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Durga Puja recipes: Luchis, Shorshe Ilish and more

By Indrani Roy
October 19, 2015 15:40 IST
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Traditional Bengali preparations to help celebrate Durga Puja.

No Bengali festival can be over without a gala feast. Naturally therefore, every Bengali kitchen is abuzz with activity during Durga Puja, the festival of festivals.

I present here are a few mouth-watering dishes culled from my mother’s cookery diary:

Luchi (Puri)



  • 250 gm maida (refined flour)
  • 3 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • Lukewarm water to knead
  • Oil to fry


  • Add 2 tbsp oil, salt and sugar to the maida and mix it uniformly. Knead into dough with lukewarm water.
  • Make small balls.
  • Flatten them into round pancakes, approximately 4 cm in diameter.
  • Deep fry them till they puff up and turn light brown.
  • Serve hot with any vegetarian or non-vegetarian dish.

Photograph: OdetomyLife/Creative Commons

Shorshe Ilish (Hilsa in mustard sauce)

Shorshe Ilish


  • 1 medium-sized Ilish (hilsa), cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 cup brown mustard seeds paste
  • 4 green chillies, slit in the middle
  • 4 tsp mustard oil
  • 1 tsp haldi powder
  • 1 tsp of red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste


  • Arrange the fish (without overlapping) in a microwave-proof container.
  • Mix mustard paste, haldi, salt, green chillies and oil.
  • Pour the mixture evenly over the fish.
  • Cover the container and microwave on 70 per cent power for four minutes.
  • Take out the container.
  • Turn the fish over gently.
  • Microwave for four more minutes.
  • If you do not have a microwave, you can pressure cook the ilish marinated with the aforesaid mixture for two whistles.
  • Serve hot with steamed rice.

Photograph: Sirsendu.mohanta/Creative Commons

Kasha Mangsho (Meat curry dry)

Kasha Mangsho


  • 1 kg lamb or mutton
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp whole garam masala
  • 1 tbsp garam masala powder
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp yogurt
  • 2 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 onions, large
  • 1 tbsp turmeric (haldi) powder
  • 2 tbsp red chili powder
  • 2 tbsp coriander (dhania) powder
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tbsp roasted cumin (jeera) seeds
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder


  • Wash the meat and cut it into small pieces.
  • Cut each potato into four pieces.
  • Add garlic, ginger paste and yogurt to the meat. Marinate for 30 minutes.
  • Heat the oil in a pan.
  • Add bay leaf and the whole garam masala.
  • Fry for 30 seconds.
  • Add sliced onions and fry till light brown.
  • Add garam masala powder.
  • After 30 seconds, add the red chilli, haldi and dhania powder and fry it on slow heat till the oil separates from the gravy.
  • Add little water if the spices start to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the marinated meat and potatoes.
  • Cook on low heat till oil separates from the curry.
  • Remove the potatoes from the pan and add 1 cup of water.
  • Cook the meat in a pan with a lid on, for an hour, stirring frequently as required till the meat becomes tender.
  • Add the potatoes. 
  • Add ghee, roasted cumin, roasted red chilli powder and mix well.
  • Serve hot with rice, pulao or luchi.

Photograph: Tony Moore/Creative Commons

Payesh (Kheer)



  • Ghee or sunflower oil
  • ¼ litre milk
  • 3-5 tbsp sugar
  • 3 pods green cardamom 
  • 100 gm rice
  • 1 tbsp of chopped almonds
  • 1 tbsp of raisins
  • 1 tsp of pistachios


  • Heat ghee or sunflower oil in a pan and fry the rice (the colour should not change).
  • Boil milk and add the rice.
  • Boil till the milk thickens.
  • Add sugar and cook on low heat.
  • Grind the seeds of the cardamom pod to a fine powder and add it to the mixture.
  • Cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped almonds, raisins and pistachios.
  • Serve cold.

Photograph: Biswarup Ganguly/Creative Commons

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