Marriage Between Fish And FIFA During This Durga Puja

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Priyanka Dutta, Kolkata: Bengalis are just unable to celebrate anything without fish.Foodie Bengalis love affair with fish curries and fish fries is not surprising given the abundant fresh water rivers that criss-cross through the state. It’s time for The Marriage, the marriage between fish and football in the run-up to the FIFA tournament.

Paralelly, Football, the world’s most popular sport, has been synonymous with Kolkata at least for a century. Kolkata is regarded as the football capital of India and the father of Indian football Nagendranath Sarbadhikary was indeed a Bengali. So the marriage is between fish and football and the season is during this Durga Puja.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has decided to celebrate the double dhamaka of Durga puja and FIFA U-17 World Cup by setting up stalls selling fish delicacies themed around the three majors of Indian football East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting.
Since Durga Puja is when Bengal celebrates together, I think getting football and food together with it makes it just right,” At least 20 stalls will be set up by the state fisheries department during the five days of the pujas.

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Football will be one of the hotly discussed topics in Kolkata during the puja days. The city will host 10 matches of the tournament including the final on October 28.
The tournament begins on October 6 close on the heels of the Durga puja that will be held between September 26 and 30.

“Both Durga Puja and football trigger passions for Bengal and the chief minister wants a connection between the two during the days of the festival. The ambience of the stalls and the food items served will reflect soccer during the days of the festival,” fisheries minister Chandranath Singha told

Singha said that “ the East Bengal section will feature a number of hilsa delicacies such as mustard hilsa, smoked hilsa, hilsa in poppy seed, fried hilsa, pickled hilsa and hilsa egg curry”. “These items will carry authentic flavour found in East Bengal (now Bangladesh),” said the minister.

The Mohun Bagan section will have items such as prawn malai curry, prawn gravy, fried prawn, fried shrimp, pickled shrimp, shrimp with gourd and shrimp-kochu (taro) sag curry, among others. These items have been traditionally associated with West Bengal that is the support base of Mohun Bagan.Prawns are associated with the supporters of Mohun Bagan club.

To represent the Mohammedan Sporting camp, the government has chosen items such as hilsa biriyani, fish kebabs and fish tikia. “Some may question how Mughlai food will be served without meat. But we are the fisheries department and have resolved to serve lip-smacking items with our produce,” said Singha.