Sin-A-Mon Tales

A chronicle of my kitchen experiments, a little healthy a little indulgent

BongMom Cookbook Review and a giveaway


I have been an ardent follower of Sandeepa’s blog – BongMom Cookbook, so I was excited when the book was getting launched but also very apprehensive because the last few cookbooks to come out of India have kind of disappointed me. Also I hate cookbooks but I love food books, yes really I mean who wants to read a book which has recipe after recipe on each page. I might as well go to google and search the recipe I want. Why would I want to give a book a space in my house for that, not that this means I don’t own cookbooks, I do and many of them but the number of cookbooks I have bought overtime has been steadily decreasing and I hardly see myself referring to the ones I have at home, food books they are a different matter altogether. I love reading them and get lost in the stories behind food, the science behind, just last week I ordered food books worth 5K from flipkart sale, but I digress as usual.  Anyways, I love her blog so much that I had kept my apprehensions aside and started reading it as soon as it arrived at my doorstep, the excitement that it’s a book for a fellow blogger and someone you know was just adding to the excitement.


Begun Bhaja

Begun Bhaja


And the blog is all that her blog is and more, warm, friendly and non pretentious. The book flows in a way her cooking life and skills have and in a way could be called her “cooking-biography” (yes I know I made that up, but let’s admit it, it does sound cool). The book starts with fond memories of her childhood, to which she keeps coming back through the book and she does it so effortlessly, some of the best writers fail in taking the user back and forth in time but Sandeepa manages it and with finesse. So one moment you could be reading about her aloo posto with mushrooms in New York and next moment and about the elaborate bengali lunch her mom used to make every day in Calcutta and yet feel at home in both the places.

Kosha Mangsho made from a recipe from her book, every spoonful was licked clean in our house

Kosha Mangsho made from a recipe from her book, every spoonful was licked clean in our house

The narrative style and language of the book will remind you of her blog if you are a regular reader, I found comfort in that and for a new reader it shouldn’t matter anyways. There are moments that will make you chuckle and I am sure Bengalis will relate to it even more. For the book was a great insight in a bengali household, their lunches and their dinners and their breakfasts and the life around them. Essentially her book is stories, stories about two bengali household one based in New York and another based in Calcutta and tied through Sandeepa herself and in between these stories there are recipes that work like magic. I have already tried some of them as you can see

Everyday masoor dal, the panch phoran in this gave such beautiful flavour to it

Everyday masoor dal, the panch phoran in this gave such beautiful flavour to it

All in all, I recommended this book to everyone, the best Indian food book I have read in a long long time. And guess what I have surprise for you all. I am giving away a copy of this book to my readers and you could be the one winning this copy. Just reply to the following question in comments and you could be a part of the random draw and win a copy

What is your favorite bengali dish? Or what is the bengali dish that fascinates you most?

I will tell you what fascinates me most, its the shukto. For some strange reason since I have read this book (and even before) I have a strong desire to master the shukto, yes radhuni has been ordered and shukto will be tried soon. Till then you tell what do you like or are fascinated by the most.

Come on get commenting folks and don’t forget to like my page and her page on FB

33 comments on “BongMom Cookbook Review and a giveaway

  1. KAMiNi
    June 28, 2013

    My top favourite has to be Begun Bhaja, for a number of reasons. First being I LOVE begun in all forms. Second – crispy edged mushy centered begun – what’s not to love. And lastly – because it is associated with one of the cutest stories from my son’s childhood.

    One day I made begun bhaja and told him it was a Bengali dish. That evening, when hubby comes home and asks – what’s for dinner?, my son proudly tells him – Amma has cooked the most yummy dish in a different language. (His only exposure to geography had been the neighbours spoke Bengali :D).

    Now that I’ve told you the cutest story ever and made you laugh – send the book over. Pronto. 😀 Just like you – I love food books. 😀

  2. Toral Tank
    June 28, 2013

    Scrumptious! A must have to kick off my North East India-Bong cuisine journey!

  3. Toral Tank
    June 28, 2013

    Never had much Bengali dishes but love the mustard fish curry!! Cant go wrong with that one!

  4. My Era
    June 28, 2013

    I am a regular reader of Sandeepa’s blog and a great fan of her recipes 🙂

    Besides the Mishti Doi that’s my all time favorite I love the dish ‘Ilish Macher Paturi’ made with Hilsa fish. Had the opportunity to eat this very tasty dish made by a very good friend who is a Bengali.

    I’d love to win a copy of the BongMom Cookbook for sure 🙂
    P.S.- Have liked both the FB pages

  5. Pratibha
    June 28, 2013

    Love bhapa ilish….drooling just thinking about it…

  6. Mithali Samson
    June 28, 2013

    I like Jhal-Muŗi as my favourite snack of bengal, can have it anytime, would start reading Sandeepa’s blog and will also try out some recipes for sure.

