CALCUTTA TIMES PASSION TRAIL: FOOD WITH MIR AFSAR ALI

Do you know what is that thing that brings a smile on every Bengali food lover's face? Try saying KOCHURIIIIIII, and see that is how it makes you smile! For any hardcore Bengali foodie, the most favorite breakfast item will always be Kochuri with Alur torkari or Cholar Dal. So, when I first came to know about this passion trail of having Kochuris with Mir, I became super excited and registered for this trail. And soon, after a few days I got a call from TOI that I got selected for the food trail. My excitement knew no limits and I consider myself lucky for being among the 10 people selected from hundreds.

It was quite amazing to see, how 10 people, who were completely unknown to each other became friends so naturally. It's truly said that food unites all, and I was lucky to meet everyone who were a part of this brilliant tale. So, for the trail, we were to cover 5 shops to and taste the kochuris of those shops. Along with the 10 selected people, we were accompanied by Mir and a few other guests and at around 4.15 in the evening we commenced our journey.

Mohan Bhandar

Mohan Bhandar, Kolkata

Remember this shop from the recent movie Piku? Yeah, this is the place from where Amitabh Bacchan bought his kachoris from in the movie. So, the first destination of our trail was Mohan Bhandar. Everyone was excited and we hurried up the stairs and seated ourselves. And within sometime, lying before us were a plate of Kochuris, with Alur torkari, chutney and the Lonkar Achar. 
Kochuri in Mohan Bhandar


I have had kochuris here quite a few times, and to be honest, I was rather disappointed with what they served us. The chutney and the Lonkar Achar which used to be there specialty has deteriorated in the taste. Even the Alur torkari was not that appealing to the taste buds. Not just me, in fact most of the members of the trail were not satisfied with this start. But it did not matter much, as we were having a lot of fun, and we also had four other places to go! 

Jayashree

Jayashree, Kolkata
We reached our second destination, Jayashree which is located on the Nirmal Chandra Dey Street.  I have walked down this street quite a few times, and I always wished to try out the food items here, and finally I got the chance. While we were waiting to have our share of Kochuris, we spent our time in clicking pictures and selfies with each other!
With Mir Afsar Ali
 And obviously I could not have missed getting a picture of myself with Mir.
Kochuri in Jayashree
We were served the Kochuris within sometime, and this one truly won my heart. The best part of having Kochuris in Jayashree is the way how they serve them in the dried Sal leaves. It adds the touch of authenticity in the food. Morover, the Alur torkari of this shop was amazing, a bit sweeter than others, but this really stole the show for me. The Kochuris were also really crisp, and I wish to have two more of them, but I resisted myself as we had three other shops to visit. 

Putiram

Putiram, College Square
What more can I say of Putiram, as this has always been a personal favorite. Whenever I visit College Street, this is a must visit for me since my childhood days. Be it the Kochuri, or the Radhaballabi of Putiram and of course, the sweets, I love all of them. I was pretty excited to hear that we had Putiram included in our trail.
Kochuri and Cholar Dal in Putiram

We were served Kochuri and Cholar Dal, and a single bite of it made me say "Yumm"! As I said, that I have always loved this place and so I will be kind of biased towards this one. But yes, one thing that everyone noticed is that the consistency of the Dal is becoming thinner day by day, yet the taste remains excellent as always. 

Nandalal Ghosh and Sons

Nandalal Ghosh and Sons, Maniktala
From College Square, we headed towards Maniktala to reach our penultimate destination and that was Nandalal Ghosh and Sons. As we entered, there was already a huge crowd gathered in front of the shop just to have a glance of Mir.
Kochuri in Nandalal Ghosh and Sons
We were served the Kochuris and the smell was mesmerizing. We could feel the aroma of hing used in it. It was served with Cholar Dal as well as the Alur Torkari and I preferred the latter. The chutney served with the Kochuri was also delicious and I went on having more and more of it. Want can be better than having a "Mishti" after having so many kochuris? Yes, they served us a huge Komolabhog, which was indeed delicious. The show ended with a 'Bhar' of chilled Mishti Doi, taking the overall experience of this place to another level.

Geetika

Geetika, Maniktala
Okay, so it was time to visit our last destination for the trail, which was Geetika situated just opposite to Nandalal Ghosh and Sons. By this time, we were all full and had no empty space to accommodate two more Kochuris, so we decided to share from a single plate.  
Kochuri in Geetika, Maniktala
Mir having Kochuris in Geetika
As we were discussing among ourselves, the Alur torkari had an Marwari touch added to it, which I personally liked a lot and the Kochuris were more inclined towards tasting like Luchis. Having kochuris here was a fabulous experience and I am surely going to return here soon (with a completely empty stomach)!

Thus, the first food trail of Calcutta Times Passions Club was really a success, I must say. We enjoyed a lot and we are hoping to be a part of these trails in the future. I would like to thank Calcutta Times for taking such a brilliant step and uniting a few food lovers of Kolkata.

And in the end, presenting the crazy group picture of all the members!
CALCUTTA TIMES PASSION TRAIL: FOOD WITH MIR AFSAR ALI
PC: POORNA DI


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