Ah, Luchi – the beautiful golden-creamy pieces of Bangaliyana and love! Every Bangali’s fantasy involves luchi – gol phulko luchi, norom gorom luchi. Such round, fluffy, soft, hot Bengali luchi can soothe a disturbed soul and calm an angry belly. It can make your day, though it can cause slight distress at night – nothing that a little Gelusil won’t fix. In some Bangali households, it forms the foundation of the Sunday breakfast ritual. On the other hand, it’s a mandatory item on the Knashar Thala that comes out to mark all special occasions. Luchi is a versatile carb source that goes with many different sides. In fact, luchi has the capability to add a new dimension to everything from the simple potatoes to the celebrated Nolen Gur.
Hoyejak Food Talk: Bengali Luchi – Thou Name is Bhalobasha
Every Bangali has grown up with luchi. Luchi features in every Bangali nostalgia. For every occasion – and for no reason – it comes with a different side. Here’s how Bengali luchi assumes a different form when complemented by a variety of accompaniments.
1. Luchi ar Sada Aloor Chorchori
Every Bangali knows what it’s like to start Sundays with brunch of phulko luchi with Sada Aloor Chorchori; it’s a gentle, moreish potato curry, with the subtle flavours of nigella and green chilli. For a Bangali, Sada Aloo Chorchori is a memory that they cherish, and want to relive every Sunday.
2. Luchi ar Kosha Mangsho
Whoever came up with this combination must be in heaven, because every Bangali has prayed for that person after putting a morsel of Luchi with a piece of spicy, slow-cooked mutton chunk, and a bit of the rich curry. From Durga Pujo to Jamai Sosthee, this combination is itself a celebration.
3. Luchi ar Cholar Daal
Luchi with Cholar Daal is as indispensable in a Bangali’s life as Durga Pujo. We bet you can hear the Dhaak in the distance and taste the hing and the narkel of the thick Bengal gram lentil in the mouth. This delicate combo also rekindles the spirit of Lokkhi Pujo which follows shortly after.
4. Luchi ar Begun Bhaja
Yet another Pujo-special combination, luchi works wonders when married to the otherwise humble brinjal fries. Luchi with begun bhaja is a taste of Saptami, of evening snacks. It celebrates simplicity. Often, to make things more royal, more sumptuous, cholar daal and begun bhaja come together!
5. Luchi ar Aloor Dom
Aloor Dom in the tiffin box has saved many a boring school days. It’s rightly spiced to be light and yet delicious; it’s different from the Kashmiri Dum Aloo. Non-Bengalis think of Bangali Aloor Dum when they remember Bengali luchi; they probably associate it with dum aloo and poori.
6. Luchi ar Aloo Phulkopi Bhaja
From lunchbox to evening snacks, Bangalis never let go of a single opportunity to put something delectable in their mouth. The rustic side of lightly fried potatoes and cauliflowers with luchi is often the only thing worth looking forward to on a hard day, especially a lyadh-inducing winter noon.
7. Luchi ar Ghugni
Ghughni itself is a versatile beauty. Bangalis have it as snacks on the roadside, served outside college gates and shopping streets in Sal leaf bowls. But, things get lavish when ghugni becomes a side for luchi. It’s mandatory in steel lunch carriers at picnics. And, it’s often a mutton ghugni prep.
8. Luchi ar Kumror Chakka
This homely and uncomplicated combo works like a charm in leaving a Bangali satisfied and happy after an afternoon or evening snack, luchi and this dry pumpkin dish. The soft and sweet pieces kumro, wrapped in the yum stretchiness of the luchi, occasionally biting into grams – heavenly!
9. Luchi ar Nolen Gur
Who said luchi only pairs with savoury sides? Surely not a Bangali. Because, every Bangali foodie knows the allure of luchi dipped in runny date palm jaggery, freshly collected in winters. Yes, luchi with nolen gur is a must-have in the cold months, not just for a sweet-tooth but everyone else.
10. Luchi ar Mohan Bhog
Mohan bhog is a slightly fancier name of the simple Sujir Haluwa, cooled with semolina, milk, and sugar. While luchi and mohan bhog is a popular breakfast combination, this pair is all about Durga Pujo mornings; luchi with mohan bhog are distributed in little sal patar bati in front of pandals.
SPECIAL MENTION – Luchir Payesh
We all know of the brilliance of payesh, the Bengali pudding recipe that’s mandatory to in all auspicious occasions. Usually, it is prepared with either rice or sevai. But, Luchir Payesh is that brilliant dish in which the luchi itself is turned into a dessert soaked in the goodness of thick kheer.
Of course, the options are unlimited. From payesh to dimer dalna, from pnathar jhol to just sugar, people have their opinions about luchi’s perfect match. Well, suffice it to say that the Bengali luchi is a culinary multi-tasker. It can turn the simplest dishes into something so scrumptious that you’ll have to ask for more. While the rest of India often confuses it with poori or batura, the Bengali luchi has its own identity – and charm. It brings back memories of Durga Pujo, Poila Baishakh, Sunday brunches, winter picnics, birthdays, Dida and Maa-er haater ranna… Often, in a far off land, the only reassuring connection a Bong feels to his Bangali roots is this beautiful luchi, For a Bangali, who’s almost always a foodie, the Bengali luchi, with its many forms and friends, is a symbol of Bangaliyana in the blood, and bhalobasha in the tummy.