People hear Bengali food, and their heads immediately go to roshogolla and maachher jhol. Or there's that ultimate question, “Why do you guys put potatoes in everything?” Because potatoes make everything awesome. But Bengali food is so much more than just fish curry and that one dessert. There are amazing meat, fish, and egg delicacies, and let's not forget the mouthwatering vegetarian preparations. 

Here are 13 lesser-known Bengali recipes everyone should know. 

Deemer Dalna or Egg Curry

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Ingredients:

6 hard boiled eggs

1 cup onions, chopped

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)

3-4 cloves of fresh garlic

1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon chilli powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 stick of cinnamon (dalchini)

4 cloves (laung)

4 whole green cardamom (elaichi)

2 tomatoes, diced

6 medium-sized potatoes, quartered

2 tablespoons mustard oil

1 tablespoon ghee (optional)

Coriander for garnish

Put a wok on medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of mustard oil. Once hot, add the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and the cumin seeds. Add the onions and fry till golden. You may add a bay leaf if you want. Add the potatoes and eggs. Fry, stirring lightly. Once all the ingredients turn golden, add the turmeric, chilli powder, black pepper, ginger, garlic, and tomatoes. Stir slowly till everything has blended well, and the tomatoes are soft. Add a cup of water, lower the heat, and simmer till potatoes are done.

Add the ghee, if using. Serve hot, garnished with coriander, and rice.

Kosha Mangsho

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Ingredients:

1kg mutton, cut into small to medium-sized pieces

For marinade:

6 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste

6 cardamoms

6 cloves of garlic

1 large piece of cinnamon

1 tablespoon coriander powder

1 tablespoon jeera powder

1 teaspoon nutmeg (jaiphal) powder

2 cups grated raw papaya

1 tablespoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon mace (javitri) powder

1 tablespoon turmeric

1 cup tomato puree

1 cup vinegar

2 tablespoons mustard oil

Salt, to taste

1 tablespoon black pepper powder

For the recipe:

1kg onions, finely chopped

1/2 cup mustard oil

1/4 cup ghee

1 tablespoon sugar

In a large bowl, add the mutton pieces and all the marinade ingredients, and mix thoroughly, ensuring that all the mutton pieces are coated well. Cover with cling film, and marinate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Heat a large wok over high heat. Add the mustard oil, ghee, and sugar. Once the sugar starts to caramelise, add the chopped onions. Lower the heat, and saute till the onions are golden. Add the mutton along with the marinade, and fry till the meat releases water. Cover the wok, and cook the meat on low heat till the liquid evaporates.

Uncover and check the meat. If it still feels undercooked, you can add a cup of water, and 1-2 more tablespoons of vinegar, and let it cook till done. Ensure that you cook till the water evaporates.

Serve hot with fluffy luchi.

Echorer Chop or Jackfruit Chops

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Ingredients:

1 large jackfruit, weighing about 1/2kg

1 teaspoon turmeric

Salt to taste

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic

1-inch piece fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

4 green cardamoms

6 cloves

1 small cinnamon stick, grated

A handful of coriander

2 green chillies, very finely chopped

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

A handful of breadcrumbs

Vegetable oil and ghee for frying

Peel raw jackfruit (echor), remove seeds, and cut into chunks. Put in a pressure cooker with 1/2 cup water, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook till soft.

Drain whatever water is left. Mash the cooked jackfruit using your hands. Add the chopped onion, garlic cloves, ginger, peppercorns, cardamoms, cloves, grated cinnamon, coriander leaves, green chillies, lemon juice, and breadcrumbs, and mix well with the mashed jackfruit.

Heat a flat non-stick pan on medium heat. Coat lightly with vegetable oil and ghee. Make small flat chops of the mixture and cook for 3 minutes per side. Continue adding more ghee to the pan while frying more chops if you want.

Drain on kitchen tissue, and serve hot with mint chutney.

