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.🙂

begun pora

Image courtesy incdn.ar-cdn.com

About Agnivo Niyogi

Typical Aantel, reader, blogger, news addict, opinionated. Digital media enthusiast. Didi fanboi. Joy Bangla!

Posted on April 30, 2012, in Food and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. To say that ‘panta’ was a Bangal delicacy is miles off target.
    In the days before luxuries like the fridge, surplus steamed rice was preserved for the night by adding an excess of water to it, and covering it up with a gauzy cloth, usually an old piece of torn sari. It made for breakfast the next morrow. The poor seasoned it with salt and chilli, and a twist of lime if they could afford it. Only the not-so-poor could afford kasundi or even roasted aubergine and pickle, but I don’t think they’d waste it on panta. The affluent didn’t have any use for surplus rice, except to feed the pets, perhaps. As a child I had often broken my fast with noon-lebu-lanka-panta, embellished with a drop of mustard, oil and ought to know!

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  2. Your Begun-pora is called Baigun ka bhurta. You have to peel the charred skin and then cool it in the cold water to get its real taste. In some areas of northern India, especially in the Punjab after it is mixed with onions, tomatoes, corriander and specias it is stir friend in oil or butter and then mixed with Dahi (yoghart). Try it that way.

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    • Yes…but the difference between Baigun ka Bharta and Begun Pora is the same as that between so many Bengali preparations and there counterparts from many other parts of India – frugality of ingredients and subtletly of taste. This is analogous to the difference between Bollywood films and Bengali ones (the ones that are not just a poor mans imitation of Bollywood, that is) – the former being a hotch potch of ingredients, while the latter is a more studied preparation aimed at achieving a particular desired effect, without overdoing things.

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  1. Pingback: 30 Days Blogging Challenge – Day 11: Ten Favourite Foods | Aaganz World

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