Jamai Sasthi

Bengali Fish Curry

Rice and fish are traditional favorite foods and their importance is underlined by the Bengali said machhe Bhate Bangali, which translates as fish and rice make a Bengali. In the vast repertoire of Bengali dishes prepared with fish, there are some species Hilsa, a favorite among the population. The culinary tradition of Bengal has close relations with the Indian world and the Middle East, to which must be added its own characteristics. The main foods are made ​​of rice and fish curry.

And while our Marco Polo is found in Bengal and is delighted to observe the tattoos of local populations, the sutler of his caravan runs to inspect the spotless kitchens of housewives Bengali hunting for ingredients, recipes and tricks of the trade.

Throughout India, in fact, the people of West Bengal are famous for their passion for food and for the admirable care by dedicated chefs to every detail of even the simplest recipes. It is said that they live for cooking and eating, meaning they pay much attention to the flavors and the variety of dishes and ingredients, among which rice and fish.

Even if the raw materials essentially do not differ too much from those used in neighboring regions of India, the Bengali cuisine is renowned for its wise use and aware of some spices in which never fails to mix the scent of pungent mustard in all its forms . And there are deep historical reasons behind this.

In ancient Bengal in women who could not leave the house or do the work that they were not home and were therefore often confined to the kitchen. With plenty of time on these housewives have had the opportunity to experiment with new blends of spices and cooking techniques to develop more sophisticated, they have also opened the door tradition the local bakery.

Since the year 1200 have occurred many culinary influences, including the Muslim, which lasted more than seven hundred years until the arrival of the English, has taken root deeply in the folk tradition as the noble kitchen, favoring the gradual spread of the use of ingredients such as lentils, chicken and lamb and evolution of the pastry.

Until that time the extreme abundance of fish provided all proteins necessary to feed the local populations, who ate little meat and no legume. The diet was supplemented by extensive cultivation of rice and vegetables and tubers, as well as milk and yogurt thanks to the thriving farming activities.

I from, the endless varieties of lentils appreciated by the people of Indian culture, were in fact not very common in Bengal at the time of Marco Polo and their consumption grew later, in parallel with the use of yogurt as a beverage, in which the culture Islam had replaced the wine.

The freshwater fish is, however, the real treat of the Bengalis from every period: over forty varieties of freshwater commonly used today, not to mention shellfish. Even the diet of the Brahmins, usually devoted to totally vegetarian diet, in Bengal also includes the consumption of the mach, the freshwater fish that the occurrence is conveniently called misti joler mach.

The combination of rice-fish is the heart of Bengali cuisine so as to be present in many religious rites. For example, when a new bride enters for the first time in her husband's house is received by the relatives of him with a plate of dhan unpolished rice, while she has to bring into the house a live fish in his left hand, which promptly release in the tub water the garden of his new home because they mate with the fishes family and create a new breed.

Then, when a pregnant woman approaching childbirth is organized for her a ritual meal full of delights to satisfy all cravings of the pregnant woman and allow her to give birth to a healthy baby and happy, and almost all the terms of this banquet that are not dessert are made ​​of rice and fish. A mixture of rice and fish is also Pinda said the food offered to the spirit of the deceased during the funeral.

Beyond the ceremonies, ni daily meals approach to food is essentially tactile according to a Bengali there is no better tool of the fingers to anticipate a food and feel the grit, before you even take it to the mouth. You eat everything with your hands, kneading sauces with rice balls or crushing the rice by reducing it almost to a paste before admixing a fish or vegetables, as do the mothers to take small children.

Barely touch the food with the tip of the fingers is considered a chic attitude but in the family, especially if there are no special guests, lick your fingers can be normal and even the rivulets of sauce dripping on the palms and wrists. I wonder as you will be led to our Marco Polo and the flat which have served as a local specialty here in Bengal. I'm going to nose of a seafood stew with mustard accompanied by fragrant Indian rice?