Bengali cuisine is mostly based on rice, vegetables, fish and meat, especially chicken. Each dish is usually enriched with spices, especially curry. The national dish is rice with dal seasoned with spices more varied; good also fried potato with meat and vegetables, the paturi, done in various ways, and different curries especially the labra and chorchori.
Fish and rice are the basic ingredients of many dishes of Bengali cuisine, along with chicken, mutton and vegetables. The sweets are milk based. In wedding receptions is usually served a dish of rice, lamb or dal seasoned with spices cardamom, pepper, saffron, cloves, coriander.
The bengali cuisine is the expression of the culinary art developed in India. This is best known for making great use of spices, milk and dairy products. It differs in many regional varieties, however, referring to two major groups the cuisine of West Bengal, which makes use of meat and is less spicy, and East, vegetarian and more spicy.
The food, especially in restaurants, is also classified in non vegetarian cuisine indicated by signs that read non-veg, lacto-ovo-vegetarian without meat, and lacto-vegetarian, said almost vegan pure veg, which does not make use of eggs. Practically non-existent vegan cuisine itself, that is without even milk and dairy products.
The chutney serve as a condiment for the main dishes, which are meat or rice, and for vegetables: in some cases during the preparation toasting spices for a few minutes in order to let them aromatize the other ingredients; the addition of sugar and vinegar gives typically the chutney a sweet and sour taste, but the prevalence of one or the other elements means that there are savory chutney and sweet chutney.
Paan or Pan is a preparation traditionally eaten after a meal for its digestive and refreshing in the mouth. It is a triangular bundle consists of a leaf of edible betel rolled around a compound of walnut Areca sometimes erroneously called betel nut grated or in small pieces, slaked lime chuna, tobacco chewing Zarda, red paste katha, pasta with lime and a mixture of various sweet spices mitha masala. The paan goes put everything in the mouth, within the cheek, chewed slowly so that the bundle free their juices in the oral cavity which however, must spit in the case contain tobacco or lime. Generally there are two types: the saadha and the mitha paan.
The saadha is the traditional one, contains tobacco, should not be swallowed and it tastes now described as sour, bitter as now, quite unpleasant to the palate of the Western and due to prolonged immersion in water is not filtered during processing; the mitha paan sweet paan contains coconut and jam instead of dates and you can safely ingest.
As a side effect, the areca nut has a power slightly narcotic and can be habit-forming so as to cause some considerable consumption similar to that of cigarettes by heavy smokers; also the juice of the paan tend to color red or black teeth and mouth and, even worse, its abuse can damage the teeth and cause cancer of the mouth.
Another effect is very pleasant due to the fact that the paan causes a strong salivation for which who chews it is easily brought to spit juices reddish on walls and roads. The paan is sold by the paan-wallah, street vendors and stall often found in front of the most popular restaurants; the most famous are the paan-wallah of Varanasi who apply exorbitant prices.