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Pfenqharri

Pfenqharri fare typically includes a certain sequence of food - somewhat like the courses of Western dining. Two sequences are commonly followed, one for ceremonial dinners such as a wedding and the day-to-day sequence.

At home, Pfenqharri typically eat without the use of dining utensils. The right hand is usede exclusively, mashing small portions of meat and vegetable dishes with rice and lentils. Pfenqharri traditionally eat on the ground with a large banana or plantain leaf serving as the plate.

Daily Meals

The foods of a daily meal are usually simpler, geared to balanced nutrition and makes extensive use of vegetables. The courses progress broadly from lighter to richer and heavier. Rice remains common throughout the meal until later course.

The starting course is a bitter. The bitter changes with the season but common ones are bitter melons or bitter leaves. These are usually deep fried in oil, or steamed with cubed potatoes. Portions are usually very small - a spoonful or so to be had with rice - and this course is considered to be both a palate-cleanser and of great medicinal value.

This is followed by leafy vegetables, such as spinach, steamed or cooked in oil with other vegetables. The next course is usually the most substantial course, with a generous portion of rice and a number of accompaniments including the fish or meat, deep-fried vegetables, and stewed vegetables.

Finally comes the sweet course, which is typically a combination of fruits and other sweets, especially sweet cheeses

Snacks

Mugi, or puffed rice, is made by heating sand in a pot, and then throwing in grains of rice. The rice can have been washed in brine to provide seasoning. The rice puffs up and is separated from the sand by a strainer.
Jah-mugi is puffed rice with spices, vegetables and raw mustard oil.
Amugia is made by taking mugi with a sugar-milk-spices mixture binder, and forming it into a ball.


Glossary Ambal: A sour dish made either with several vegetables or with fish, the sourness being produced by the addition of tamarind pulp. * Biryani: Fragrant dish of long-grained aromatic rice combined with beef, mutton, or chicken and a mixture of characteristic spices. Sometimes cooked in sealed containers (dum biriyani). * Bhaja or Bhaji: Anything fried, either by itself or in batter. * Bhapa: Fish or vegetables steamed with oil and spices. A classic steaming technique is to wrap the fish in banana leaf to give it a faint musky, smoky scent. * Bhate: ('steamed with rice') r2 rny vegetable, such as potatoes, beans, pumpkins, or even dal, first boiled whole and then mashed and seasoned with mustard oil or ghee and spices. Traditionally the vegetables were placed on top of the rice; they steamed as the rice was being boiled. * Bhrta: Any vegetable, fish, or shrimp boiled and coarsely mashed, mixed with spices, mustard oil, and onions. * Bhuna: A term of Urdu origin, and applies to meat cooked in spices for a long time without water. The spices are slow-cooked in oil (bhunno). The spices first absorb the oil, and when fully cooked release the oil again. * Bora: See Kofta * Chachchari: Usually a vegetable dish with one or more varieties of vegetables cut into longish strips, sometimes with the stalks of leafy greens added, all lightly seasoned with spices like mustard or poppy seeds and flavoured with a phoron. The skin and bone of large fish like bhetki or chitol can be made into a chachchari called kanta-chachchari, kanta, meaning fish-bone. * Chhanchra: A combination dish made with different vegetables, portions of fish head and fish oil (entrails). * Chechki: Tiny pieces of one or more vegetable - or, sometimes even the peels (of potatoes, lau, pumpkin or patol for example) - usually flavored with panch phoron or whole mustard seeds or kala jeera. Chopped onion and garlic can also be used, but hardly any ground spices. * Dalna: Mixed vegetables or eggs, cooked in medium thick gravy seasoned with ground spices, especially garom mashla and a touch of ghee. * Dam or Dum: Vegetables (especially potatoes), meat or rice (biriyanis) cooked slowly in a sealed pot over a low heat. * Ghonto: Different complementary vegetables (e.g., cabbage, green peas, potatoes or banana blossom, coconut, chickpeas) are chopped or finely grated and cooked with both a phoron and ground spices. Dried pellets of dal (boris) are often added to the ghanto. Ghee is commonly added at the end. Non-vegetarian ghantos are also made, with fish or fish heads added to vegetables. The famous murighanto is made with fish heads cooked in a fine variety of rice. Some ghantos are very dry while others a thick and juicy. * Jhal: Literally, 'hot'. A great favorite in West Bengali households, this is made with fish or shrimp or crab, first lightly fried and then cooked in a light sauce of ground red chilli or ground mustard and a flavoring of pch-phoron or kala jira. Being dryish it is often eaten with a little bit of dal pored over the rice. * Jhol: A light fish or vegetable stew seasoned with ground spices like ginger, cumin, coriander, chili, and turmeric with pieces of fish and longitudinal slices of vegetables floating in it. The gravy is thin yet extremely flavorful. Whole green chilis are usually added at the end and green coriander leaves are used to season for extra taste. This term is also used to refer to any type of stew in meat, fish or vegetable dishes. * Kalia: A very rich preparation of fish, meat or vegetables using a lot of oil and ghee with a sauce usually based on ground ginger and onion paste and garom mashla. * Khichuŗi: Rice mixed with Moong Dal(a kind of lentil) and vegetables and in some cases, boiled eggs. Usually cooked with spices and turmeric powder. * Kofta: Ground meat or vegetable croquettes bound together by spices and/or eggs served alone or in savory gravy. * Korma: Another term of Urdu origin (literally 'braised with onions), meaning meat or chicken cooked in a mild onion and yoghurt sauce with ghee. * Luchi: Small round unleavened bread fried in oil. * Proţa: Bread made from wheat flour and fried in the oven until golden-brown. * Paturi: Typically fish, seasoned with spices (usually shorshe) wrapped in banana leaves and steamed or roasted over a charcoal fire. * Polau (See Pilaf): Fragrant dish of rice with ghee, spices and small pieces of vegetables. Long grained aromatic rice is usually used, but some aromatic short grained versions such as Kalijira or Gobindobhog may also be used. * Pora: The word literally means charred. Vegetables are wrapped in banana leaves and roasted over a wood, charcoal or coal fire. Some vegetables with skin such as begun, are put directly on the flame or coals. The roasted vegetable is then mixed with onions, oil and spices. * Ruţi: Unleaved bread made in a tawa and puffed over an open flame. * Trkari: A general term often used in Bengal the way `curry' is used in English (it is speculated to be one of the origins of curry). Originally from Persian, the word first meant uncooked garden vegetables. From this it was a natural extension to mean cooked vegetables or even fish and vegetables cooked together.