BongTaste delivers over the weekend and its menu changes each week, with a rerun of old favourites
Every now and then, I raise a silent toast to all my food loving friends. Some like good food, some cook well, some are knowledgeable about everything culinary — but there is one thread that connects them. They keep me informed about food developments in the city and elsewhere.
That’s how I got to know about BongTaste, a new food delivery outfit in town. My friend Pritha — who was a journalist when we first met, has turned into a gourmet cook over the years, and is now a walking encyclopedia on Bengali culinary customs. She asked one of the brains behind the service — Adusyanti Chatterjee — to get in touch with me. She did, I read the menu, ordered a few dishes, and the rest, as they say, is food history.
BongTaste operates from south Delhi and delivers to most parts of Delhi-NCR, but only on weekends. They change the menu every week, and rerun old favourites. I saw there were various kinds of chicken dishes (chicken korma and doi chicken) on the menu that week, but I had already ordered a chicken roast from Utpala Mukherjee’s food service that week, and had cooked a Malaysian chicken for a few friends who were coming over. So we asked for a plate of kanchkolar kofta (green banana kofta), prawns (chingri bati chorchori) and mutton do piyaza, all amounting to ₹1,160, a reasonable price, you would agree. The helpings are good enough for two hungry people.
I thought I’d had enough of Bengali dishes, but clearly I was mistaken, for I relished all three. The kanchkolar kofta was a revelation. Raw banana is not something we often have at home, and the last time we did, we’d followed a southern Indian recipe from YouTube. This recipe was completely different, and I enjoyed the dish thoroughly.
For this, the bananas had been boiled, then mashed with spices, boiled potatoes, onion paste, ginger, and green chillies. The mash was shaped into balls, which went into a mildly sweet and gingery curry, flavoured with grated coconut and then topped with ghee. It was truly subtle, and I found myself going in for seconds.
This dish was light, while the bati chorchori was deliciously spicy. Some fairly large prawns had been marinated with mustard oil and spices and then cooked in a bowl — called bati in Bengali — over a low flame. Chorchori, as most know, is a mix. “This is called a bachelor’s dish,” explains Subinoy Das, co-founder of BongTaste. I suppose the name comes from the fact that it translates into hassle-free cooking.
The mutton do piyaza was all right, though I fear it had too much oil. Still, the gravy, however rich, was tasty, and went well with my home-cooked roti.
This week they have something called a Sultanate edition: chicken dishes from Lucknow, Murshidabad, Hyderabad, and Bhopal. It has on offer Nizami murgh, Nawabi murgh, Sultani murgh and Darbari murgh (each ₹410).
My only grouse with the service is that they don’t factor in the delivery charges when they give us the bill (₹150). The amount is not much, but it is easier when the sum is added to the bill so that you have a cashless delivery.
I look forward to more Bong dishes in the near future. Kanchkola, my near and dear ones tell me, is also the Bengali word for the Hindi ‘thhainga’, a rude upturned thumb gesture that stands for a phrase like ‘too bad’ or ‘ha ha’! I think in this case the dish — along with BongTaste — deserves not a kanchkola, but a cheerful thumbs up.
The writer is a seasoned food critic.