Growing up in a Bengali household, I never quite understood why my non-Bengali friends rejoiced the taste of Bengali food. I could eat it everyday, anytime I wished. Therefore, I never really appreciated the sharp flavour of mustard, the faint aroma of coriander, the melt-in-your-mouth texture of potato and a zillion other things that make Bengali cuisine what it is. It wasn’t until I moved out of Kolkata that I realized how intrinsic this flavour palette had become in my life. I took it for granted, like there was no other way to eat food.

Pretty soon, I started missing the taste of home-cooked Bengali food. In the absence of many options, I decided to experiment in my kitchen to recreate the taste that felt like home. In my quest to cook traditional Bengali cuisine, I have come across a few ingredients that hold a very special place.

Here is a list of a few spices that will help you cook Bengali food like a pro: