Kolkata Home Chef Offers Culinary Treats From Assam And Bengal

Nohoru in Kolkata serves a happy amalgamation of Bengali and Northeastern food. We caught up with Baishali Chakravarti, who traces her culinary influences and generously shares a family recipe with us
Baishali Chakravarti says she derives inspiration from her roots in a mixed culture family
Baishali Chakravarti says she derives inspiration from her roots in a mixed culture family @NohoruByBaishali/Instagram

The pandemic saw different kinds of home-based businesses launch, especially in food. Kolkata-based Baishali Chakravarti started her cloud kitchen Nohoru in 2020 because she wanted to let everyone experience the food she grew up eating. Nohoru means "garlic" in Assamese. She does pre-orders only and gets about 15 to 20 of them a week. She also does pop-ups and is always looking for entrepreneurs to collaborate with.

East By Northeast

"The food prepared by my mother, which I grew up eating, inspires me. We are a happy amalgamation of Bengali and North-Eastern since my father is Bengali and my mother is Assamese. So khorisa and maccher muitha both found their place on the table. I remember my mother cooking gahori bhaja, joha rice, and aloo pitika," said Chakravarti in a chat with Outlook Traveller.

The most popular items on her menu are the dishes from the Northeast like Gahori Kola Til, Gahori Bhaja, Whole Chicken Roast and the Winter Chicken Curry. And, of course, the crabs they bring fresh from the Andamans are hot ticket items.

"Coming from a mixed-culture family, I have special memories of food. My grandfather’s home in Asansol had a huge dinner table, and there was food from end to end when it was set," said Chakravarti. "It was a daily feast with numerous varieties of fish. The mutton curry for dinner used to be slow-cooked. My kakima (aunt) would bring us some to taste, and everyone would want a piece. The mutton would finish, and we would have to put eggs in the gravy for dinner instead. That’s the classic Bengali jugaad."

Some dishes you can order from her repertoire are Pork Kola Til, made with homemade black sesame paste, garlic, and chilli. A very earthy rustic plate, to be polished off with joha rice; Gahori with Lai Xaag, a completely oil-free dish made with lai xaag and bamboo shoot, best accompanied with aloo pitika and roasted tomato, and bhut jolokia (ghost chilli) chutney.

"My mother would cook bamboo shoots, lai xaag with pork, and that smell, which usually would put many people off, became one of my favourites. She would smoke fish in our tiny kitchen. I have seen her make incredible dishes, which you would not find even in the best hotels. We’ve always been a foodie family, and food was the core of every celebration."

One of the stars on her menu is the Goalando Steamer Curry. "I heard about this dish from a story my father told me about boatmen from the Goalando Ghat preparing this light but flavourful chicken curry with minimal spices and dried fish while the steamer boat travelled from Goalando to Narayanganj, both now in Bangladesh."

Another popular dish is Kankrar Jhaal, a hot, spicy crab curry made from the crabs flown in fresh from the Andamans, finished with a generous dash of ghee. Nohoru does other regional Indian dishes as well.

Nohoru's pork dishes are full of smoky, earthy flavours.
Nohoru's pork dishes are full of smoky, earthy flavours.@NohoruByBaishali/Instagram

For Christmas and new year, Baishali sometimes lays out a grand feast of regional Indian cuisine, with dishes like Pork Vindaloo, Coorgi Pork, Pepper Pot Chicken, Winter Chicken Curry with Vegetables, Garlic Butter Crabs, and a whole Steamed Fish made with ginger and tomatoes. For the Bengali new year poila boisakh, she has some lovely Ilish Bhaapa, Chingri Malai Curry, Bhetki Patori, and Gahori Kola Til Roasted and steamed pork. The kola til (black sesame) adds a distinct earthy nutty and rustic flavour to the dishes.

"My family has definitely been my most significant influence. With Nohoru, I bring to light those dishes lost to time. My grandmother used to tell us stories of the different kinds of foods she used to make in Dhaka, about the steamer boats that invented the Goalando Steamer Curry. I do my best to honour my heritage because it has made me who I am today."


• 500g cubed pork belly
• 2 large onions, sliced
• 1 whole head of garlic
• 3 inches ginger
• 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric powder
• 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
• 1 tsp coriander powder

• Salt as per taste
• 1 tsp black pepper

Parboil the pork and keep it aside. In a large kadhai, put very little oil, all the masalas mentioned above, and the sliced onions. Cook well until the oil floats to the top. Add the pork and let cook with the masalas until it is tender. Roast and grind the black sesame, toss with the pork and serve warm with white sesame seeds as a garnish.

The Information

Nohoru By Baishali

Contact: 070443 90082. Email: nohoru.in@gmail.com

Address: 1/79A, Narikel Bagan, Jadavpur, Kolkata, West Bengal 700032

Orders taken on Facebook and Instagram

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