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Sunday, 24 September 2017

Bengali Vegetarian Thali / Durga Pooja Special Platter

Durga Puja also referred to as Durgotsava or Sharadotsav is an annual Hindu festival in south Asia that celebrates worship of the Hindu goddess Durga. It is  particularly popular in Indian states of West Bengal , Odisha,Assam and Tripura. Durga puja festival marks the battle of goddess Durga with the powerful buffalo demon Mahishasura, and her emerging victorious over the evil. Thus the festival epitomizes the victory of Good over Evil, but it also is in part a harvest festival that marks the goddess as the motherly power behind all of life and creation. Source: Wikipedia

Durga Puja festival is celebrated from the sixth to the tenth day of bright lunar fortnight in the Hindu calendar month of Ashwin . Bengali's celebrate it with dance , food , music , grandeur and community gatherings. While in Northern and Western India, people observe 9 days of fasting during Navratri, Bengali's (die hard foodies) enjoy scrumptious food during Durga Pooja. 

#DurgaPuja  is the theme for our #111th week of  #FoodieMondayBlogHop and this Bengali vegetarian platter which is called as "bhog" as it is offered to Maa Durga and then distributed among devotes is my contribution towards the theme.  I have been browsing Google on the food prepared during Durga Pooja for last 2-3 days and what i understood is that there is a long list of food both vegetarian and non-vegetarian that can be served as different courses of the meal during the 5 day festivity. From lip smacking snack , starters and street food , to elaborate main course , from curries and dals to non ending list of Mishti (sweets) there is everything in Bengali Cuisine that a foodie can ask for. So far i have tried Sandesh , Rasgulla , Mishti Doiand Begun Bhaja at home from the Bengali Cuisine. This time for the theme i wanted to try something which is typically cooked during Durga Pooja . I read many articles on line for it and finally settled with this Durga pooja special platter. I referred My Tryst With Food And Travel by Piyali di and Peekncook blogs for the recipes. 

My Durga Puja special Vegetarian platter has 
  • Bhoger Khichuri - One pot meal where rice and lentils are cooked together with some vegetables and basic Indian spice.
  • Beguni - Begun Bhaja : Egg plant fritters
  • Tomato Dates Chutney : A lip smacking side dish made from ripe tomatoes, golden raisins, dates, Mango leather and panch phoran. 
  • Payesh : A classic Bengali dessert , basically a rice pudding made from milk , rice and palm jaggery.
  • Papad 
  • Mishti Doi : Fermented Sweetened yogurt.
  1. Nolen Gurer Payesh:

Nolen Gurer Payesh : This is a classic Bengali dessert . It is basically a rice pudding and uses three main ingredients. milk , rice and date jaggery. Now again this recipe also calls for use of gobind bhog variety of rice which is fragrant. I have used basmati rice . The pudding is fragrant as it has whole bay leaf. I have used jaggery powder as a sweetener in this kheer.

Preparation time: 10 mniutes
Cooking time: 20 mniutes
Serves : 4

  • 1/4 cup rice
  • 1/2 liter full cream milk
  • 1/4 cup powdered jaggery 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • Dried rose petals and pistachio slivers for garnishing (optional)
  1. Rinse the rice thoroughly under running water. Drain and keep aside.
  2. In a pan heat ghee, add bay leaf and fry for few seconds.
  3. Add the drained rice and coat it with ghee.
  4. Add half of the milk and allow the rice to cook in the milk.
  5. Heat the remaining milk in another vessel until it reduces to half. 
  6. When the rice is almost cooked , add in the reduced milk . 
  7. Allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  8. Put off the flame. Now add the powdered jaggery followed by cardamom powder and give a quick stir. Keep stirring until all the jaggery melts completely.
  9. Garnish the payesh with dried rose petals and pistachio slivers and serve .
    2.  Bhoger Khichuri:

  • Khichuri :Bhoger Khichuri is quintessentially a part of the offerings made to Maa durga during Pujo. One pot meal where rice and lentils are cooked together with some vegetables and basic Indian spices. Traditionally this bhoger khichuri is made using a special type of rice variety found in West Bengal called Gobind bhog. I have used basmati rice instead. The moong dal is dry roasted until fragrant before washing and soaking. This steps adds in beautiful aroma to the khichuri. The consistency of khichuri is porridge like and is served piping hot with a generous amount of ghee.
Preapartion time: 15 minutes
Cooking time : 15 minutes
Serves : 4

