Food Review : Bhapa Pora Utsav (17- 26 Nov 2017) | Esplanade , Bangalore | India
“ Aamshotto dudhey pheli, tahatey kodoli doli, Shondesh makhia dia tatey Hapush-hupush shobdo, charidik nistobdho, Pipra kandia jae paate …
– Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore , on his love for food
Aamshotto (sun-dried ripe mango) is dropped in milk, banana is squashed in it, and shondesh (sweet) is smashed in this. The sound of slushing echoes in the silence. Even ants return, shedding tears into the empty plate.
The cuisine of Bengal originated with the culinary styles from the Ghoti (the Indian Bangal or the west Bengal) and Bangal (now Bangladesh) , and the neighbouring Indian states of Tripura and Assam. The Fish, vegetables and lentils along with rice is part of the staple diet of any Bengali. Bengali cuisine is known for its subtle (yet sometimes fiery) flavours, and its spread of confectioneries and desserts.
During my stay in Bengal , I could see that the cuisine has also been greatly influenced by the Mughal , Chinese and Anglo Indian kitchens, especially in city of joy, Kolkata. Perhaps the only Indian cuisine that serves food course-wise.
Ghoti vs Bangal Though there are many differences between the two , I will just mention the basic ones, the East Bangal immigrants love the Bangal style of spicy fiery curries while Ghoti style of cuisine is more revered by the sweet loving natives of West Bengal. Thus , it is obvious that the spices and marinades differ in the these two Bengali cooking styles.The spicier Bangal cuisine , there is lavish use of oil and chillies while the sweeter Ghoti kitchens use the jaggery or sugar and Posto (poppy seeds) in their preparations.
I have known Bengali cuisine for its subtle (yet sometimes fiery) flavours, and its delectable sweet spread. And now the food news is that the Bangalore’s most authentic Bengali and Calcutta cuisine restaurant , Esplanade is hosting Bhapa Pora festival these days at their newly renovated outlet at Indiranagar. Starting November 17th , the festival of steamed and roasted dishes cooked in the rustic style will be continue till November 26th , 2017.
For those who may be wondering what “Bhapa Pora ” Ustav (festival) is , let me explain a bit of it. The ” Bhapa” , from Bhaap or steam ,is a classical steamed cooking technique , where the Fish or vegetables are steamed with oil and spices , wrapped in a banana leaf, lotus leaf, pumpkin leaves, or plantain leaves.Thus retaining the flavours while cooking , and giving it a smoky character to the dish. The word “Pora” in Bengali , translated into Charred. Here the vegetables are wrapped in banana leaves and roasted over a wood, charcoal or coal fire. Some vegetables like Brinjal / egg plant , are often roasted on direct flame and then mixed with spices and oil as a dish. Unarguably, one of the healthiest cooking style , minimal oil and no deep frying or sautéing is used to prepare the delicacies.
The Menu : Bhapa Pora Utsab – A festival of Steam and Grill
Galda chingri shalmi
Stuffed Prawns crumb fried served with Kasundi
Shim, palanger bhapa
A unique blend of spinach and flat beans with a hint of mustard
Mulo, narkel aar dal pora
Roasted parcel with radish, grated coconut, lentil paste and mustard
Paddo pataye bhapa phulkopi
Steamed cauliflower with yoghurt with a hint of Gandharaj in lotus leaf
Roasted aubergine mixed with spices, steamed in lotus leaf
MAINS – NON VEG
Kankra, chingri palanger bhapa
Chingri narkel pora
Marinated prawns with coconut and mustard, roasted
Chalkumro pataye Elish narkel pora
Roasted Hilsa in Pumpkin leaves
Pomfret lanka achar bhapa
Steamed pomfret with chili pickle
Bhetki, shim, beguner pora
A unique mixture of Bhekti, flat beans and egg plant, roasted
Paddo pataye bhapa murgi
Aam kasundi marinated chicken steamed in lotus leaf
Bhapa sandesh Natun gurer pora sandesh
Natun gurer pora sandesh
Esplanade has been catering to Bangalore patrons for over 9 years now and has established itself as the pioneer of Bengali cuisine in Bangalore. Recently, Esplanade has gone through a new avatar in terms of interior and style.
Newly renovated interiors at Esplanade with outdoor and indoor seating.
202, Indiranagar Double Road,
Indira Nagar II Stage, Hoysala Nagar, Indiranagar,
Bengaluru, Karnataka 560038
+91 80 4092 7878