Chef’s Log 39: Bhojohori Mania

'Ilish' must be Bengali for 'heaven'

‘Ilish’ must be Bengali for ‘heaven’

Back to the heat. Back to the grime. Back to Calcutta. And fortunately, back to some delicious and very exciting food options. I have always been a fan of fish. The Three-finned Thornback is my all-time favourite. However, I have now encountered a fish so divine, so mind-blowingly delectable, so taste-bud transformingly tasty that it could only mean one thing. ‘Ilish’ or ‘Hilsa’ as it is called is clearly part of some foul scheme concocted by humans to completely eliminate the practice of eating fish. It’s the only logical explanation, because once you taste it, all other fish pales in comparison. I fear I may never eat another fish again. The Ilish that I sampled was an ‘Ilish Bhaja’ (fry) with rice from a simply delightful place named ‘Bhojohori Manna’. Bhojohori Manna specializes in traditional Bengali cuisine. And what cuisine it is! Other than the life-changing Ilish bhaja, which is eaten mixing the scrumptious oil from the fish with the rice, I also sampled the ‘Kosha Mangsho’. Kosha Mangsho apparently consists of a portion of hearty meat, in this case, soft, juicy mutton, steeped in a somewhat spicy, thick gravy. It was absolutely packed with flavour. As is the tradition, it was accompanied by ‘Luchi’- a small, round, fried paratha of sorts, tasty enough on its own, but completely perfect with the Kosha Mangsho. And just when I thought life couldn’t get any better, I had the dessert. The ‘Nolen Gurer’ ice cream as it is called, is made with jaggery. It may be an unexpected flavour for ice cream, but it works, and how. Sweet yet savoury, smooth but with a slightly coarse texture, this dessert literally melts in your mouth. Of course I couldn’t leave Calcutta without sampling typical Bengali food. And I’m glad I did for it’s an experience I shall not soon forget. This place is a must-visit for anyone seeking authentic Bengali food. It is also a place which will be appreciated by both your tastebuds as well as your wallet.

Kosha Mangsho with Luchi

Kosha Mangsho with Luchi


Nolen Gurer ice cream

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