HYDERABAD: The second week of April brings in a lot of cheer for the Bengali community, with the Bengali New Year or Naboborsho celebrations on the first day of Baishakh month as per Bengali calendar. Poila Boisakh is celebrated with enthusiasm and fervour, including morning processions in traditional attires (known as Prabhat Pheri), cultural programs and wishing each other “Subha Naboborsho” which means Happy New Year in Bengali. The Bengali traders start their new accounting year from this auspicious date, with Haalkhata or new books of account.
Bengalis are especially known for their love for food, and no festive occasion can be celebrated without a sumptuous feast or “bhuribhoj” as we call it. Poila Baishakh is perhaps the biggest gastronomical experience after Durga Puja. Many families prepare traditional Bengali delicacies at home for a grand feast, while some prefer to eat out in restaurants which organize special meals or food festivals on this occasion.
Hyderabad has a fairly large Bengali community, and on this day the Bengali cultural associations of the city organize cultural evenings for their members and their guests. The programs invariably end with a sumptuous dinner serving traditional delicacies like pulao, kosha mangsho and select fish preparations, and of course a variety of mishtis (sweets). Hyderabad Bangalee Samity near Indira Park, Bangiya Sanskritik Sangha in Secunderabad and Utsab Cultural Association in Hi-Tec City are some of the Bengali clubs known for their New Year celebrations.
The Bengali restaurants of the city also gear up to present special dishes during this period. As per Paramita Ganguly of Nabanno, one of the leading Bengali restaurants in the city, they have introduced delicacies like Kamala Rui, a preparation of fish with oranges, apart from other mutton, prawn and fish dishes in this year’s New Year buffet menu. They will also serve special sweets like Malai Roll.
Due to the high demand for Bengali food during this time, many other restaurants organize their annual Bengali food festival in April. some restaurants are offering a special set menu for the New Year weekend presenting Bengali favourites such as Murshidabadi Chicken, Sorshe Chingri, Mangsher Jhol and Narkol Diye Cholar Dal. The Park Hyderabad is hosting Barsho Baran, a food festival concentrating on the delicacies from the erstwhile East Bengal. Curated by home chefs Swarnali and Sarbani, the festival will be on only for two weekends, and will have items like Potoler Dolma, Murgi Dak Bungalow and Dab Chingri on the menu.
Sabyasachi is a food enthusiast and blogs at www.foodaholix.in