Aloo Bhapa or Steamed Potatoes

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Ingredients:

200gm small potatoes

2 teaspoon mustard oil

1/2 tsp Bengali five spice mixture (panchphoron, made of whole jeera, saunf seeds, fenugreek seeds, black mustard seeds, and kalaunji)

2 dry red chillies

1/2 teaspoon mustard paste

1 teaspoon hung curd

3/4 teaspoon desiccated coconut paste

Pinch of green chilli paste

Pinch of turmeric powder

Salt to taste

Dash of lime juice

2 banana leaves

Wash and peel the potatoes. Parboil them in salted water, drain, and set aside.

In a non-stick pan, add the oil, and heat it over a medium flame. Add the five spice mixture, break the red chillies in half and add. Stir till the spices splutter.

Pour this oil-spice mixture over the potatoes, and set aside.

In a separate bowl, add the mustard paste, curd, coconut paste, green chilli paste and turmeric powder. Whip well to combine. Add the potatoes to this mixture, stir gently to combine. Add the lime juice and salt, and mix well again.

Put this potato mixture in the banana leaves, and wrap it up loosely. Place the banana-wrapped potatoes in the pressure cooker and steam for about 6-8 minutes.

Serve hot.

Chhaanar Dalna or Cottage Cheese Curry

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Ingredients:

1 litre milk

1 lemon or 1 teaspoon vinegar

1 medium-sized potato

1 and 1/2 teaspoon ginger paste

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 tomato, chopped

1 cardamom

3 cloves

1 small stick cinnamon

1 bay leaf

3 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon ghee

1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder

2 green chilies

1/3 teaspoon turmeric

Salt

Sugar

Heat 1 litre of milk till it comes to a boil. Add the juice of 1 lemon or 1 teaspoon vinegar, and stir. Let the milk simmer for a while, till it curdles. Strain the cottage cheese or chhaana in a muslin cloth. Hang the cottage cheese in the muslin cloth till all the water has drained out. Put on a plate, cut in squares, and set aside.

Wash and peel the potatoes, and cut in cubes. Add 1/3 cup water in a bowl, add the ginger paste and cumin into it, mix and set aside.

In a flat frying pan, add 2 teaspoons of oil, and fry the cottage cheese squares till both sides are golden-brown. Set aside.

Add the remaining oil, and the cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom, and bay leaf. Stir for a few seconds. Add the green chillies. Once it splutters, add the potatoes, and the salt. Fry till the potatoes are lightly browned.

Add the ginger-cumin paste and the turmeric. Stir well. Once the oil separates, add the tomato. Fry till the masala is cooked. Add 1 cup water, cover, and cook over a low flame till the potatoes are almost cooked. Add the cottage cheese squares and sugar. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.

Check the seasoning. Add the ghee, and garam masala powder. Stir once.

Serve hot with rice.

Potoler Dolma or Stuffed Pointed Gourd

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Ingredients:

12 Potol/Parwal/Pointed Gourd

3/4 cup vegetable oil

For the stuffing:

Non-vegetarian options: 500gms mutton keema or rohu fish or small prawns

Vegetarian options: potatoes or paneer or a mix of both

350gms finely sliced onions

Fresh ginger paste, 1 teaspoon for the fish/prawn, 2 teaspoons for mutton

4 fresh garlic cloves

2 teaspoons red chili powder

2 finely chopped green chilies

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

3/4 teaspoon garam masala powder

Salt to taste

For the gravy:

4 heaped tablespoons onion paste

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon ginger paste

3/4 teaspoon red chilli powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

3/4 teaspoon garam masala powder

Salt to taste

Wash the pointed gourds well. Cut off the tips from both ends, using the handle of a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds, hollowing out the gourds.

Rub a little salt both on the inside and outside of the gourds, and set aside for 10 minutes. Add half the oil in a wok, and fry the gourds till they're very lightly browned. Drain, and set aside to cool a little.

