A Bengali Dinner for my Unsuspecting UP-wallah Husband

Would I cook for a party?

There are those who love to cook and then there are those who just don’t. There are those who love to eat while there are those who just love to feed! Well, I belong to an unusual cross, a peculiar sect with neither an innate love for cooking nor any particular inclination towards feeding others. Yes, all I like to do when it comes to food is either eat myself or not eat at all! And ‘to eat’ I like a lot! Perhaps my being a Bengali is the reason for that!

For someone who detests spending time cooking having guests over for a party is nothing less than a nightmare! I absolutely abhor the activity, let alone cook several courses of meal for guests. Such is my loathing for anything to do with cooking that I have many a times survived on Kitchens of India’s ready to eat curries! Especially the Dal Bukhara which is my favourite of the lot and also a savior in times of absolute crisis! So for a person like me, who would rather survive on pizza, ready to eat food or who would rather eat outside than cook, a party which necessitates cooking is incredibly traumatic.

Cooking for me is equivalent to torture and pain. But then there’s only so much I can escape. There are times, which I must say I absolutely detest, when every force of this universe seems to work in tandem in order to chase me right to my kitchen!

Who would I cook for?

Since I absolutely despise the task of cooking, if I had to do it I would choose someone for whom I would happily go through those long grueling hours in the kitchen! Well may be not that happily but you get the idea, right? The only person who comes to my mind for that is my unsuspecting husband. And I have an ulterior motive in doing that too! And perhaps if you’d come a little closer to your screen, I’d disclose the reason to you too!

Being a Bengali I love eating fish. It is as though I am hardwired for it! But my naive husband from UP, doesn’t really relish fish so much! So I want to cook up a meal after which he would tickle and jump with joy at just the mention of fishes! After all a girl needs company to eat, doesn’t she? Another small little wish that I have is that he gets habituated with the Bengali dinner parties so that when he is invited to one at the house of some thoroughly Bengali relative of mine, he wouldn’t faint at the sight of the number of courses. 

Ofcourse, I’d have my sister, my best friend and her husband for company. All Bengalis and all with an insatiable penchant for food!

How would my party be?

So it’s pretty simple really. A party at home for the man I own, well not literally perhaps.! He would ofcourse be accompanied by some of the closest people I’ve known! The dining table at our balcony with twinkling lights adorning the scene; some jazz playing at the background and our favourite drink. Ofcourse, the drinks need to be less, for they, particularly my husband dearest has to eat an out and out Bengali Dinner that day!

Bengalis cannot have a party with just two or three curries. For them lunch or dinner is an elaborate affair even if there is no party at home! Here’s what my mother suggested as an out of the world Bengali Dinner menu. Yes, the one for taking my poor husband across the threshold of Bengali food.

Cholar Dal narkel diye (Chana Dal with coconut), Begun Bhaja( Crunchy Brinjal Fry), Poneer er torkari( Paneer Gravy), Chingri Macher Malai Curry(Prawn Curry in coconut milk) , Ilish Maach Shiddoo (Steamed Ilish Fish Curry in mustard sauce), Kosha pathar Mangsho (Saute'ed Mutton), and ofcourse rice and roti to go with it! For dessert it would be Anarosh er Chatni (Pineapple chutney),Misthi Doi( Sweetened Curd), Roshogulla!

Now the most important part of how I’d cook all of it! Since my mom lives in a different city altogether and since my husband has not the slightest idea of the original tastes of these dishes I think I could actually take a slight detour. I could pass the Dal Bukhara as Cholar Dal, trust me he wouldn’t know the difference! And for the rest, well they are on my side anyways!  I could pass the Paneer Darbari as Poneer er torkari, again he wouldn’t know a thing! Believe me! For the Saute'ed Mutton I would use the Chicken Curry Mix, well chicken or mutton the spices used aren’t that much different, are they? It’s only the Chingri Macher Malai Curry and Ilish Maach Shiddoo that I’d make from scratch! Ofcourse the rice, roti, salad and Begun Bhaja too, for these are really easy! Well, since I’ve taken so much of a diversion for the main course, I couldn’t leave the desserts alone, now could I? So I’d pass on the Hazoori Petha Halwa as one of the deserts in place of Anarosh er Chatni. And since the Misthi Doi and Roshogulla are easily available there’s no need for me to worry, now is there?

So what do you think? Would like to come for the Bengali Dinner party at my home, well alright the-almost-Bengali-Dinner party!

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