Bongong - Bengali, Goan, Marathi Recipes
Gammy Dodger stashed this in Things that might get made
After a potluck in the summer of 2012, four friends: Zico, Melvin, Leanne and Deeganta were sitting on the patio, chatting over a cup of chai and talking about the similarities in culture among Bengalis and Goans. We were amazed when we realized the fact that despite the geographical distance between the states, both these cultures shared a very similar lifestyle. So we all got excited and started discussing about ways we can strengthen our bond and do something unique together. Since we are all foodies with a passion for cooking, we decided to build a website to showcase food from both cuisines. That moment was the genesis of BonGong.
The next few days were spent thinking of names for the website. We wanted it to be something that represents Bengalis and Goans. Finally, we decided on 'BonGong' since Bengalis are called 'Bongs' and Gong since it rhymes and represents the Goenkars ('Goans').
So the journey began cooking, clicking pictures, nagging our moms for recipes and seeking feedback from friends and families. Simultaneously building a website that captured our vision and provided detail instruction for novice cooks with an elegant design. All the hours spend in front of computer and in kitchen; and with a lot of help from our family and friends we are finally ready to share with you.
Bengal is considered India's cultural capital which has given the world a plethora of great writers, poets, scholars, filmmakers and artists. Besides art and culture, Bengalis are known for their love for food .For most Bengalis, the day starts and ends with a discussion on food to be cooked for the next three days.
There is a common saying in Bengali, "baroh mashe teroh parva", meaning 13 festivals in 12 months, with some of the big ones are Pehla Baisakh, Durga Puja, Kali Puja, Laxmi Puja and Christmas. When it comes to festivals, it is all about the variety of food. Bengali food draws its influence from the era of Nawab and European colonist, while maintaining its own distinct style. Bengali cuisine a mainly contains of fish, vegetables and lentils with subtle and a unique flavor and mouthwatering desserts and sweets like Rasogolla,Sandesh, Misthi Doi, Cham Cham , Rashpulli. A typical meal will be Dal (lentil), Bhaja (fry), Mach (fish) and bhat(rice). Fish is normally fresh water; some of the common fishes are rohu, katla, ilish (hilsa) and aar. While mutton locally known as Pathar Mangsho, is the most commonly eaten meat. Most of the cooking is done with mustard oil (Shorsher tel). The distinct flavors of Bengali cooking come from the unique blend spices referred to panchphoron, a term used to refer to the five essential spices, namely mustard(Shorshe), fenugreek seed ("Methi"), cumin seed("Jeera"),fennel seed ("Mauri") and black cumin seed("Kaljoni"). Some of the common preparations are Jhal which is a spicy chilli sauce used for fish, Jhol which is a light fish or vegetable stew seasoned with ground spices. Bhapa which is normally fish or vegetables steamed with spices.
Goa is often known as Rome of East. India's smallest state bordered by the Arabian Sea; blessed with sandy white beaches and coconut palms. The people from the state are called Goan or Goenkars. This state has a vast history and is very culturally rich drawing influence from the Buddhist (Asokan era), Moguls, Marathas and Portuguese. Goa proud of its diversity, celebrates a wide range of festivals Ganesh Chathuri, Diwali, Christmas, Carnival, Shigmo to name a few. Goan food is a blend of coconut, chili, pepper, coconut vinegar, tamarind and other spices. Goan food has two distinct groups Goan Hindu food (includes different Bhaji, Tondak, Suke, Solachi Kadi) and Goan Catholic food (Xacuti, Vindaloo, Sorpotel, Cafreal, Choris, Ambotik). But the typical meal of most Goans is rice (xit), one of the different type curry and fried fish. The most popular fish in Goa are mackerels ('bangdo'), pomfret ("paplet"), kingfish ("surmai") etc. Besides these other popular seafood are prawns ("sugta"), mussels ("Shinaios"), squid ("mankios"), crab ("kurle"), lobster ("shingoor") etc. During the monsoon when fishing coming to a halt, Goans typically eat Pickles (Prawn Balchao, Fish Moll and Mango Pickles) or dry fish (Kismur, dried Bombli " Bombay duck" and Para).You can't only say that Goans love only spicy food, they do have a sweet tooth as well. No festival is complete without a wide variety of sweets like Bebinca, Neuroes, Patoli , Kulkuls, Kormolas, Dodol, Custards, etc.
Maharashtrian food is deeply influence by the rich plains which are blessed with a variety of grains (like Jowar, Bajra, ragi) and vegetables. Since Maharashtra is a large state the food varies from region to region and each region has a gamut of dishes tailored to local flavours like the fiery Mutton Kolhapuri from Kolhapur, Mumbai Vada Pav or Pune's Thalipeeth but contribute to an exotic and flavorful marathi cuisine. Marathi food is generally eaten in a thali or large plate which contains an assortment of variety of bhajis (vegetable curries), chutneys, papad, pickles and a roti or chapati or rice. Marathi cuisine is famous for a wide range of snacks like Chivda, Patra, Chakali, Shev which are eaten as smaller meals. Not forgetting a range of desserts like Basundi, Puran poli and Shrikhand. Maharashtrians are mainly Hindu and observe several fast during the year on auspicious days. On these days, starch rich dishes are eaten like Sago (Sabudana Khichdi), Shengdana Amti and Bhagar.