One of the most culturally and ethnically diverse states of India, West Bengal
has a distinct style of food preparation. The Bengali Cuisine forms a major part of Bengali culture. It is a blend of sweet and spicy flavors. The staple diet of the Bengalis is rice and fish. They have a magnificent array of sweets made from burnt milk and curd. The specialty is the use of panchphoron (five basic spices) which include zeera, kalaunji, saunf, fenugreek and mustard seeds.
Blessed with the abundance of rivers, ponds and lakes, West Bengal is famous for a spectrum of fish based items and a meal without fish is considered incomplete. The Smoked Hilsa, one of the fish based dishes, is quintessential for Bengalis. Besides fish cookery, Bengalis also excel in the cooking of vegetables. Another specialty is the use of spices for both fish and vegetable dishes.
The delicious Bengali sweets like gulab jamun, rasogolla, chumchum, sandesh, are reputed to be the finest in the country. Their sweets are generally made of cottage cheese, reduced solidified milk, or flours of different cereals and pulses. Bengali- style fuchka, Jhaal Moori, Calcutta egg-roll, traditional paater saag dish, mishti doi, chhanar jilebi, kalo jam, darbesh, raghobshai, payesh, nalengurer sandesh, shor bhaja and an innumerable variety of peethe are Bengal's greatest contribution to the food heritage of India.