Pop up lunch events adds freshness to city’s culinary scenario and organizing a one for the very first time, was not an easy task for us. The in-house innovation that weds beautifully with informal seating, charms of home style dining out experiences, amidst splashes of laughter and pleasantry, exudes a sense of warmth and comfort for both guests and hosts.
As the conversations flows in a smooth continuous streams between perfect strangers, with tunes of Rabindrasangeet playing in the background that weaves perfect ambiance for Bengali themed dining setting, we had started with our first course of service of Bengali orthodox staple of “Luchi-dum aloo and beetroot or fish croquettes “, quite nervously.
Of all these blogging years, we had received enormous love, respect and support from our readers, fans, blogging community and all those wonderful people who time and again had showed their trust and confidence in our culinary skills and recipes. But everything was at stake as this was our very first public event. The smiles and delightful enjoyment on our guests faces kept us motivated through out the end of the event.
As this was our first pop up lunch event, hence we had designed the menu quite extensively. It was an eclectic blend of both traditional, orthodox dishes like daler borar shukto, posto bhapa, koraishutir dhokar dalna from the house of the Tagores, chitol muthia from both sides of Bengal (west as well as east) on one hand and new age modern ones that speaks volumes about influence of other cultures on Bengali cuisine like fish croquettes, Potoler dolma the Armenian hangover of Kolkata, which truly encapsulates the true essence of Bengali cuisine.
The repertoire of Bengali cuisine does not confines itself with in the limits of traditional macher jhol or doi maach or sorshe bata maach. In fact when it comes to fishes, there exists limitless possibilities and we had decided to give Banglorean’s a taste of refined upper class chitol muthia, the fish that is as elusive as hilsa and the one that hardly makes its presence in any Bengali culinary scenario, except in household functions on special occasions and like.
Other than chitol muthia which is a class apart, we had roped in the quintessential chingri paturi, an East Bengal favourite, more precisely a Sylheti stunner, wrapped in pumpkin leaves. This dish had so many nostalgic memories associated with stories of my ancestral home in Dhaka, my grandmom who was otherwise also known in our clan as “queen of paturi”. Gourd leaves specially like pumpkin, bottle gourd and ash gourd adds a distinct touch to the paturi. I had prepared a killer mustard paste (well not exaggerating a bit) with equal blend of both black and yellow mustard seeds, green chillies, and coconut that beautifully toned down the zing of mustard paste and a few drop of cold pressed extra virgin mustard oil that again heightens the senses to another level. And to our satisfaction, this proved to be an instant hit and a crowd puller too.
Another dish that deserves a special mention was Goalando steamer chicken curry. An almost historic dish that had witnessed the rise and shine of two metropolitan cities of East – Calcutta and Dhaka. Born on the steamers that used to ferry people across the mighty Padma river, Goalanado steamer chicken curry is a rustic preparation of chicken curry which is minimalist at best and uses chopped onions, garlic, red chilles, ginger, turmeric and salt. No fancy (read imported) spices or ingredients, no ground spices were in use at that time. Flavours were simple- robust and rustic.
The quintessential tomato date chutney remains an integral part of every Bengali meal and from vast array of Bengali sweets, we had chosen two sweet dish in particular, baked sandesh and ranga aloor rosh pitha.
A slight innovative touch to the traditional and authentic sandesh, we had kept the flavours of baked sandesh mild and subtle but with a prominence of heavenly sandalwood flavour.
Pitha or pithe remains one of the most ethnic sweet dishes from Bengal, and as ancient as the advancement of human social development in the deltaic plains of Gangetic basin. Of all the vast varieties of pitha, we had chosen ranga aloor rosh pitha or sweet potato dumplings filled with tasty and delicious coconut jaggery filling and then dunked in syrup, which makes them totally delectable and moreish.
Bonding over food, sharing the same passion and when you see that big satisfied smile on your guests face, those sleepless nights , that backbreaking job of cooking for 12 hours or so, simply vanishes and you gleamed in glory of beautiful relationship that any good food ensures.
We are thankful to each and every guests at our pop up lunch who had made this event successful with their gracious presence and at the same time we express our regret that we can not accommodate everyone who had shown interest in our very first pop up because of limited seating capabilities.
Lastly we are equally thankful to the Slurp Studio team, without whom it would not be possible to organize this event successfully.
From Sukanya & Maumita
Watch this space for our next pop up coming soon with different theme.