Whether you experience it in Kolkata, Delhi or Bangalore, chances are that the magnitude of Durga Puja pandals will overwhelm you. From navigating through the crazy traffic to dressing up, meeting friends and family and binging on tasty fried chops and mishti, the celebratory mood of the festival resembles that of a grand wedding, except it lasts five days.
Most Bengalis will attest to the fact that Durga Puja is about pet pujo more than anything else. Pandal hopping trips are plotted based on the food available in the vicinity. Picking your sarees and settling on what kurtas to wear seem less challenging than choosing what to eat (or not eat because you are too stuffed). From puchkas, mutton biryani, chicken rolls, chops to mishti, the list is endless.
So, while you decide what to gorge on, here is a beginner’s guide to pandal snacking:
1. Kathi Roll
A staple during Pujo, Kathi roll is prepared by stuffing paratha or rumali roti with chicken or mutton. Flaky and greasy in texture- this meaty roll is a must try.
2. Mughlai Paratha
While the name says Mughlai, this paratha is an integral part of Bengali cuisine during Pujo. A deep fried maida(refined flour) paratha stuffed with keema(minced meat), breadcrumbs, peanuts and coconut, this is a rare recipe imported from Bengal.
Also known as gol gappas in the northern part of the country and pani-puri in Maharashta, queue up to have this street food in pandals. Crunchy atta (whole wheat flour) puris filled with a cool concoction of tamarind, jal jeera, dried ginger and a hint of coriander, puchkas serve as a refreshing break.
4. Mutton/ Chicken Cutlet
This deep-fried goodness is an all time favourite during Pujo. A spiced mixture of minced chicken or mutton it is crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside.
PS: Keep Digene handy!
Written by–Rukmani Bakshi