Durga Puja brings with it many celebrations and flavours. One of them is that of speciality Bengali cuisine that foodies look forward to. The extravaganza of Bengali food at Novotel Chennai showcased the famous street food of Kolkata, besides some special dishes of the region.

Speaking about the idea behind the menu curated, Chef Joyadrita says, “The menu was curated with the theme of summer. I think that is what Bengali food is all about we have our summer specials and it applies to most of our cuisines because it’s around festivals. Once Chef Suraj and I came together, it was a complete collaboration as he has a decade of experience in his kitty, so I’m fortunate to work with him. We both were open to each other’s ideas. Once we finalised the menu, our plan was to source each and every ingredient from Bengal, because if we have to showcase Bengali food, it has to be with the ingredients or the original stuff we offer.”

They have sourced primary ingredients from Kolkata which include, Gobindobhog rice, Gondhoraj lemon, Bori (sundried lentil dumpling) just like south Indian’s Vadam, Catla fish, hilsa fish, besides other spices.

She adds, “While we were very keen on keeping the authenticity of a dish, we were open to making it palatable for everyone. For instance, Bengali food is influenced by both east and west Bengal culture so West Bengal will have more sweet elements in food where east Bengalis like a little more spice, so Chennai is a completely different terrain for us. There is general belief that Bengali food is all about mustard, rice, and fish so through this entire festival we have broken the stereotypes by adding veggies and spice elements, but when it comes to the cooking medium, we prefer to cook in mustard oil, because it actually helps us to retains the flavours.”

“If I go by the 2021 food trends, home food has taken precedence over takeaways so our entire festival was about focussing on keeping the taste of home food that you get to eat in the comforts of a Bengali house, during a festival,” adds Chef Joyadrita.

-By Vinitha Venkatesha