Now, B can lead us to many crunchy Bengali food journeys with bhaja (fried) and beguni (dipped & fried eggplant). But I want to deviate to talk about simple comfort food that has been had in almost all Bengali households - bhaate sheddo.
I love a good bhaja and had a good share of them while in India.This kumro bhaja with fresh kumro (pumpkin) was just divine and was perfect with a hot cup of chai after the rains.
Bhaate sheddo literally means cooked with rice. It becomes a one pot meal where most commonly potatoes and sometimes even eggs are cooked with rice. Sometimes lentils like mushrir dal (masoor dal) will be put in a pouch and dropped in the boiling rice water to have some boiled lentils on the side.
When the rice is cooked, the potatoes, eggs and the lentil pouch is separated. The potato and the eggs are mashed with oil, salt and green chilli. One can also add some chopped raw onions to the sheddo mix.
My thakuma would burn or fry a red chilli and mash it in the alu sheddo. It tasted divine. Now thakuma had rice for breakfast, and lunch. Most of the times, her breakfast was bhaat aar sheddo. When me and my cousins were little we would sit around her during her breakfast time. She would make a little round ball of rice and sheddo and each of us would get a bite.
When also usually had bhaate sheddo after a long journey. While we would unwind, Maa would quickly put rice with eggs and potatoes and we would eat it with some gawa ghee (cow's milk ghee) before going off to bed.
Other vegetables can also be added to the sheddo. Bittergourd or karela is also boiled (not with the rice of course) and mashed with boiled potatoes to make alu karela sheddo, kumro or pumpkin is also boiled to make kumro sheddo.
Here is a simple recipe for alu sheddo.
1 green chilli - chopped or fry a red chilli
salt to taste
1 tspoon mustard oil
1/4 onion chopped (optional)
tiny bit of cilantro (optional)
Boil the potatoes and mash it well with mustard oil and salt. Add the green (or red) chilli, onions or cilantro.
You can alternatively heat the mustard oil, add a pinch of turmeric, the chilli and onions for a minute. Pour it over the potatoes and mix it together.