Many people don’t realise the huge variety of Indian cuisine. Each state has its own distinct cooking style. After a week of deliciously spicy food in Andhra Pradesh, on returning to Kolkata I set myself the task of getting a better understanding of Bengali cuisine. That brought me to Koshe Kosha, James Long Sarani, Behala, Kolkata, a restaurant that serves typical Bengali food. It’s a basic restaurant, so don’t expect posh table cloths and the like, but it has amazing food.
My education started with the first page of the menu, which explains the Bengali cooking styles to the uninitiated. This gave a good insight into the types of ‘curries’ that are found in this part of the sub-continent and the different preparations.
The menu was extensive, far too large to sample in one sitting – all the more reason to go back! Although we did try our best to taste as many dishes as we could!
We started with the Mochar Chop, a round soft pattie made of banana flower mixed with potatoes, onions, cashews and mild spices, served with mustard and tomato sauces. Perfect for vegetarians and tasty for meat eaters too, but don’t overpower the subtle flavours with too much mustard. Rs.55
This was followed by a feast of flavours. Let’s start with some vegetarian options:
Lau Bori – This was one of my favourite dishes of the night, bottled gourd (squash) cooked with dried lentil paste nuggets. Wow!! Rs. 75
Potoler Dorma – parwal (pointed gourd/squash) stuffed with potatoes, ginger, garlic and spices in a sumptuous gravy with cashews! Delicious! Rs. 90
Narkel Chholar Dal – channa dal, with coconut chips and raisins giving it its slightly sweet flavour and interesting texture. Yum Rs.105
Sona Muger Dal – a simple mung dal perfect with plain rice Rs. 105
Pur Diye Begun Bhaja – aubergine (eggplant) slices stuffed with mustard paste and deep fried with a gram flour batter. Although I love aubergine, the mustard overpowered this for me, so my least favourite dish of the night, but great for those who like mustard! Rs. 75
Then for the non-vegetarian (meat lover’s) options:
Chingrir Malaikari – Wow!!! My favourite dish of the night! Enormous prawns in a wonderfully tasty gravy. If you are a seafood lover, don’t miss this!! Treat yourself Rs. 395
Dab Chingri – This was something I had heard about and was keen to try it, even though a mild, sweet gravy is not usually my preference. It is prawns cooked with Panch Phoron (a mixture of equal quantities of five spices: cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds and onion seeds) and the juice and soft flesh of a green coconut. It’s cooked in the coconut and is definitely something to taste, especially if you like something mild. It was a rather costly Rs.415 but worth it for the experience!
Katla Kalia – This was also good. Katla fish is quite a meaty fish popular in Kolkata and is cooked in an onion gravy. Rs. 165
Kosha Murgi was the chicken curry of the night, served in a wonderfully thick yummy gravy (sorry, I forgot to snap this one) Rs. 195
Kosha mungsho is mutton (goat) dish slow cooked in a very rich dark gravy. Nice but quite heavy so you don’t need much of it. Rs. 250
Accompanied by Luchi – otherwise known as poori, a deep fried flat bread Rs. 65 for 4.
Basanti Pilao (Rs. 120) and Plain Rice (Rs.80)
If you are in Kolkata (or even Bangalore as they have a branch there too) and want to taste delicious Bengali food then head to Koshe Kosha, you won’t be disappointed! Great food and great value. Although don’t go expecting a beer as only soft drinks are served – try the sweet lime soda! This feast above, with mineral water and soft drinks came to just Rs. 3,000.
Koshe Kosha have numerous branches in Kolkata, we went to the one at:
12, Mondal Para 1st Lane, -700034, Near M.P. Birla High School, Behala, Kolkata (James Long Sarani)
Open 11am -11pm
Tel: 03364606401 (free home delivery – but unfortunately not to the UK!)