Authenti’Cal’ly Cal – the Bengali meal !!!
Authenticook is a young brand that began in 2015 in Mumbai, with an aim to make truly traditional meals available to lovers of authentic food that is region and community specific. This was started by a group of food lovers … but of course !!!
The venue is usually the host’s house and the detailed menu and all other information is displayed on their website.
As we all know, India is a vast land with an even greater range of cuisines, several of which are not easily accessible to those who are not from the same geographical location or community.
And there is certainly no food as good as well cooked home food and via their panel of talented hosts, Authenticook cuts through borders to extend the range and bring such fare within the reach of food enthusiasts, in the comfort and convenience of their own city.
After successfully pleasing diners with their curated meals in several cities like Mumbai, Pune, New Delhi, Goa, Kochi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and even Boston, they finally decided to grace us with their presence, making Bangalore the latest beneficiary of this authenti’City !!!
I was truly blessed to be invited to a Bengali meal, home cooked with much mustard oil and much love … both of which please me greatly.
And this was a welcome and refreshing change to my palate that tastes too many foods that are not made at home.
The gracious and gorgeous Priyadarshini who travelled all the way from Bombay to be with us, was a perfect combination of good cook and great hostess, She created for us a Niramish (vegetarian) Bengali meal, that would make any non vegetarian forget their meat
Like most of the hosts at Authenticook, she too is highly skilled and well qualified and was ranked among one of the top 30 participants at Masterchef India.
Much as I would like to speak more about her, I will have to let go and focus on the exciting part that we were all waiting for
The event panned out in a structured fashion, with the host taking us through the pre plated food that was displayed in order to familiarize ourselves with the items and the sequence of dining.
Interesting though the lesson was, we were raring to sink our senses into the food and that’s exactly what we did, beginning with the Bhora Potol Bhaja (stuffed parwal batter fried), with the Pointed gourd stuffed with velvety soft pumpkin and deep fried in batter. Needless to say we unabashedly stuffed ourselves with this.
Of course we had to pay heed to the Narkel Bora and for a coconut lover like me, these coconut and red chilli fritters were an interesting variation from the vadas that I am used to.
We were informed, that traditionally Bengalis begin a meal with something bitter and the Titar Dal, the mung dal with bits of bitter gourd was one of the best dals that I have ever tasted … and not bitter by far. This was had with steamed white rice.
Then there was Thor, the dish with banana stem and black channa, that I Thor’ougly enjoyed, since I love banana stem too (is there anything that I don’t like ?).
The Saag Bhaja made from the leafy amaranth was taken to a different level with its topping of crisp fried Vadi bits (deep fried and crushed dried lentil balls).
Bati Charchari with mixed vegetables followed and then the Alu Jhinge posto.
There was a time when I did not know that Jhinge in Bengali meant Ridge gourd and I had mistaken it for prawns which are called Jhinga in hindi
That past error prevented me from taking heaping servings this time but to be fair, this was a really well cooked dish and I did not miss my prawns … er ok I lie. Nothing can beat prawns of course
Having said that however, the next dish that I tasted quite made me forget everything that I had eaten.
Called Makha, this mash of cooked Long beans mashed with chillies, was sheer Makha’nificence !!! This is apparently a rustic dish prepared by villagers. I understood that by Long bean they meant the Cowpea bean (known locally as Alsande) but whether that is accurate or not, I am sticking with it, for how else could I say that Priyadarshini received Cowpea’ous amounts of praise for this ???
Dhoka Dalna, the chana dal dumplings fried and then slipped into a coconut and ginger gravy was another favorite and quite filling as a stand alone meal..
The Bengalis love their chutneys so much, that they spell them Chatni (Ok I made up that reason but I cant think of any other). The Aam chatni, with its sweet and tangy raw mango, was an tantalizing accompaniment to the meal.
Of course it goes without saying that the Sweet Bengali people love their desserts too and we had the Bhapa doi, which is a rich sweetened steamed curd.
The Para chitta haran was new to me and I loved this deep fried oblong made of cottage cheese, beaten rice, thickened milk and coconut and dunked in sweet syrup.
There was a non veg meal with fish and prawns, scheduled for the next day and though by some quirk of fate I was called to this vegetarian meal, I had no regrets whatsoever and I promised to write about this event which I totally enjoyed … for as they say – Prawn jaaye par Vachan na jaaye !!!
And hopefully Authenticook will bring us more of these sessions that we can indulge in and satiate all our food desires.
Learn more about them and their upcoming schedules, on their informative and well structured website www.authenticook.com and come and be a part of the foodness (=food goodness).
For more pictures see My Facebook – Authenticook-Niramish Bengali Meal