The Bengali Food Festival, Jamavar, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, Mumbai!
Salvador Dall once said, “Have no Fear of Perfection – You’ll never Reach it!”
Well, it seems the Chefs at The Leela Hotel, Mumbai are on a quest to prove him wrong!
With their on-going Bengali Food Festival, that took over 2 years of planning to execute and chefs and ingredients flown in from Calcutta; this dining experience had to be perfect!
My Masi having married into a Bengali family, I’ve heard of a lot of the dishes that were on the menu and have even tried a couple of them earlier and the sight of Mottorshutir Kochuri on the menu had me super excited!
What we had:
Channar Patisapta: This mini pancake stuffed with smoothened cottage cheese looked very similar to the malpua rabri served at Swati Snacks (sans the sugar syrup)! Not very spicy, not very sweet; somewhere in the middle, this dish was oh so good and delicious!
Piyaz Postor Bora: This was the dish the course for me; a pattice with a difference, I say with a difference because this truly was unlike anything I have ever had before; a true blue Bengali dish, this was very new for me and I actually regretted not having sampled this before! A mixture made of poppy seeds, chopped onions and green chilli, this is then deep fried (can be shallow fried too) and served with an array of traditional Bengali condiments. I enjoyed this just the way it is without any of the condiments.
Mochar Chop: The one dish that I was MOST hesitant to try, only because it was deep fried in mustard oil! I have this childhood memory with Mustard Oil, we used to live in Lokhandwala then and every time one of our neighbours would use Mustard Oil (once in a couple of months) I was always found in a different corner of our house, locked away to keep the stench away! It was only after continuous perusal from Amisha from InstaFoodie that made me try it and I had no regrets WHATSOEVER! So Mochar Chop basically is a deep fried stuffed blossom; I tasted it, liked it but my mind block for mustard oil did not let me go beyond half of the piece!
Bhapa Chanar Ushtab: A traditional Bengali paneer dish, the bhapa chanar ushtab comes in a gravy that’s on the sweeter side because of the cashew saffron base that it has. Soft, Succulent and Delicious is how I would love to describe this dish, even though it was not the dish of the course for me!
Dhokar Dalna: A Channa Dal and Masoor Dal koftas cooked in a tangy red gravy (forgive me, for I have not been able to decipher the ingredients that the gravy was made up of) that was much more delicious than what it looked like or its name sounded like! Apart from calling it the dish of the course, I would also like to call it the dish of the afternoon!
Piyaj Aloo Posto: Amongst the least liked dishes of the evening for me had to be the Piyaj Aloo Posto; a dry sabji made of onions, poppy seeds and potatoes, ingredients very similar to the Piyaz Posto Bora we had in the appetisers, the reason why I personally disliked this dish was because of the fact that it was cooked in mustard oil and had a dominating mustard flavour.
Mono Mohini Begun Bahar: This was also served, but I did not sample it because of two core ingredients that I genuinely dislike: (a) Brinjals aka Aubergines and (b) Mustard Oil.
Sonali Moong Dal: Simplicity at its best; Daal is an Indian staple and also my favourite part of any Indian Meal. Every region of the country has its own way of making yellow daal and the Bengali version was something I had not tried yet; a first for me too. Simple and basic flavours with a little ghee; a happy soul indeed is what I was after this!
Mottorshutir Kochuri: The Mottorshutir Kochuri, aka Mattar Loochi is my favourite Bengali dish, a flaky puri stuffed with the goodness of peas; eaten with a sabji or just the way it is, this definitely is amongst the various things I relish indulging in and is also a guilty pleasure!
Pholko Loochi: A Pholko Loochi is the regular puri that we have but I must mention the fact that this was the fluffiest, softest and lightest puri that I have had in as long as I can remember!
Tinkonna Paratha: I have zero comlaints with regards to the paratha that was served but when compared to the Mottorshutir Kochuri and Pholko Loochi, sadly, this one failed miserably!
We were also served the Suravi Pulav that I avoided because I was overstuffed!
Raj Bhog and Gur Er Payesh and Missti Doi: Each unique in its own made with the purist of ingredients available (including the Gobindobhog rice that specially came from Calcutta). Enough Said!
Oh and what’s a traditional Bengali meal like without some Calcutta Meetha Paan?
Chef Surender Mohan, you have once again raised the bar SO high!