food, of course.

Poila Boishakh celebrations in 2021 will be low-key, however, owing to the sharp increase in the number of the coronavirus cases during the second-wave of the pandemic. But, what is the harm in celebrating at home with family? You need not order food from outside, and instead, spend time cooking up a delicious spread consisting of delectable Bengali dishes such as Pulao and Kosha Mangsho.

In this piece, we list five dishes that are often prepared on Poila Boishakh but before proceeding with the recipes, here are some interesting facts about the festival.

WHEN IS POILA BOISHAKH 2021?

This year, Poila Boishakh was celebrated by Bengalis all over the world on Thursday, April 15.

HOW IS POILA BOISHAKH CELEBRATED?

On Poila Boishakh, people begin the day with exchanging good wishes with family and friends. Pujas are offered and houses are decorated with alpana or colourful motifs. Women wear traditional Bengali laal paar sada saree (white saree with red border), while the men dress in kurta-pyjama to join in the celebrations.

On this day, businessmen open their shops to welcome customers with greetings and start a new Haalkhata (new ledger) and lock their old ones.

WHERE IS POILA BOISHAKH CELEBRATED?

Poila Boishakh is celebrated in the states of West Bengal, Tripura, and Assam by people of Bengali origin and also in Bangladesh.

POILA BOISHAKH RECIPES

Here are the recipes of the fives dishes, prepared primarily on Poila Boishakh

BASANTI PULAO

Basanti Pulao or Mishti Pulao is a Bengali festive delight that is prepared during auspicious occasions such as Durga Puja or Bengali New Year. The name of the dish, Basanti, is derived from the yellow colour of the pulao which is made using saffron and dry fruits.

HOW TO MAKE BASANTI PULAO?

Basanti Pulao

First, fry raisins and cashews in ghee and keep them aside. Put more ghee (if required) into the pan and temper it with bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. Pour in the rice and start frying on low flame for around five minutes. Now, add sugar and salt and give it a thorough mix. Add saffron-soaked milk and a few drops of yellow colour (not mandatory). Lastly, add fried nuts and raisins, along with double the amount of water of the rice.

Keep the heat low and cook for around 15 minutes. Once the water has almost evaporated from the rice, add one tablespoon pulao masala and give it a light mix for the final touch. Basanti Pulao is a complete vegetarian dish, but Bengalis usually love to enjoy it with chicken or mutton. The unique flavour that involves a sugary touch makes this dish absolutely delightful.

SHUKTO

Shukto is a Bengali version of North India’s Mixed Veg Curry. All kinds of vegetables cooked in a combination of mustard and poppy seed gravy makes this dish even more delicious that you can serve along with fluffy puris and chholar dal, or just plain steamed rice. And the best part about it is that you can add your own choice of vegetables, and experiment with this dish.

HOW TO MAKE SHUKTO?

Shukto

To make Shukto, cut all the vegetables in one inch pieces first and keep them aside. Next, place a pan over medium flame and heat two tablespoons of mustard oil in it. Add bitter gourd (karela), raw banana, potatoes, pumpkin and fry until it becomes crispy. Keep them aside. Meanwhile, for preparing the shukto masala, put one tablespoon of panch phoron or whole spice mix in a heated pan and make a thick paste with it.

Heat the remaining oil in a pan and add ginger paste, bay leaves, caraway seeds, dry red chillies in it and fry the spices for a while. Add all the vegetables in the pan, along with turmeric, salt, red chili powder and coriander powder. Mix everything together and add required amount of milk along with water and cook over medium flame. Finally, add the shukto masala paste and cook until all the vegetables are done.

ILISH MACHER TEL JHAL

Bengali fish curry is famous all over the world. And why won’t it be? Bengalis have so many versions of fish curry - Shorshe Posto, Maacher Tok, Maacher Kalia and Maach bhaja to name a few. ‘Tel Jhal’ is the name given to a light Bengali curry, which is infused with flavours of kaalo jeere, green chillies, and sharp mustard oil. As this dish is sparsely spiced, this style of fish curry doesn’t overpower the star ingredient—the fish—but has a taste of its own.

HOW TO MAKE ILISH MACHER TEL JHAL?

Macher Jhal

First, marinate the fish with salt and turmeric powder and keep aside for half-an-hour. Heat mustard oil in a pan and fry the fish pieces one by one for a minute on each side. After all pieces are fried, temper the same oil with kaalo jeere and green chillies. Add salt and turmeric to it. After five minutes, add hot water to make the curry. Once it has come to a full boil, add vegetables (if required) and allow it to bubble in the curry for another five minutes. Then, gently put the fried fish in the curry and let it cook. Be careful while stirring at this point because the fish is fragile and might break.

MUTTON KOSHA

This certainly needs no description since it is an iconic Bengali mutton recipe prepared in rich gravy. The word kosha is similar in meaning to bhuna, which involves slow-cooking a gravy over low flame for a very long time to get a rich, dark-brown curry and melt-in-the-mouth mutton pieces. Mutton Kosha or Kosha Mangsho is traditionally served with porota or pulao. However, it tastes even better with plain rice.

HOW TO MAKE MUTTON KOSHA?

Mutton Kosha or Kosha Mangsho

Start with marinating the mutton. Blend chopped onions, roughly chopped garlic, yoghurt, salt, turmeric, and shahi garam masala in a grinder jar till you get a smooth paste. Coat all the mutton pieces well with the marinade and let it rest for about eight hours.

For the preparation, cut onions into thin slices and make a paste of garlic and green chillies. Heat a large kadai and add mustard oil to it. Once the oil is smoking hot, add dried red chillies, bay leaves, cinnamon, green cardamom, black cardamom, and cloves in it. Put in the onions and fry them on medium flame for about 15 minutes until they are light brown in colour. Then, add the ginger paste, garlic and green chilli paste, and fry for another 5 minutes.

Once, the spices start releasing their oil, add the marinated mutton to the pan for 15 minutes on high flame. Beat 150200 gms of yoghurt until it is lump-free and add it to the pan. Also, add one tablespoon of sugar and salt (as required) at this time. Mix everything and keep frying. Once the moisture (from the cold mutton and yoghurt) starts to dry out, lower the heat and add a splash of hot water to the pan. Cover and cook until the mutton is tender. Turn off the heat and add a teaspoon of ghee. Cover and let it rest for about two minutes before serving.

BHAPA DOI

Bhapa Doi, also known as steamed yoghurt pudding, is known for its creaminess and a balanced amount of sweetness. Once you savour a scoop of Bhapa Doi, we bet it will melt in your mouth.

HOW TO MAKE BHAPA DOI?

Bhapa Doi

To make Bhapa Doi, whisk hung curd and condensed milk together in a large pan using an electric hand blender till it is smooth and creamy. Add milk slowly and whisk again till you see the froth appearing. Add cardamom powder and a handful of raisins and give it a quick stir again. Preheat the oven at 180 degree Celsius and meanwhile, take six bowls in which you want to bake the curd. You can also bake it in a large baking tray and later cut into pieces.

Pour in the curd mix into bowls till the rim. In a baking tray, place the filled bowls and pour water in the tray till they are half immersed. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. Insert a toothpick in the doi to check if it comes out clean. That means the dish is prepared. Take out the tray and let it cool. You can garnish it with chopped pistachios, strawberries or any fruit or nuts. Refrigerate the Bhapa Doi for minimum two hours. Serve chilled.

Shubho Nabo Barsha

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