We bongs are known to be quite possessive and eccentric in nature- especially towards our food and culture. And, for us, summer means Mango– period. But, do we know how many varieties of mango are grown in bengal, apart from the usual Lyangra, Himsagar and Fajli ? This summer, I’m trying to find out different varieties of mango available in West Bengal. Now, West Bengal Government had organized a Mango Utsav in New Town mela ground this month and it was a nice experience for me. But, can a write-up on mango be complete without a trip to the land of nawabs – Murshidabad ? And here starts my quest for mango varieties in West Bengal.
You can check my experience in mango varieties during mango utsav here
A bit of bengal history first …
Nawab Murshid Quli Jafar Khan can be praised for the mango orchards in Murshidabad. By now, let’s assume, we know that there are two most famous mango producing zones in West Bengal- namely Murshidabad and Malda. Off course some fantastic varieties are found in West Midnapore, but they are rare, very rare. Now, when Nawab Murshid Quli Jafar Khan had transferred his capital from Dhaka to Murshidabad in 1704, he was the one to encourage the mango orchards there. Now maybe nawab saab was fond of mangoes or what, history doesn’t really enlighten us on that. But, what is sure that this gentleman needs some praise, only for this. Also, another interesting tryst with history can be, the famous (or infamous) battle of plassey in 1757, which took place in the mango orchard at Jiaganj, around 8 km from Murshidabad town.
IRCTC train tickets
Train is the most convenient and best way to visit Murshidabad or even Berhampore, the adjoining twin city. Tickets are readily available from Kolkata (KOAA) station and with IRCTC app, it’s a breeze. Please have a look at the train timings here.
And the gluttony starts …
Gluttony is a sin and I know that- seriously. But like many a sinners, I believe in the philosophy that “Love thy enemy“. And in a train journey, I don’t know why, my hunger increases manifold. Apart from the numerous cups of rubbish tea and coffee, the first thing that attracted us was the Ghoogni. Now, Ghoogni (or the black gram cooked with North-Indian styled gravy) is nothing new for a bengali- even many can go to the extent of calling it as soul food. But somehow I feel taste of this thing gets elevated outside one’s house. The roadside dirt adds to the taste, along with those sliced onion, cucumber and a squeez of lemon and chaat masala. but maybe that’s just me. So, this gentleman was selling it just like that. Off course he sensed our need and sheepishly whispered “Toast in coming”. And magically, the next vendor was the Toast. With a thick coating of amul butter, these rustic quartered bread slices somehow add some special effect to the whole thing. And it was just what is needed to complement the ghoogni.
Being a bong and during a train journey, not looking for boiled eggs is a sin and I am not a sinner. Now, the egg sellers in these trains are magicians. They sell multiple varieties of the same product- full boiled poultry egg, half boiled poultry egg, full boiled duck egg etc etc. And I obviously chose the half boiled duck egg. It was perfectly boiled and the yolk oozed out just perfectly. Pure love.
In the pictures, beside the eggs, lied some liliput samosas / singharas. Apart from the size, the inside was perfect. The potato was chopped (and not mashed) and was perfectly mixed with chopped coconut and 1-2 fried peanuts. I was already missing them for my evening Old Monk.
Now that the initial wave was over, I was a bit stabilized and just at that moment, this gentleman arrived with his offering of sweets. I know I am one sweet person, but that does not mean that I can eat Rasogolla in the morning. But once he came up with some Shor-bhaja and Shor-puria, it’s a different story. I realized, we were crossing Krishnanagar. now, let’s get the facts right. Shor-bhaja and Shor-Puria both are made from milk-cream , but Shor-bhaja is fried, wherein Shor-Puria is baked. But for a bong, when did it matter ? And, we started with one liliput piece of each.
No, please do not get me wrong. In a 4 hours train journey, we can’t eat anymore. And keeping in mind that one hectic day of mango tasting, we won’t have anything else, rather. The train is mostly on time and we are reaching Murshidabad.
Bon apetit !!!
Comments and critics welcome.
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