The eastern state of West Bengal and its Bengali cuisine have a very distinct and rich culinary tradition. The specialty of Bengali cooking is the use of five basic spices which include jeera, kalonji, saunf, fenugreek, and mustard seeds. Generally, Bengali food is a mixture of sweet and spicy flavors, and dining with these gentle people is a definite treat.
The Bengali garam masala is made up of cloves, cinnamon, cumin and coriander seeds, mace, nutmeg, and big and small cardamoms.
The most famous Bengali mithai is the rasgulla, which can be prepared using cow’s milk, extracting cheese from cow’s milk, draining out the excess whey from the curd milk, and then mashing it to a buttery smoothness, making the rounded shape and boiling in low heat, and drop the rounded lumps into the boiling syrup of sugar.
The Bengali sweets have come down the ages but the one Bengali sweet that is popular all over the world is a relatively new creation. The rasgulla was invented by Nobin Chandra Das of Calcutta accidentally. He mashed some leftover sondesh and put the roundels thus made into syrup. He then offered it to those who came to his sweetshop who loved it and thus was born the most famous Bengali sweet.
Bengali people are compulsive sweet lovers the delicious sweets of the state consist of gulab jamuns, rasogolla, sondesh, chum chum, and many more. All are made of milk and cottage cheese, these are light and delectable. No account of Bengali food is complete without its sweet dahi or mishti-doi as it is more popularly called. Poyodi-a thick sweet curd that is colored a subtle pink and rich in texture is synonymous with the city of Kolkata.
The most popular and tasteful local fast food is jhala-mudi and Gol-Gappaps (locally known as puchkaa) sold by roadside vendors. Jhaal-mudi is a Kolkata specialty consisting of puffed rice which is known as mudi spiced with lemon and coriander and mixed with peanuts, chopped onions, coconut slices chili, etc.