In the same wok, add the sliced onions and garlic, and fry till golden-brown. Add the turmeric, ginger, red chilli powder, green chillies, and salt. Add the stuffing of your choice.

If using keema, cook on low flame till cooked. If using fish, boil and debone it well. Mix well with the masalas, and cook for 3-4 minutes. If using prawns, mix well with the masalas, and cook for no more than 2-3 minutes.

If using potatoes, boil it, mash it, and then mix with the masala. If using paneer, crumble it before adding it into the masalas.

One the stuffing is cooked properly, add the garam masala. Stir well to combine, and set aside to cool.

Once the stuffing has cooled, stuff the fried gourds with it well.

Add the remaining oil in a wok. Add the bay leaves, onion paste, ginger paste, and fry well. Add the red chilli powder, and turmeric. Stir well to mix, and saute for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of water, and let it come to a boil. After 2 minutes, add the stuffed gourds, and simmer on low flame till the gravy thickens. Add the garam masala powder, and turn off heat.

Serve hot with rice.

Note: You can serve the stuffed gourds minus the gravy as well.

Mochar Ghonto or Banana Flower Sabzi

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Ingredients:

1 medium-sized mocha or banana blossom

1 large potato

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 bay leaves

3 green chillies

4 tablespoons grated coconut

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ghee

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Peel the outer leaves of the banana blossom, and separate all the flowers. Chop the separated flowers in small pieces, soak them in water, and set aside.

Wash and peel the potatoes. Chop into small cubes.

Add the oil to a wok, and heat it on a high flame for about 3-4 minutes. Add the bay leaves, potatoes, and fry. Add the green chillies, cumin powder, turmeric powder, 1/3 cup water, and cook till the water evaporates. Add the soaked banana blossoms to the pan, and stir fry for 1 minute.

Add the salt and the grated coconut. Stir to mix well, and cook for 2 minutes.

Serve hot.

Tok Maach or Fish in Tamarind Curry

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Ingredients:

500gms rohu or katla

2 onions, chopped roughly

2 tablespoons mustard oil

2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon red chilli powder

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon sugar

4 tablespoons ripe tamarind pulp

Add the oil to a pan, and shallow fry the fish. Set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon oil in a wok, and add the onions. Fry lightly till translucent. Add the ginger-garlic paste, cumin powder, salt, sugar, red chilli powder, and stir to cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the tamarind pulp, and mix well. Add 1 and 1/2 cups water, and let it simmer for 1 minute. Add the fish. Simmer for 1-2 minutes till the gravy reaches the consistency you want.

Serve hot with rice.

Kakrar Jhol or Bengal Crab Curry

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Ingredients:

4-5 large crabs

3 medium-sized potatoes, quartered

2 onions, blended into a paste

2 tomatoes, pureed

1 teaspoon ginger paste

1 and 1/2 teaspoon garlic paste

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder

2 tablespoons mustard oil

1 teaspoon ghee

Tempering:

1 dried red chilli

1 bay leaf

1-inch piece of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

2-3 green cardamoms

Spice Paste:

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon mustard oil

Break the outer shell and the small legs of the crabs and discard them. Break the bigger legs of the crabs, and wash it all under running water. Wash the crabs in a bowl of salted warm water.

Fill a large saucepan with water, and bring it to a boil. Rub some salt and turmeric over the crab pieces, and add to the saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes on a high flame. Take the crabs out, rub some more salt and turmeric over the crab pieces, and set aside. Store this crab broth for later.

In a bowl, add all the spices for the spice paste, and mix well. If it feels too dry, add a little water.

Add some oil in a deep-bottomed wok, and let it get hot on a medium flame. Shallow fry the potatoes till they're golden brown. Drain, and set aside. Shallow fry the crabs in the same oil, and drain and set aside.

