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Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. August Learn how and when to remove this template message The partition of Bengal and India following independence from the British in separated Hindu -majority West Bengal —a state of the Republic of India —from Muslim -majority East Bengal , which became East Pakistan , now Bangladesh. This caused a significant change in demographics; populations were divided along religious lines, and over three million people were said to have crossed the new Bengal border in either direction. This large-scale displacement along religious lines led to some changes of food, because there were some minor differences in food habits between the Muslims and the Hindus. However, large populations of each religion remained on either side of the border. Though similar, there is a distinct difference between the flavors of the cuisines of West Bengal and Bangladesh East Bengal. Apart from this, every district of both parts of Bengal have subtle variations in the use of raw materials and flavors. The influence of the widows[ edit ] The treatment of Hindu widows has always been highly repressive. Tradition ties a woman's identity to her husband; a widow is therefore left with no identity, property rights, or social standing. Bengal was particularly repressive in this regard; widows were either banished or led highly monastic lives within the household, living under rigid dietary restrictions and not allowed any interests but religion and housework. The nineteenth century saw active widow reform movements in Bengal—the ban on Sati in and the Hindu Widow Re-marriage Act of were key milestones—but the related social practices took a long while to die out and still remain in part. Widows also did not use "heating" foods such as shallot and garlic, but ginger was allowed—this found a core place in Bengali curries, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Expensive spices such as saffron, cinnamon or cloves were used very sparingly if at all; nuts, dry fruits, milk and milk products such as cream, ghee or curd were similarly scarce. Cooked with elaborate precision and served with equal refinement—multiple courses and an intricate formality about what goes with what and in which sequence—it formed an enduring base for a rich and varied cuisine. Leftover cuts in particular, such as spinach ends or vegetable peel, are transformed. Chitrita Banerji in her book  quotes a nineteenth-century Bengali writer mentioning that "it was impossible to taste the full glory of vegetarian cooking unless your own wife became a widow". Characteristics of Bengali cuisine[ edit ] This section does not cite any sources. June A Bengali meal traditionally set up. An authentic Bengali meal featuring Sandesh. Signeture dish of Bengali: Fish And Rice The traditional society of Bengal has always been heavily agrarian ; hunting, except by some local clansmen, was uncommon. Rice is the staple, with many regions growing speciality rice varieties. Domestic cattle especially the water buffalo are common, more for agriculture than large scale dairy farming. Milk is an important source of nutrition, and also a key ingredient in Bengal's desserts. Ordinary food served at home is different from that served during social functions and festivals, and again very different from what might be served at a larger gathering e. Nearly every Bengali community eat meat or fish. In most parts of the Indian subcontinent, individual castes and communities have their own food habits; this is not true of Bengal. There is similarity in eating styles across social strata, with the Hindu upper caste Brahmins sharing a diet very similar to the trading or princely castes. Fish, goat, mutton and chicken are commonly eaten across social strata. Beef and pork also are available throughout the state. The nature and variety of dishes found in Bengali cooking are unique even in India. Fresh sweet water fish is one of its most distinctive features; Bengal's rivers, ponds and lakes contain varieties of fish such as roui , ilish , koi or pabda. Prawns, shrimp and crabs also abound. Almost every village in Bengal has ponds used for pisciculture, and at least one meal a day is certain to have a fish course. Bengalis also excel in the cooking of regional vegetables. They prepare a variety of the dishes using the many types of vegetables that grow there year-round. They can make ambrosial dishes out of the oftentimes rejected peels, stalks and leaves of vegetables. This style of cooking food using rejected parts of the vegetables, is predominant in Bengalis in Bangladesh and those who have migrated to West Bengal , using fuel-efficient methods, such as steaming fish or vegetables in a small covered bowl nestled at the top of the rice pot. The use of spices for both fish and vegetable dishes is quite extensive and includes many combinations not found in other parts of India. Examples are the onion-flavoured kalonji nigella or black onion seeds , radhuni wild celery seeds , and five-spice or panch phoron a mixture of cumin, fennel, fenugreek, kalonji, and black mustard seeds. Bengali cooking includes the phoron of a combination of whole spices, fried and added at the start or finish of cooking as a flavouring special to each dish. Bengalis share their use of whole black mustard seeds with South Indians, but unique to