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Thali Menu #144 – Bengal | Durga Pujo Special

7 Oct, 2019

About Durga Pujo

Durga Puja, major festival of Hinduism, traditionally held for 10 days in the month of Ashvina (September–October), the seventh month of the Hindu calendar, and particularly celebrated in Bengal, Assam, and other eastern Indian states. Durga Puja celebrates the victory of the goddess Durga over the demon king Mahishasura. It begins on the same day as Navratri, a nine-night festival celebrating the divine feminine.

Durga Puja’s first day is Mahalaya, which heralds the advent of the goddess. Celebrations and worship begin on Sasthi, the sixth day. During the following three days, the goddess is worshipped in her various forms as Durga, Lakshmi, and Sarasvati. The celebrations end with Vijaya Dashami (“Tenth Day of Victory” ), when, amid loud chants and drumbeats, idols are carried in huge processions to local rivers, where they are immersed. That custom is symbolic of the departure of the deity to her home and to her husband, Shiva, in the Himalayas. Images of the goddess—astride a lion, attacking the demon king Mahishasura—are placed at various pandals (elaborately decorated bamboo structures and galleries) and temples.

Durga puja is a widely celebrated festival in the Indian states of West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, and Odisha. Streets are decked up with festive lights, loudspeakers play festive songs as well as recitation of hymns and chants by priests, and pandals are erected by communities. Besides the religious significance, the festive time is all about family, friends and feasting!

Food during the festive period, whether at home, ‘Pandals’, street food eateries and restaurants is all thoroughly planned in advance for the course of the festival! At Daana, this weekend, we present some classic Bengali dishes associated with the festivities. Come, relish the festive delicacies with us.

About Bengal

West Bengal is a state in eastern India, between the Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal with a unique geopolitical, cultural and historic significance. Bengali culture considered one of the richest cultures in Indian subcontinent has a recorded history of over 1,400 years. Kolkata or Calcutta is the capital city of the state and has a rich history and heritage to boast of.

Kolkata also holds a special place in our (Sunita and Sanjay’s) lives as our son was born in this wonderful city that grew on us as we called it home for around 4years. It gave us the opportunity to learn and appreciate the subtle nuances of the understated Bengali culture and cuisine.

 The Cuisine

Bengali cuisine is a culinary style originating in Bengal, a region in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent, which is now divided between Bangladesh and the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura and Assam’s Barak Valley. With an emphasis on fish, vegetables and lentils served with rice as a staple diet. Use of mustard oil in cooking, mild whole spices and mix of spices called ‘Panchphoran’ are hallmarks of this wonderful cuisine.

Bengali cuisine is known for its subtle (yet sometimes fiery) flavours, and its spread of confectioneries and desserts.

The city of Kolkata was the capital of British India from 1772 to 1911, and as such a strong British influence can be seen in many aspects of Bengali culture including its cuisine. Iconic dishes such as Railway Mutton, Dak Bungalow Chicken Curry are all lingering influences of the Anglo-Indian era.

Bengali cuisine is unique amongst other regional Indian cuisines because it also has the only traditionally developed multi-course custom,that is similar in structure to the à la russe style of French cuisine, with food served course-wise rather than all at once.

At Daana, however we will present it as a Thali this weekend. So, make your booking today to savour the taste of Bengal during the festive period of Durga Pujo.

Thali Menu

Recipe of the week

Chef Sanjay’s Dal Makhani

Slow cooked black dal with garlic, tomato, butter and cream

  • 280 gms Whole urad dal (black lentil)
  • 60 gms Red kidney beans
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Pinch of asafoetida
  • 650 ml Tomato puree
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 green chilli crushed
  • 10 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1” piece ginger finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • ½ tsp crushed Kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • 100 gms butter
  • 60 ml single cream
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander for garnish
  • ½ ” ginger slivers for garnish
  • 1.5 to 2 ltrs Water for cooking dal
  1. Soak the black lentils and kidney beans overnight in a bowl in plenty of water.
  2. In a large heavy bottom stock-pot add the black lentil and kidney beans along with the water and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer on a low heat for an hour. Stir a few times and scarp of the foam from the top. Continue cooking for further 1 hour and 30 minutes
  3. Drain, reserving the cooking water and set aside to use for later. Mash the lentils till you have a coarse consistency. You want some lentils whole but most of it mashed.
  4. In a heavy bottom large stockpot heat the oil, add the asafoetida, chilli and cumin seeds. Let them crackle for few seconds and add the garlic and ginger for frying for a further 30 seconds, add chilli powder. Cook till the oil seperates.

  5. Add the tomato puree and fry for a further 3 minutes to let it cook
  6. Season to taste and add the mashed dal. Stir well and make sure to mix all the spices with the dal
  7. Add 650 mls cooking liquid and stir. Bring to a boil and simmer for 60-90 minutes on a very low heat with the lid on. Make sure to stir a few times preventing it from sticking to the bottom of the pan
  8. The dal should be thick and creamy so add a little more water only if you need to. Add the garam masala powder along with the butter. Stir well simmering for a minute
  9. Just before you serve add crushed Kasoori methi, butter, a swirl of cream, fresh coriander and ginger. Serve with paratha or pulao

Serve with paratha or pulao