Food

From the house of Mr Biswas!

DELECTABLE DELIGHT Mustard pabda offered by Prinsep 21

DELECTABLE DELIGHT Mustard pabda offered by Prinsep 21   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

For lovers of Bengali cuisine, Prinsep 21 is a must place to visit

I went chasing a rainbow, and actually found a pot of gold at the end of it. It was one of those days when there was talk of rain. We thought it called for a nice meal, ordered in, but we were not keen on having Chinese. I felt a Bengali meal would be a good idea, but the local Bengali food takeaway was a bit disappointing when we had last placed an order from there.

So I thought I would go looking for Prinsep 21. I had heard about it and had been following it up on the internet. But the place in Noida did not deliver to Mayur Vihar, so I knew that if I had to try the food out, I had to make a visit there. So, that day when the weather — sultry but promising rain — demanded a memorable meal, I went trudging towards Noida in the heat.

And I am glad I did — for it turned out to be best Bengali meal I’ve had in a very long time. The dhoka — a curried dish of steamed lentil cakes — was so delicious that I made sure some was left over for my breakfast the next morning. That was certainly the first time ever I had dhokar dalna for breakfast!

But before I get to the food, let me tell you about the place. Prinsep 21 is in Noida, Sector 51 (Phone numbers: 08010360859and 8470880448). I called one of the numbers up a few times to find the place. The take-away is run from a small room with an attached kitchen in a lane.

Wielding a deft karchi is Mrs Biswas. Handling the orders is Mr Biswas. And lending a helping hand is their daughter, Bipasha (and occasionally the son-in-law). The Biswas takeaway offers most of the dishes that Bengalis go gaga over — from mustard rahu to prawn malai curry and from aloo posto to chholar dal.

I asked for some rohu jhol, dhokar dalna, chicken rezala and mango chutney. They added aloo bhaja to the food packet.

Mutton rezala

Mutton rezala   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

I had a delicious dinner that evening. The potato fries — called jhurjhurey aloo bhaja — were wafer thin and crunchy, and I wished I’d ordered some moong dal to go with it. The gravy in the rezala, with plump and juicy pieces of chicken in it, was light, yet full of flavours, with the yoghurt giving it a mildly tart taste. The fish, again large pieces, had been cooked with basic spices — a pinch of cumin seeds, coriander, green chillies and mustard, and was again excellent. But the dhokar dalna took the cake, if you would pardon the pun. The steamed lentil cakes were incredibly soft, full of juices and just lightly spiced. Even the next morning, when I ate them for breakfast, they were as soft as ever.

The chutney was sweet and sour, and was a happy end to what was a delightful meal.

Mr Biswas told me that their menu depends on what’s freshly available. If there is good hilsa or pabda at CR Park, he buys them, and then they are cooked for the day. The menu includes some of the old specialities that are not easily available in Bengali eateries — such as a dish called muri-ghonto, fish head cooked with rice. Some old favourites are also there — such as Kolkata biryani, mutton dak bungalow with eggs and kosha mangsho.

The rates are fair. Chicken rezala is for ₹240, rui jhol for ₹300, dhokar dalna for ₹190 and mango chutney for ₹70.

They have chops, fish fillet fried and pea-filled kachoris, too. There is a whole pomfret on the menu, along with various kinds of fish including mustard pabda.

I am happy to have found Prinsep 21 — the house of Mr Biswas.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 10:27:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/from-the-house-of-mr-biswas/article23863235.ece

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