Back to India for a lesson in Bengali banana cuisine!

The "trunk" of the banana plant is used as the main vegetable in the cuisine of West Bengal, India.

A 2-day freelance filming gig in Kolkata last weekend allowed for an awesome (and unexpected) MONDO BANANA shoot! Kolkata, a.k.a. Calcutta and the “City of Joy”, is situated in West Bengal – a region rich in bananas. Traditional Bengali cuisine often incorporates every part of the banana plant, except for the root, as the primary vegetable in its cooking.

When hearing that I was bound for the “City of Joy”, Chef Manjit Gill, the Executive Chef for the ITC Hotel chain, who was interviewed for MONDO BANANA in January, arranged a very special cooking demonstration from the culinary team at the ITC Sonar Hotel in Kolkata. Starting with an early morning trip to the local market, guided by two top Indian chefs, we picked up all the necessary ingredients to make some scrumptious banana dishes. Then it was back to the hotel’s kitchen to film the preparation of Thodder Chenchki (banana trunk with mustard paste and grated coconut) and Mocahr Ghonto (dry mix vegetables with dal Dori & banana flowers).

In a Kolkata kitchen, experts in Bengali cuisine demonstrate the preparation of Thodder Chenchki.

Of course the very best part was trying these absolutely incredible dishes after the shoot!!

Click on the “Video” link above to watch a teaser clip about buying and preparing banana stalks for cooking.

Many many thanks to the culinary team at the ITC Sonar Hotel (particularly Chef Mayank Kulshreshtha and Chef Sunayan Pramanik) for a wonderful and delectable shoot in Kolkata!

Finding out more about Southeast Asia’s spooky banana spirits is next on the MONDO BANANA agenda…

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