Blacksalt presents the flavours of Bengal

by: Angie Kwon, Editor
28 Feb 2019

“Flavours of Bengal” is part two of Blacksalt’s Great Escapes weekly menu series, which explores the culinary traditions in regions of India each Wednesday. This month the focus is on Bengali culture and its culinary roots.

Tradition with a twist
Knowing chef Taran Chadha we knew the four-course menu was going to be respectful of tradition but with a creative twist.
The meal began with a flavoursome bowl of lentils in a light, citrusy sauce served with tortilla chips. Lentils and tortilla chips was such an unlikely and incredibly good combination we loved it, and thought if this is not a current bar snack in India, it should be.
This was followed by two “shortplates”, Beguni, a dish of crispy eggplant slices, charred eggplant relish and hung yoghurt, and the Vine tomato dolma, a tomato stuffed with lamb shoulder, goat cheese, served with corn roti and spiced jus.

The eggplant was divine and plentiful. The four large slices of eggplant had perfectly crispy edges and we thought it clever to extend the flavour by creating a relish from the same vegetable. The tomato dish was also plentiful, and we enjoyed the pancake-like corn roti, a texture different to roti we've had before. 

Fragrant surprises
Heartwarming was the word that came to mind with the next course, Massoor dal pe yaj or Red lentil soup, with caramelised onions, nigella seeds and jasmine rice balls.
It was not spicy, but it was moreish and comforting. The floating rice balls was quite a surprise, a texture similar to that of nurungji stew in Korean cuisine that highlights rice crackers that stay crunchy even when floating in hot broth. ​

For the third course, we chose the Daab chingri thermidor, a dish of giant tiger prawn, young coconut, comte cheese, mustard and poppy seeds. Served inside a coconut, and atop with a gigantic tiger prawn, the Daab chingri thermidor featured creamy curry of prawns and spice, with a thickness similar to that of a plate of deviled prawns.

For dessert, Mishti doi, a small cup of creamy yoghurty pudding served with date molasses, almond cream and vanilla berries. Traditionally the Mishti doi is made of a fermented cheese-of-a-sort sweetened with sugarcane. The date molasses, a Chadha twist, gave the dish a wonderful fragrant aftertaste.

Based on this meal we are looking forward to the next instalment in the Great Escapes menu.