This is no ordinary Sunday for Bengalis spread across the globe. Those of us in North America are getting ready to say our Goodbyes for the year and those in India are getting ready to welcome Her. Yes, Its Durga Puja. The biggest Socio-religious festival binding Hindu Bengalis all over . Its a Five day Festival which on one side marks the victory of Good over Evil and also celebrates the Homecoming of our Mother Goddess Maa Durga.

Legend has it that Goddess Durga was created with all the powers of the all the gods in Heaven to defeat a buffalo headed demon , named Mahishasur, who was wreaking destruction across Heaven and Earth. And Maa Durga,riding her loyal Lion, wielding weapons in ten hands, defeated the demon after a long fight. The other legend is that Maa Durga ,along with four of her children, leaves her heavenly abode in the Himalayas, and visits Earth, which is her Paternal Home. 

Monday, the 19th of October marks the beginning of the festivities in India this year. But those of us, who are far away from our homeland, celebrate it over a convenient weekend, closer to the actual dates. This year we are celebrating it from Friday October 16th to Sunday 18th, here in Kansas City. Five days of festivities are squeezed in three days and we soak in as much as can. 

We, Bengalis are known for our love for food. And Durga Puja has its own unique saga with food. Starting with a vegetarian fare, the menu switches to succulent goat curries and yummy fish. Who can forget all the street food which can be found all across Kolkata at this time of the year. Being far away from Kolkata, I do miss all the special Bengali food, whipped up specially at this time of the year. So I decided to take you all on a culinary journey with me as I share some of my favorites from the seemingly endless list of Bengali Food. 

The first three days of Durga Puja are marked by a vegetarian fare at home or at the Puja Pandals. But if you want you share of Non Vegetarian food, stop by any of the make shift food stalls which come up around the Pandals, or sit down for a lunch or dinner served at any of the restaurants. For me this is the time, to binge on Luchi and some more Luchi. 

                                           Luchi - Shada Alur Torkari -Chholar Daal   

                                                      Potol- er Dolma  (Stuffed with a coconut filling ) 

                                                             Niramish Alur Dom

And if I am not stuffing my face with Luchi , then I am queueing up at my local Pujo Pandal for my share of Bhog-er Khichuri. You can make Khichuri at home, but there is something divinely different about the Khichuri which has been offered to the Goddess. I am not much a Khichuri fan, but this time of the year, I crave for it for sure. 


Nabami marks the day when non vegetarian fare takes centre stage in the festive menu. Goat Curry is almost a must have for every foodie, paired with some fragrant and slightly sweet Bengali Pulao. And if there's Goat, Rui Maachh can't be far behind. 

                                                          Bengali Mishti Pulao 

                                                           Kosha Mangsho 

                                                        Rui Maachher Jhaal

Finally the day when we bid farewell to Maa Durga. The married ladies offer her vermillion as she starts her journey for the year. The last day of feasting concludes with some Biriyani and Chicken Chaap, if I am roaming the streets in Kolkata, trying to get a last glimpse of the various Pandals, before the Goddess is led to her immersion. And if I am home, then nothing beats my Mother's Ilish Machher Jhaal. And loads of sweets and Mishti Doi. 

                                                Kolkata Style Goat Biriyani

                                                                Chicken Chaap  

                                                                 Shorshe Ilish

                                                                  Mishti Doi

Phew, now I feel hungry !!! 

Wish you'll a very very Happy Durga Pujo !! Bon Appetit !!!