Bengali Food and Recipes


For pictures of kitchen implements see the page Cooking for the Gods.

To the casual palate, Bengali food means rice and fish. From this it is easy to guess that Bengal is on the monsoon-drenched east coast of India. The other characteristic of coastal cuisines, the use of coconut, is clear in the the cuisine of eastern Bengal (Bangladesh). Unlike other coastal kitchens, however, coconut oil is not used. The preferred cooking medium is mustard oil. Bengali spicing is somewhat different from the norm in the heartland of India, but similiar to that used further east.

The utensils used in a Bengali kitchen are very similar to those in other parts of India. There are the karai, a deep hemispherical vessel for deep frying, the hanri, a deep pot for boiling, the degchi, a deep rimmed flat bottomed pot for cooking, the tawa, a flat cast iron griddle for rotis and parathas, and the sil-nora, a grinding stone for spices. The traditional cutting instrument is the wicked looking boti, which takes some practise to use. It is now slowly being replaced by knives. Dry sweets, made of chhana or grated coconuts are often shaped in molds.

The food was traditionally eaten off plates made of bell metal or stone. Tables and chairs were not used traditionally, instead people would sit cross legged on mats with plates and bowls placed in front of them on the floor, or on a small wooden pallet.


Rice, breads and dals



Mutton and beef

Fish and Seafood



Other Recipe collections

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