Add the spices from the tempering mix into the oil, and when it starts to splutter, add the onion paste to it. Cook on a medium flame for 2-3 minutes, till the onion paste turns light brown. Add tomato puree, and cook for 2 minutes. Add ginger and garlic paste, and cook till the spices are all thoroughly combined, and the oil separates.

Add the spice paste to the wok, and mix well to combine. Add 1 tablespoon of water from the crab broth, and cook for 2-3 minutes, till the oil separates. Add 3 cups of crab broth, and bring to a boil. Add the fried potatoes and crabs, and cook, covered, till the potatoes are thoroughly cooked, and the gravy thickens.

Cook till the gravy reaches the desired consistency, and just finish off with ghee and garam masala.

Serve hot with rice.

Chingri Bharta or Prawn Paste

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Ingredients:

2 cups deveined, deshelled prawns

1/4 cup onions, coarsely chopped

5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped

2-3 green chillies, chopped

4 dried red chillies

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon chilli powder

3 tablespoons mustard oil

In a skillet, add 1 tablespoon of mustard oil, and add the prawns. Toss for 2 minutes, then drain and set aside.

In the same skillet, add 1 tablespoon mustard oil, and add the onions, garlic, red chillies, green chillies, and stir fry. Once the onions turn translucent, add the prawns, turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt, and stir for a few minutes. Transfer to a blender.

Grind the prawns to a coarse paste, and transfer to another bowl.

Serve hot.

Posto Bhaja or Fried Poppy Seed Paste

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup poppy seeds

3-4 green chillies, chopped coarsely

2 cloves of garlic chopped coarsely

Medium-sized onion, chopped

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 tablespoon mustard oil

Salt to taste

Add the poppy seeds to a blender, and grind them to a fine powder. Soak it in a bowl, with 3 tablespoons of warm water, and add salt and turmeric.

In a skillet, add mustard oil. Add the poppy seed paste, along with green chillies. Fry till the paste has dried a little, and the colour darkens.

Serve hot.

Green Papaya Chutney or Plastic Chutney

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Ingredients:

1 medium-sized raw papaya

1 and 1/2 cups water

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon raisins

Peel the raw papaya, and cut into halves. Remove all the seeds, and cut away the hard skin from the centre. Cut the remaining papaya into small and thin pieces, like chips. Wash, and set aside.

In a wok, add 2-3 cups of water, and let it come to a boil. Add the papaya chips into the wok, stir, and let it cook covered for 5 minutes on a medium flame. Add the salt, and mix well.

Add the sugar, and mix well to combine. Cover the wok, and let it cook for 10 minutes. Add the raisins, and cook for 10 more minutes on a low flame. Add the lemon juice, and stir to combine. Cook covered for 3-4 minutes. The consistency of the chutney should resemble jam, and the papaya chips should be translucent.

Serve warm or cold.

Patishapta

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Ingredients:

For the batter:

1 cup all purpose flour (maida)

1/2 cup semolina (sooji)

1/4 cup rice flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 cups milk

Oil

For the filling:

3 cups grated coconut or khoya

2 tablespoons sugar or jaggery

3-4 green cardamoms

4 tablespoons milk

In a deep-bottomed pan, add the grated coconut or khoya, sugar or jaggery, and milk, over a low flame. Add the cardamom. Keep stirring the mixture constantly, till it gets sticky. This should take about 15-20 minutes. Remove the filling from the heat, and set aside.

In a bowl, add the all purpose flour, semolina, rice flour, salt, sugar, and mix together. Add the milk, and make a thin batter, making sure there are no lumps in the batter.

Heat a non-stick griddle over a low flame. Add a little oil to the griddle. Pour a thin layer of the batter, and spread it quickly with a ladle to form a thin crepe. Add a heaped tablespoon of the filling in the centre, wait till it's golden-brown, and roll up the crepe from one side.

Serve garnished with almond slivers and condensed milk poured over it.

This article first appeared on Vagabomb.