A dollop of Bengal – here’s to Adda and Aminia

Bengal or West Bengal as it is popularly known is one of the states in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent. While selecting the theme ‘A dollop of Bengal’, I hadn’t thought of the unbelievably wide range of categories that define the state. So when I started jotting down the words that started with the first alphabet A, I realized the list was only getting bigger. Nobel prize winner Amartya Sen, award-winning actor and director Aparna Sen, scientist Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose, novelist Ashapurna Devi , singer Arijit Singh and the heritage monument Adina Mosque in Malda amidst a list of never-ending names. So I chose two subjects that define the quintessential Bengali essence.

“Adda”

The Oxford dictionary defines it as a place where people gather for conversations. In Bengal what this stands for is a place where people meet for passionate arguments (sometimes heated as well) related to anything under the sky favorites being politics and the downward spiralling of the state. These addas can be spotted at a range of places varying from the tiniest tea shop to a quiet corner of the road to the pavement of someone’s house. Intellectuals have termed this as brainstorming sessions of many a plot and movement alike like the famous addas at Calcutta Coffee House.

Adda.jpg
Adda at one of the tea shops in Kolkata

“Aminia”

Bengalis love for biriyani is well-known. What differentiates Kolkata biriyani from that of the rest of the country is a round and succulent potato. One of the oldest and best options in the city for this is the restaurant Aminia. It is famous for its Mutton biriyani and chicken chap. Till date they have retained their signature dishes along with the introduction of new kebab items.

Aminia Food.jpg
Aminia special biriyani and chap

The personal angle:

The year was 1999 – it was going to be my first stay away from home. Kolkata was meant to be my destination for the next three years and Presidency College Girls Hostel my address. The night before my parents went back to my home town, leaving me on my own for the first time, we dined at the Aminia outlet opposite Elite cinema, Esplanade. It used to be a favorite of my dad’s during his post graduation days in the city. Over the years, there have been quite a few options serving great biriyani but for me Aminia is nostalgia defined.

Aminia
Aminia – Chinar Park, Kolkata outlet

Happy drooling over these gorgeous food items until we meet tomorrow again.

Aminia Biriyani with potato
The speciality of Kolkata Biriyani – potato

Author: Sonia Chatterjee Banerjee

Who am I? Ex-Banker turned Blogger/Writer/Solopreneur. Any qualifications? A Post graduate degree in Chemistry followed by Post Graduate Diploma in Management. I am still trying to figure out how and when I can connect all these dots to what I do presently. Have I done any real work? If two years in Market Research and six years in Banking (three different Banks though) as Branch Head can be considered as real work. Where do I live? After a nomadic sixteen years in Delhi, Bangalore & Mysore, I am back to where it all started from - Kolkata. My favorite things - Food, travel, books and my two and half year old toddler son What is this blog about ? Sonia's musings is an attempt to channelize emotions through words and pictures hoping they touch a chord with my visitors.

61 thoughts on “A dollop of Bengal – here’s to Adda and Aminia”

  1. I had a couple of packets of Maggie noodles today morning for breakfast. I could have done with some mutton biriyani from Aminia. Wife and daughter are away on a trip. Mouth watering dishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Adda and aminia is now pushing me towards nostalgia. We did have many adda spots in kolakata those days. And briyani.. I am a vegetarian. But my dad gets the finest briyani from one of his friend every Sunday. Lovely post Sonia:)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This reminds me of ‘Bong Adda’, an eatery in my neighbourhood.
    And, now I know why the name! This does sound interesting and my hubby will love to read such posts – it consists of mutton and chicken biryani, after all! ;D

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Never been to this part of India. Thanks Sonia, with you I am sure to make myself more aware about Bengal.
    Adda, if I am not wrong forms the central theme of most of the cities in India. Good to see that it hold ground in Bengal as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Last year, I went to West Bengal and before visiting, I did my full research of best street foods and restaurants, watched Vinod Dua show and others on Youtube and no one told me about Aminia. I wish you had chosen this theme for last year AtoZ.

    Btw, the word Adda always reminds me of Hindi Movies jahan Villain ka Adda hota tha.

    Enjoyed reading. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I so love your penchant for non-vegetarian food, Sonia. That’s just like me! 😉

    I’m totally unaware of Kolkata except for the Durga Pujo, Howrah bridge, Shantiniketan, Digboi & a few more historical mentions. Yet the few Bengalis buddies I’ve made lately have been really awesome ones. You being one of them.

    I worship biriyani & hope to taste one of the Aminia varieties someday. By the way, what does ‘Aminia’ mean?

    And your theme is alluring!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dear SOnia, I’m a vegetarian. You would understand if your tempting pictures don’t appeal to me, right? No offense.
    I’m curious about the Adda word though. It is widely popular now and used for any place where people hang out in groups. Did the word originate in Kolkata?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Varsh for reading. I have categories that might be interesting to you.
      Apparently Adda has its origins in ancient Greece as depicted in Satyajit Ray’s movie Agantuk. But Bengalis do claim to be the starting point of adda.

      Like

  8. Lovely start to the series. I have been to Kolkata once and that too during Pujo. The place is a world in itself. I like how you have tackled personal topics rather than regurgitate “5 things about already well-known people”.

    Audacity , Namysaysso

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Visiting for the first time, Sonia and loving your blog! That’s a great start to kick off the #AtoZ and what better than Adda and Aminia, the two quintessential (and iconic too!) things that define Kolkata. My hometown, and a city where I spent 9 years studying and made so many memories! You post made me drool and sigh in turns, remembering the days that I had left behind. And, Aminia, well, the taste of the Biriyani still lingers on.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wonderful theme Sonia and a brilliant topic to start the journey with. Adda and of course Biriyani are the hot favourite indulgence of quintessential bengalis and you have hit the nostalgia chord right there! Being a true-blue Bong myself (though staying outside Kolkata for a long time now… probashi bangali, you may say!) Kolkata always charms me and pulls me in definitely a few times a year! And yes, a Biriyani stop is never missed, though my once favourite Aminia is gradually getting replaced by Arsalan these days.

    But I will look forward to your posts on ‘A dollop of Bengal’ as the theme is very close to my heart. I have subscribed to your blog too. And, thank you for reading my posts on history on my blog, and for your comments! Great knowing you here 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Liked reading the personal angle and it makes the post more lovely. A good start to the series and I will be loving these dollops as a daily dose.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Soniaaaaaa! What a delectable post! I have never been to West Bengal as yet. But, I have relished Bengali sweets and mustard fish curry. Heard so much about the Biryani too and the inclusion of Aaloo? Makes my mouth water. I love how you showed Bengal through your personal lens. The Adda was quite unexpected. So cool..intellectual gatherings and conversations. Ahem! Psst! Btw, I´ve always thought Bengali women were not just intelligent but also beautiful. Esp the eyes…:)

    Liked by 1 person

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