Apart from the Durga Puja holidays, if there is one festival that makes my partner’s eyes shine, it is Jamai Shashti. He begins to remind me of the feast days before. I am told that Ma Shashti is a goddess, revered as the benefactress of children; whose symbolism is that the son-in-law is also a son of the family.
Previously, the women of the households began the preparations for the feast days in advance, to overwhelm the son-in-law. Nowadays, you can order a complete dish with just one click. Despite various choices, I focused on ‘6 Ballygunge Place’.
Reflecting the ancient Zamindari tastes of Bengal, the “6 Ballygunge Place” restaurant chain serves authentic, world-class Bengali cuisine.
Jamai Adar Celebration Pack – Price: Rs 1155
Chicken cutlet Murshidabadi (1 piece), Basunti Pulao, Karishutir Kachuri (2 pieces), Narkel Diye Cholar Dal, Bhaja Masala Aloo Dum, Bhetki Paturi (1 piece), Bagda Chingri Malai Curry (2 pieces), Kasha Mangsho (2 pieces) ), Chutney, Papad, Aam Bhapa Doi and Raj Bhog (1 piece).
The huge, heavy, colorful box was so beautiful that it looked like a gift in itself. Inside, many aluminum foil containers were carefully wrapped. What I liked most at first glance was that the food was hot, the chicken cutlet was crisp and everything looked artisanal.
After the taste
After getting over the joyful feeling of opening the magnificent box, I started with the Karishutir Kachuri with Bhaja Masala Aloo Dum and Narkel Diye Cholar Dal.
Karishutir Kachuris with a well-seasoned pea stuffing instantly melts in your mouth. The dish is a hybrid of Poori and Kachori, and is filled with mashed peas.
Narkel Diye Cholar Dal was rich in cashews, raisins, and cardamom but didn’t have a lot of coconut as the name suggests. I have had much better variations cooked by the bungalow chefs during my husband’s field assignments in rural Bengal. Ideally, this dish should have a coconut punch that was conspicuously absent.
The Bhaja Masala Aloo Dum contained whole baby potatoes in a hot sauce with coriander seeds. It had nuances of a Tamil dish with potatoes that people normally have for breakfast in South India.
What followed was the Murshidabadi Chicken Chop – a large piece of chicken breast marinated in a spicy ginger-garlic batter and fried in washed egg crumbs. What was really remarkable was that the flavors were infused well into the chicken making it tasty and juicy. Honestly, it was way better than the ubiquitous fried chicken in fast food restaurants.
The Basunti Pulao (a rice preparation with dried fruits) was rich in raisins, cashews and its sweetness perfectly complimented the spicy Kasha Mangsho (well-simmered mutton curry) like a heavenly match. The large chunks of mutton slowly cooked in a thick, iconic sauce were quite tender, with the meat falling off the bones.
The Bhetki Paturi (steamed fish wrapped in a banana leaf) had a pungent flavor distinct from crushed mustard seeds and the fire of green chili peppers. Bagda Chingri Malai Curry (coconut shrimp curry) had tiger prawns with shells cooked in coconut milk and light spices. It was a wonderful dish, balancing the palate of flavors.
The sweet tomato chutney loaded with dates and raisins and the fried rice papad provided a well-deserved closing to the royal banquet.
For desserts, there was Aam Bhapa Doi, a sweet and sweet mango curd topped with mango marmalade and a large Raj Bhog stuffed with khoya, dried fruits and saffron.
What I liked
All of the non-vegetarian items were outstanding. It’s rare for a movie to have four actors, each winning the best actor award. ‘6 Ballygunge Place’ did this beautifully. The chicken, shrimp, mutton and fish all tasted exactly as they should be – perfect! I wish the meal had more variety of desserts.
Jamai Shashti or not, the celebration box was excellent value for money. You will be able to taste one of the best Bengali specialties cooked with the best ingredients that suit all taste buds. If you missed it this year, don’t forget to book your meal for Jamai Shasti 2022!
(The Columnist is a food connoisseur who enjoys experimenting with culinary delights and a career IRS income tax bureaucrat)