Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Portuguese Influence on Bengali Cuisine

"The two basic ingredients of Bengali sweets are sugar and milk. The milk is thickened either by
boiling it down to make a thick liquid called khoa, or by curdling it with lemon juice or yogurt to
produce curds, called channa. There is some debate as to whether the latter was a traditional
technique or a Portuguese contribution. Portuguese cheesemakers in Bengal used to produce
curds by breaking milk with acidic materials. One of their products was a salted smoked cheese
called Bandel Cheese, which is still made and sold in Calcutta"

This an excerpt from a lovely paper outlining the the Portuguese influence on Bengali cuisine presented at the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery [which you can read here].

I also might add that I love Bandel cheese and make it a point to get some discs wheneuver I am back in Calcutta. If you're in the city, make sure to drop by the dairy section of New Market and have some.

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