    I wish i can be the lucky one to win the BongMom Cookbook.

  7. Amrita tripathy
    June 28, 2013

    Monika.. what a worth give away it will be..!

    Of course i am a follower of Sin-a-mon tales and BongMom Cookbook…on facebook since long time 🙂

    I almost love everything that’s bengali cusine. Reason is oriya-bengali cooking is almost similar (except for southern odisha, influence of AP’s spices). My list will be endless but if asked the best 10 bengali items to pick from a lot as my favorite and i would definitely die to eat those are~
    misthi doi,
    pyasam esp in date palm jaggery,
    aamer chutney (writing here itself is giving me a watery mouth)
    manghso kasha and luchi,
    luchi and begun bhaja (the swallow fired one- that goes great with ghee rice too), kichodi (again with begun bhaja or omelet),
    ilish macher paturi and bhaja (both)
    aloo posto and aloo barta (goes amazingly with plain ghee rice and masor/toor dal)
    chanaar dalna and
    laur badi curry (this is like you make a paste of bottle gourd and chana dal, fry as dumpling and cook in gravy- usually great for vegans and those days when mom’s dont eat non-veg) 🙂

    P.S.: I equally enjoy the veg items and cook them ritually at home as my kannadiga husband likes them too.. 🙂 my life is saved.. !
    oops.. became 11.. but cant help..
    Coming to the point.. i wish I get the give away.. since i have been planning to buy this book..This will help me to cook better and impress my b(i)etter half 😉

    It will be a great pleasure to win this as a give-away..

  8. Kusum Rohra
    June 28, 2013

    I love bong food! I started salivating looking at the pictures! I’ve been planning to get her book ever since I heard of it, so if I win it, it’ll be great!

  9. jairiar1
    June 28, 2013

    I am inspired to read the blog and the book after reading this great review about the food book. Kosha Mangsho, the name sounds wondorous to us Northern folks, not indoctrined in the ways of the east

  10. stuti
    June 28, 2013

    Love your blog and I’m not maroing maska for the book 😉 love Bengali cuisine as well and my absolute favorite is shorso mach. I’m not a fish person but this dish changed me. Have been unable to replicate the flavor though.

  11. Siddharth
    June 28, 2013

    For me, the standout Bengali dish has to be Kosha Mangsho with steamed rice. It just tastes and smells like what food in a Bengali home would. Very clean flavours and no fuss dish. Illish Macher Paturi would be a close second just for the simply fabulous flavours of this fish…

  12. despicable13
    June 28, 2013

    Nothing better than Simple Steamed Rice, Dal and Begun Bhaja. Perfect lunch 🙂

  13. Reema
    June 28, 2013

    Where do I begin to count the dishes I like in Bong cuisine being a Bong myself? 🙂 why did you cut the brinjal so fine?? how were you able to handle them while frying? and so little “flesh” would do justice to the taste. Begun should be cut neither too thin nor too thick..just around 7-8 mm thick.

  14. BongMom
    June 28, 2013

    Thank you Monika so much. yes, if I need a recipe I too google it than flipping through a cookbook. Cookbooks should be for reading and am so happy that you liked the book. *** heaves a sigh of relief ***
    Your pictures are gorgeous and I want a Kosha Mangsho now but alas it is veggie Friday for me

  15. Karishma Pais
    June 28, 2013

    I love Bengali food. I guess living 2 years in a hostel in Jamshedpur with all Bengali cooks had something to do with it. And having tons of Bengali friends who have invited me over for home cooked meals over the years, has furthered the cause

    I’m most fascinated by the Bengali recipes that use a lot of what we throw away as garbage or use in composts. the fish head curry, the veggies made with skin of plantains etc. I haven’t tried them, but the concept fascinates me.

    The frequent use of “bitter” taste in Bengali food is also interesting to me.

  16. pinksocks
    June 29, 2013

    The stunning luchi-dum aalu, aalu poshto, fresh rasgullas and allll kinds of sandesh ❤

  17. R's Mom
    June 29, 2013

    Poochkas, definitley Poochkas 🙂 No one makes better Poochkas than Bengalis..the yummy aloo, kacha lunka, imli and channa filling and that water…which is spicy, tangy and yummy…and the size of the pooris are so huge that only a big big mouth like mine cna take it all in..the combination of the crispy poori, the tangy water and the yummy filling is a taste that definitely satisfies the soul 🙂

    Definitely Poochkas..darn! Now I want to go to Calcutta 🙂

    I love reading Bong Mom’s blog because there is so much to read beside simple yummy Bengali recipes 🙂

