21 September, 2020

Kling Canoes At Tamralipta

Savoury chakulis; subtle, moreish rasogollas. And Orissa blends into Bengal.

Sandipan Chatterjee
Kling Canoes At Tamralipta

India often comes to me as large clots of culture-cuisine-literature held together by a gauzy cling film that is four parts Bollywood-cricket and one part magic. This view was bolstered on a recent December morning as I ate chakuli-ghugni at a busy breakfast stall near Bhubaneswar’s ancient Lingaraja temple. I had just taken a 45-minute flight from Calcutta and couldn’t shake the feeling that I had arrived at a different country. Chakuli, a crepe made of rice and urad dal, is a perfect foil for the spunk of the yellow-pea curry that is ghugni. It is therefore a favourite savoury street breakfast all over Orissa, all year long. Pop into neighbouring Bengal and you’ll find chakli, made of rice and moong dal, but only in traditional kitchens and never savoury. Much of the year you won’t find it at all, because Bengal’s chakli is entirely a wintry indulgence. It is eaten sweet, drizzled with nolen gur—date palm sap cooked down to an aromatic sludge whose bouquet blooms as winter deepens.

And it...



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