Of Ilish and Mishti Doi

We were in Kolkata this past weekend. I had to go on a recruitment trip to IIM – Calcutta on Friday so Vipul and Varun joined me on Friday evening and we spent the weekend feasting on Bengali delicacies.

I was introduced to Bengali cuisine at my best friend’s house – simple joy of fish curry and rice, dal and potatoes. Over years, her family moved to a different city. We kept in touch but I never got to relish authentic Bangla food. Till a fellow foodie, Sandeep,  introduced us to Oh! Calcutta. We loved it in Mumbai, Pune and even in Hyderabad.

When I had an opportunity to spend an entire weekend relishing the Ilish in mustard gravy, steamed Betki in banana leaf, Chello Kebab and more in authentic settings, we couldn’t resist.

Our day started with, Bangla style potato curry and lucchi (pooris) and a pot of Darjeeling top leaf tea! Perfect for a cold February day in Kolkata!

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After the breakfast we went out site-seeing and then decided to snack on a street side Roll – at Hot Roll , Park Street. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of the same but the roll was filling. Reminded me of Kapila’s Kathi Roll from Pune minus the green pudina chutney.

Then we had some sweets at Mullick Ballaram, a tiny sweets shop on Park Street, across from the Park Street Post Office. We had regular rossogulla and gurer rossogulla (made with jaggery and brown in colour), misti dahi, aam dahi, rose sandesh, aam sandesh etc. Fresh, soft and melt in the mouth. Antara– Thanks for the reco. We would have never visited this place without your recommendation!

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Needless to add, we skipped lunch and then set out again in the evening to continue our  food crawl around New Market.

The evening started with puchkas (or pani-puri’s ) for Vipul and a garam cuppa tea for me. Vipul though the puchka was similar to Mumbai’s pani-puri but the tea was fragrant. I savored the aroma of ginger and cardamom and tea before sipping it from a clay pot.

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We wandered around looking for Jhaal Muri – another street side snack. We found many roll’s , chow mein and soup vendors, pav bhaji and moong dal vadas vendors but none that sold jhaal muri. Then we spotted a vendor selling jaam, ber and guavas. Jaam are a favourite of mine with their light crunchy watery taste. We haven’t had them since we returned to India so we bought a few and snacked on them.

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Then we took a cab to Park street. First stop was Chello Kebab at Peter Cat. Creamy marinated kebab grilled to perfection served with flavored rice. Butter added to the flavor of rice and Varun had some as well.

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We continued our evening feasting to Arsalan ( a 5 – min walk from Peter Cat) for our Bengali style Biryani. Tender moist chicken, fluffy rice- very different from Andhra style or Hyderabadi Biryani. A must in Calcutta! Thanks Sanjib and Rohit for the recommendations!

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By now, we were a bit stuffed but we had to visit the legendary Flury’s. A couple of pastries and another pot of Darjeeling tea and we were done.

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The following morning, we had a light breakfast of pancakes and French toasts and then went out to visit the ghats. I loved the breakfast spread at Oberoi. They even made a roasted almond and saffron milkshake for Varun and some boiled eggs so he could dig in as well.

At Princep ghat, we found a jhaal muri vendor. He quickly prepped us a plate and we enjoyed a distinctly mustard oil flavored snack.

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Then we had a quick pit stop at KC Das, another institution for their sweets. We had some misti doi, sandesh and raas malai while we packed kheer kadam, assorted sandesh and rossogullas to take back home.

Lunch at Aheli, Peerless Inn was the highlight and the perfect ending to our trip. Vipul opted for a veg and non veg thaali complete with prawns in a malai curry, steamed Betki in mustard sauce, Ilish in mustard gravy, mutton gravy while I had a spicier Aam achar Iilish with rice. We ended the meal with even more misti doi and sandesh. Varun enjoyed some jhoori moori allo and rice as well as misti doi which he enjoyed as ice-cream! WP_20130210_043

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 By now, it was time for our flight. We made our way back to our hotel, collected our luggage and dozed off in food stupor in the cab.

We dreaded stepping on the weighing scale today.

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Posted on February 11, 2013, in Calcutta, Food, India, Travel, West Bengal and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Well Composed. I sent the link to my BIL/SIL 🙂 … Wish we could have met in Kol. Missed each other by 4-5 days i suppose.

  2. I almost drooled over my laptop 😛

  3. Hi R,
    We would thank you for the great culinary travels through kolkota – never been there, but you make a wonderful case through your camera’s eyes. The pictures are exquisite, subconsciously add flavors even without being present.

    The tea at Puchkas and the lunch at Aheli rivals MTR – Bangalore, in presentation and serving silverware.

    Curious what would the Thali at Aheli run ? Guessing Rs.3000 – Rs 4500

    Great post, and thank you.

    • Hi V,

      Thank you for your constant support and appreciation! I haven’t been to Banglore in recent years but the trip is overdue and will definitely checkout MTR then. The Thali at Aheli is not quiet that expensive. Its in 1100 – 1600 range based on whether its vegetarian or veg + non veg. Still a bit expensive by Indian standards but totally worth it when you visit the city 🙂

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