  18. Charul @ Tadka Masala
    June 29, 2013

    Sandesh it has to be or shall I say Sondesh! And the one dish that fascinates me is mishti-doi, cause that is the only way I find sweet curd edible and have no idea why and how! 🙂

    Also, I have a question for you.. I have been looking for foodbooks.. couldnt decide which one to go for.. maybe you can help me, a good vegetarian foodbook with lots of food stories and information. Thanks 🙂

  19. prathibha
    June 30, 2013

    without any doubt my favorite Bengali recipe would be Rosogulla..all time favorite and almost all bengali sweets, puchka,jhal-muri,luchi,begun bhaja,aloor dum…etc..nicely written review

  20. Pritam Roy
    June 30, 2013

    For me, the top favorites are luchi-aloor dom, aloo posto and prawn malai curry. Have used Sandeepa’s blog for recipes for occasional cooking. When are you giving the book? Else, I have to buy one. 🙂

  21. Bhagyashree
    June 30, 2013

    Chorchori yes thats my favorite 🙂

  22. Amrita
    June 30, 2013

    Lovely opportunity to get this book at my bookshelf…Being a bengali I like all kind of bengali dishes but Aloo pyang posto fasinates me the most…Just cant resist…

  23. Newly-MC7019
    June 30, 2013

    Thanks for hosting the giveaway! My fave Bong dish is chingri malaikari. Love the flavors and the fact that it’s so easy to cook!

  24. Newly-MC7019
    June 30, 2013

    Thanks for hosting the giveaway! My fave Bong dish is chingri malaikari. Love the flavors and the fact that it’s so easy to cook!

    • Newly Paul
      June 30, 2013

      sorry for the extra comment…I wasn’t sure if the first one went through. Please delete one comment.

  25. Newly Paul
    June 30, 2013

    Thanks for organizing the giveaway! My fave Bong food is chingri malaikari. Love the flavors and the fact that it’s so easy to cook.

  26. Chandra
    July 1, 2013

    Being a bengali myself , I looooove most things cooked by my mom … and right now what tops the list is her “chitol machh er muthe”. I’ve been a fan of Bong Mom’s cookbook for a long time & love the anecdotes that precede every recipe that Sandeepa gives us. I’d be immensely proud to own a copy of her 1st book. Thanks, Chandra.

  27. Noodlehead
    July 1, 2013

    without a doubt, my fav dish is malai chingri. slurp! i picked that recipe off Sandeepa’s blog, in fact. Had some just this afternoon for lunch. Bonus is Bratina loves it too 😀

  28. ADAS
    July 1, 2013

    My favorite Bengali food is kanchaa aamer ombol (green mango chutney)–you have to have had it to know how delicious it is. I am told all you have to do is to boil green mango pieces in sugar syrup, and then sprinkle some crushed roasted jeera (cumin) seeds, but I am sure there are many possible improvements to this basic recipe! I love Bong Mom’s blog, and I hope to be a motivated, skilled, and caring cook like her some day (bonus: she has a great sense of humor)!

  29. Madhu Varma
    July 3, 2013

    From a die hard Bihari’s point of view, I find it a little saddening to see a million paeans and cookbooks written on Bengali food and probably a handful on Bihari. Not surprising given that laziness is hard coded in our DNA. So whenever I miss my mother’s cooking, I look up the Bengali recipes and modify it a bit (no sugar/ no coconut) and come up with something reasonably close. And thats where Sandeep’a blog struck a chord with me. Not only does it help me recreate the dishes I miss the most, her connect with her mom’s/ mom-in-law’s cooking adds a special touch to recipes. And that brings me to Shorshe Maach or sarson waali machchli – my favourite recipe. Fresh water rohu, pungent mustard, tomatoes and spices… heaven !
    PS – a well known secret. A newly wed Bihari girl is tested for her cooking skills through her ability to make sarson machhli and perfectly round rotis. 🙂

  30. T Chakraborty
    July 3, 2013

    My favourite recipe would have to be the Norom Paak Sondesh (or Sandesh). It truly is a message from home for people like me living thousands of miles from an Indian (let alone bengali) store. The first time I made it last year after Durga Pujo, even my dad (who is always politically correct) admitted that I had finally made something my mother didnt know how!! Thanks to the Bong Mom for that. I’d love to get her book, it resonates greatly with my childhood memories too.

  31. Priya
    July 18, 2013

    Thanks for the giveaway. I love to try out Bengali fish recipes. I really cant pick one 🙂

  32. Pingback: The Unbeatable Pahadi Mutton and a new found love for cookbooks | Sin-A-Mon Tales

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This entry was posted on June 28, 2013 by in blogging, Book Review, Indian Cuisine, review and tagged , , , , , .

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