Ashtami Bhog – A Platter That Unites

Ashtami Bhog – A Platter That Unites

For the Bengali souls across the world, Durga Ashtami is incomplete without the quintessential Bhog.
Quite different from the Navratri recipes, the Ashtami Bhog is a celebration of Bengal’s autumn harvest bounty.

The dewdrops on the Shiuli blossoms herald the arrival of Durga. With an overcast sky, Ashtami morning awakens to the profound sound of Chandipath. At the Mandap, the flirtatious murmur of fresh sarees slyly intercepts the fervent chanting of the priest; while behind the scenes, Radhuni Thakur and his team gear up to prepare that heavenly Bhoger Khichuri. On the other side, fresh vegetables are washed and chopped up in the wink of an eye for a gorgeous Labda.

A slight hint of Panchforan hits the palate at the first morsel of the piping hot Khichuri, while slowly the grains of Gobinda Bhog and Sona Moong Daal melt in the mouth.

Bengali cuisine is well-known for its generous use of the most obscure powdered spices, but not a single shred of the same goes into the Labda. Each vegetable coexists in perfect harmony with the others, concocting an unforgettable melange of fragrant freshness.

And, how can one miss out on Beguni – the showstopper. Long, thin slices of eggplant, dipped in a flavourful Besan batter and deep-fried to a symphony.


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The aroma of Bhog cooking in enormous Kadhais at Puja Pandals, the crackle of batter-coated eggplant slices being dropped in the dangerously hot oil or the happy clamour at Barowari feasts… Ashtami Bhog is synonymous with a festival that unites.

2020 was perhaps the first-ever year in forever when the law strictly prohibited the ritual community feasts. But missing Bhog on Ashtami is not an option.
So within the confines of their homes, the Bongs picked up their Hata-Khunti (Spatula & Spoon) and got cooking. Within a few hours, the fragrance of Bhoger Khichuri wafted from kitchen window to kitchen window. With Dhak playing faintly in the background, the air soon became ambient with the spirit of community. And what better brings a community together than food, especially when it is the Ashtami Bhog on everyone’s lunch table.
Feature Image Credits: Namma Rannaghor
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