Rice is the main item of East Indian cuisine, just as it is in South India. A regular meal consists of many side dishes made of vegetables. Deep-fried, shallow-fried and mashed vegetables are also very popular.
Traditional Bengali cuisine is not too spicy and not too faint. Poppy seeds are one of the main ingredients of West Bengal cuisine. General ingredients used in Bengali curries are mustard seeds, cumin seeds, black cumin, green chillies and cumin paste. Mustard paste, curd, nuts, poppy seed paste and cashew paste are preferably cooked in mustard oil. Curries are classified into bata (paste), bhaja (fries), chochchoree (less spicy vaporized curries) and jhol (thin spicy curries). These are eaten with plain boiled rice. The most popular vegetable dish of West Bengal is ‘Shukto’.
The popular vegetable dishes of Odisha are ‘Dalma’ and ‘Santula’. ‘Pakhala’, a dish made of rice, water and yoghurt, that is fermented overnight, is very popular in summer, particularly in the rural areas. Some of the major dishes of Odisha are Buta Dali, Mitha Bhata, Kaanika, Mooga Dali, Alu Potala Rasa, patalghanta chutney, Beshara, etc. Common desserts of Odisha are Arisha Pitha, Chakuli Pitha, Chandrakanti, Chhena Gaja, Chhena Jalebi and many more.
Bihar and Jharkhand cuisines contribute to the East Indian cuisine with their colourful platter of seasonal vegetables. In addition to that the region is influenced by Buddhism and consequently a wide assortment of vegetarian dishes originate. A regular meal of the eastern region consists of rice dish accompanied with various side dishes. In Jharkhand people also consume green leafy vegetables that form a part of staple diet.
Dairy products are also consumed. This includes Dahi which is paired with roti in Bihar. Lassi is also consumed by them. Sattu Paratha, Chokha-Litti and Bihari Kebab, Postaa-dana kaa halwaa are other popular delicacies of Bihar.
Desserts of East Indian Cuisine
East Indian cuisine also includes various desserts such as Rasagolla, Chumchum, Sandesh, Rasabali, Chhena Poda, Chhena Gaja and Kheer are the favourites. In West Bengal, Mishti Doi is popular. Many of the sweet dishes now popular in Northern India initially originated in the Bengal and Odisha regions.