The Panta Buri Tales
Imagine any normal evening in May. Sweat beads trickling down your forehead onto your eyebrows, finally on the cheek via the eyelashes – and you wipe it off and break into a scream “Dinnnnnnnner”.
Whooooosh! A bowl appears in front of you. To your heart’s delight it has panta bhat in it. A perfect dinner delight on a summer night, no? Now, my non Bengali friends must be wondering what on earth is panta bhat? Well well, if you have not tasted panta bhat, your culinary life is a sad failure.
Ok, do not get to worked up. Panta bhat is just the Bengali term for fermented rice. A delicacy of East Bengal, it is a hit among the Bangals (now please do not ask me what this means, have already talked about Ghotis and Bangals more than enough). Panta bhat, aam kasundi, and peyaj (onion slices) make for the perfect dinner menu during summer.
Now as you all might be wondering, where is the recipe, damn it! Righto!!! Here you go……
I am sure you all have leftover rice at home everyday, and you have no idea whether to throw it away. Well, it comes in handy for making panta bhat. Just soak it in water and keep it like that for a few hours. As the rice gets fermented, throw away excess water and add salt, kasundi, dal, and any spice you want. Mix and mash. If you are not salivating yet, get some aachar from the refrigerator and start hogging!
Panta bhat is best enjoyed with begun pora (roasted eggplant). All you have to do is roast the begun on oven. Rotate the begun 360 degrees over flames until its black skin starts sagging. Once the whole outer skin is charred, remove it from flames, cool the begun. Once cooled, mash it (for the hygiene freaks, if you want taste, make sure you use your hand). Add salt, oil, chopped green chillies, tomatoes and onions along with spices of your choice. Bazinga! Begun pora is ready.
Do drop in a tweet or a mail once you have tried this at home. 🙂