Today is Jamai Sasthi, and food forms one of the most important aspects of the occasion. It is celebrated with gusto by Bengalis.
To celebrate the occasion, the in-laws invite their daughters and sons-in-law (jamai). The son-in-law is welcomed by his in-laws in a traditional way with a phonta of curd on his forehead and a yellow thread tied on to his right wrist. The thread is coloured yellow with turmeric and is called ‘Shashti Suto’, which has the blessing of Ma Sashti who takes care of children. The son-in-law is presented gifts, sweets and fruits and he too gives gifts to his mother-in-law. Then the mother-in-law performs a ritual in which a plate having six fruits is touched to the jamai’s forehead.
The day is observed as Aranya Sasthi in some regions.
The food-lovers that Bengalis are, especially, no festivity or occasion is complete without food. The same holds true for Jamai Sasthi. After the rituals, the son-in-law is served delicious food. The favourite delicacies of one’s son-in-law are prepared. Traditionally, the mother-in-law fans her son-in-law with a palm leaf while he gorges on the delicacies. Other guests are then served. Exotic Bengali dishes are often cooked on this day.
This festival serves the purpose of bringing the son-in-law closer to his wife’s family. It is a family festival which brings together all family members.
For a typical Bengali, fish has to be an integral part of any feast. Below are some of the fish delicacies that are often served during Jamai Sasthi.
Some of the fish dishes cooked during Jamai Sasthi
DOI MACHH: It is yogurt-based rohu/katla fish curry. In this curry, fried fishes are marinated in seasoned beaten yogurt and then cooked on low heat.
FISH BIRYANI: Compared to other types of biryanis, Bengali-style fish biryani contains much less spices but tastes extremely delicious. This delectable rice recipe is generally prepared using the rohu fish; however, the fish may vary. The use of potatoes adds an entirely different flavour to this delightful dish.
DAAB CHINGRI: This is a very typical Bengali dish. Chingri (that is, prawns – jumbo prawns, in this case) wrapped in spices is cooked inside a coconut shell (daab means tender coconut). The spices add an aromatic flavour to the prawns.
FISH KABIRAJI CUTLETbAlmost all Bengali fish recipes are delicious. Usually, fish kabiraji cutlet is prepared with fish fillets, which are wrapped with flour mix and then with eggs (beaten), and then fried.
FISH DO PYAZA: It is a simple recipe which is not very spicy and can be prepared without much fuss. As the name suggests, 'do pyaza' means ‘two onions’ which actually signifies that the recipe requires almost double the quantity of onions compared to any regular fish curry! This makes the fish curry even more irresistible.
MURI GHONTO: The basic ingredients of this fish recipe are the head of a fish and rice. Like most Bengali recipes, muri ghonto too involves plenty of deep frying.
(indiamarks.com, applespicytakeaway.com, indiafoodandtravelguide.com)
BHAPA ILISH: It is steamed hilsa fish that has been cooked with mustard sauce. Bhapa ilish is a very sumptuous dish that is both delicious and healthy.
PATURI: It is a special dish that is made with fish. The fish is steamed and wrapped in a banana leaf. The best aroma of paturi comes from the mustard sauce that is used to prepare this recipe. When the fish is unwrapped from the banana leaf, the strong aroma of mustard makes it oh-so-irressitible!
MACHCHER JHAAL: This spicy or ‘jhaal’ version of fish curry recipe is usually reserved for smaller fish such as telapia, pabda, tangra, etc.
SHORSHE ILISH: This is hilsa cooled cooked in mustard gravy.
CRAB MASALA: It is a special way of cooking crabs, in the Bengali style. Like most Bengali recipes, this is also cooked with mustard. The flavour of mustard oil adds a special touch to crab masala. This crab recipe makes use of most of the curry spices like garam masala, cumin, etc.
(ashcooking.blogspot.com, chakkhamittha.blogspot.com, anishas-food-recipes.blogspot.com)
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