Bengal is the extensive use of freshly ground mustard paste. A pungent mustard paste called Kashundi is a dipping sauce popular in Bengal. Piper chaba is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae Chui Jhal is originally the twig of a Piper chaba. It is a very expensive spice in Bangladesh , and tastes like horse radish. People in Khulna , Bagerhat and Shatkhira cut down the stem, roots, peel the skin and cut it in to small pieces and cook them with meat and fishes, especially with mutton. Fish[ edit ] Shorshe Ilish, a dish of smoked ilish with mustard-seed paste, has been an important part of both and Bengali cuisine. Fried rui served in Dhaka , Bangladesh. Fish is the dominant kind of protein in Bengali cuisine and is cultivated in ponds and fished with nets in the freshwater rivers of the Ganges Delta. Almost every part of the fish except scales, fins , and innards is eaten; unlike other regions, the head is particularly preferred. Other spare bits of the fish are usually used to flavour curries and dals. Chingri prawn is particularly popular and comes in varieties—kucho tiny shrimp , bagda tiger prawns or galda Scampi. The salt water fish Ilish is very popular among Bengalis. There are numerous ways of cooking fish, depending on the texture, size, fat content and the bones. Ilish is said be cooked in distinct ways. Ilish which is considered the tastiest among the Bengal culinary delights is becoming costlier by the day. With the partial drying of Ganga Ganges River the volume of catch river is getting lower driving up the prices. The Ilish breeds in fresh water and during the rainy season it travels up the Ganges to breed where it is caught and this fresh water fish is the best in terms of taste. The fish from Padma river Ganges is called Padma in Bangladesh is also highly prized for its sweet taste. This section does not cite any sources. Khashi castrated goat or kochi pantha kid goat are the common forms of goat meat taken. Some delicate dishes are cooked with rewaji khashi, a goat that has been specifically raised on a singular kind of diet, to encourage the growth of intramuscular fat, commonly known as pardah. However In Bangladesh Beef is the most popular meat while in West Bengal it is not commonly eaten due religious prohibition for Hindus. Pork unlike Bangladesh is commonly eaten in West Bengal especially amongst the Santal tribes, the people in the Darjeeling district , and is quite popular in Urban regions of West Bengal. Pork is available on the menus of almost all Chinese restaurants in Kolkata. Chicken is also preferred, though it has grown steadily in popularity over the last few decades after the advent of poultry farming. Beef, though not as popular as in West Bengal, is still widely consumed in Bangladesh due to being a Muslim majority. Eggs—both chicken and duck—are quite popular. Duck meat is quite often found on menus in West Bengal, mostly Chinese restaurants, even though the birds are common in the many ponds and lakes. Turkey meat, Emu meat, Quail meat and Rabbit meat are also available to buy raw and the delicacies of these meats are popular in the food joints. Special dishes of Dhaka[ edit ] This section does not cite any sources. March Main articles: They finally settled in Dhaka, and, having bought large landed estates, they became the largest landowners in these parts. They were given the title of Nawab by the British. The Nawabs brought many famous baburchis "cooks" from many parts of India who introduced many new dishes, especially meat dishes, to the local cuisine. Admittedly, these expensive dishes were hardly enjoyed by the common people. They remained the favourite of the wealthy and the well-to-do aristocrats. After some of them have become favorites of the rich classes especially on such festive occasions as Eid and marriages. The food industry of Bangladesh is boosting since the s with different kinds of Dhaka style Biryanis , Polao , Tehari , Cutlet , kababs , Lassi , Mattha , Falooda and other Bangladeshi special food items. Bangladeshi cuisine and food industry is booming since the independence of Bangladesh in March Learn how and when to remove this template message Kebabs: There are many kinds of kebabs, mostly cooked over open grill. Some of the Dhaka's specialty of this genre are: Kebabs are eaten as snacks or as starters for a big feast. Special kinds of breads: There are many kinds of breads made with cheese mix, with minced meat, with special spices, etc. This famous dish is now the mainstay speciality of the Bengali cuisine, especially in Kolkata. It is cooked with basmati rice and 'pakki" pre-cooked goat-mutton pieces. When on 'dum', i. Spices such as saffron, nutmeg and star anise are employed chefs of this special dish. Marinated whole cabrito is roasted over charcoal fire. This dish is usually made on special occasion such as marriage feast when usually it is served on the high table reserved for the bridegroom and his party. Highly spiced, cooked in a pot with lots of ghee. Special dishes meant for festive occasion: There are some delicacies that are enjoyed occasionally by the wealthy people. However, the rare mostly migratory birds and turtles and deer being protected by law, this is on the decline. However, pigeons, guinea fowls, Muscovy ducks, etc. Turtles are still sold at many places although this is illegal.
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