  • 1/2 cup Gobind Bhog or basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup Split and husked moong dal
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup green peas
  • 1/4 cup Cauliflower florets
  • 1 small tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot , chopped
  • 1 medium potato 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 green caradamom
  • 2 tablespoon ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 inch ginger, grated
  • Salt to taste
  1. Rinse rice thoroughly under clear water. Soak the rice for 30 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile dry roast the moong dal on low flame until fragrant. Allow the lentil to cool down after which it is rinsed in water and allowed to soak for few minutes.
  3. In a pressure cooker or pan, heat ghee. Add the whole spices ( bay leaf, cardamom , cumin seeds, cinnamon , cloves). Saute the spices until they become aromatic.
  4. Add grated ginger and saute until the raw smell goes off. Now add the turmeric powder and red chili powder followed by the chopped tomatoes. Saute well.Now add rest of the vegetables and stir fry very well.
  5. Add the roasted moong dal and the drained rice and stir fry for another 1 -2 minutes.
  6. Add 3-4 cups of water . Season the khichuri with salt and sugar. Put the lid and cook the khichuri for 2 whistles. 
  7. Open the lid after all the pressure has been released. Mash the khichuri and serve it piping hot with generous amount of ghee and papad.
   3. Tomato and Dates Chutney

Bengali style tomato and dates chutney is a lip smacking side dish made from ripe tomatoes, golden raisins , dates , mango leather and panch phoran. It is sweet, spicy tangy all at the same time. The chutney is thick , sticky and blood red in color. This chutney is a part of the vegetarian Bengali bhog. I did not get mango leather bar , so skipped usingit. have replaced the sugar with jaggery powder in this recipe.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking time : 15 minutes.
Serves : 4

  • 4-5 ripe tomatoes
  • 4-5 dates
  • 2 tablespoon golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon of panch phoran 
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilly powder
  • 1/4 cup jaggery powder or more as per taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
  • Salt to taste
  1. In a non stick pan heat oil. Add the panch phoran and fry until aromatic.
  2. Add chopped tomatoes to the pan stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Now add turmeric powder followed by salt and mix well. Cover cook the tomatoes until mushy.
  3. Open the lid and add the jaggery powder and mix well. Higher the flame and cook the chutney until all the water from the tomatoes evaporate.
  4. Add chopped dates and raisins and mix with the pulpy tomatoes.Cook the chutney for another 2-3 minutes. Now add the red chill powder and cumin powder. Mix well cook for 1 more minute and put off the flame. 

  • Begun Bhaja : Baingan Bhaja or Begun Bhaja is a tasty appetizer made from Brinjal or Aubergine. A dish from Bengali cuisine in which Aubergine slices are marinated in spices and then pan / shallow fried to golden crispy on outside and remain soft from inside. Click here for the step wise recipe.

  • Mishti Doi : Sweetened yogurt or Mishti doi or Mithi Dahi is a fermented sweet yogurt and is famous sweet dish  in the Indian states of West Bengal and Odisha . In this recipe the milk is condensed and then sweetened with either caramelized sugar or Jaggery and then allowed to ferment overnight . Mishti doi has a very rich and exotic taste. Traditionally it is prepared in earthen pots as the gradual evaporation of  water through the earthen pot leads  to further thickening of the yogurt.  Click here for the detailed recipe.

  I hope i have done justice to the traditional Bengali vegetarian bhog. Would love to hear from you.

   Wishing a happy and blessed Durga Pooja festivity to all those who celebrate !

  For more Bengali recipes, check my blog posts on

Sponge Rasgulla


  1. What a platter !! So delicious share Poonam

  2. So tempting platter poonam.. love anything with nolen gur.. bhoger khichuri looks really yumm.

    1. Thank you dear Shibani..loved your bhoger platter too !!

  3. I am drooling here. That is a lovely platter and your blog is a treasure house of recipes!

  4. Khub khub bhalo hoeychey (very very nice) everything. The payesh looks brilliant. Wonderful job. Thanks for the mention. Hugs.

    1. Thank you di..your recipe turned out so good..looking forward to try many more from your blog :)

  5. Wonderful share Poonam😍😍drooling at the thali!

  6. Bhoger khichuri, chutney, mixed vegetables and payesh is my all time favourite. You made the platter so perfectly. Payesh khichuri everything looks super yummy.

  7. This colorful heavenly platter reminds me of my neighboring Bengali aunt, who would always prepare this thali during puja days. What a mouthwatering preparation, Poonam!

  8. This looks so very good! Great share! :)

  9. Such a tempting platter and loved reading about Durga Puja festival.

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  11. The platter looks so delicious...Amazingly done Poonam :)

  12. Bhog platter looks super tempting Poonam. Amazing share Poonam.

  13. Oh wow... Look at the platter..so amazing

  14. Bhoger Khichuri
    Very good
    As bhog is a offering to God the best way forward is to be classical and not be inovative to tweek the same
    E g.
    Begun bhaja in bhog is cut length wise not round you showed the correct variety but thecut is not
    Khichuri will not have carrots
    Do ñot misread me the recipes are very nice and following it the food is tasty
    However ar some point one has tobstick to tradition of Saborno Choudhari the first to give Bhog