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'Hilsa 11' versus 'Prawn 11': Bengal to celebrate football with fish

Kolkata:Ahead of the U-17 World Cup, a culinary battle is about to unfold for fish and football lovers this Durga Puja in the football-mad city of cricket crazy India.
Aligned with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's vision of promoting the city and its ties to the sport, stalls stocking fish delicacies themed around the big three of Indian football -- East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting -- will spring up in Kolkata, Bengaluru and Jamshedpur from September 25.
"The idea is to tap in the revelry surrounding Durga Puja and football. On September 24 (Chaturthi), we have the final of Calcutta Football League and then we have the U-17 World Cup match. So our menu has been planned out accordingly," Soumyajit Das, Managing Director, West Bengal State Fisheries Development Corporation Ltd, told IANS.
Since prawns (chingri) are associated with Mohun Bagan, hilsa (ilish) with East Bengal and Mughlai cuisine with Mohammedan Sporting, the lavish spread includes eleven items each in the hilsa and prawn category. The numbers signify the 11 team members.
The menu has been billed as a contest: 'Ilish 11' versus 'Chingri 11'.
"For example, we have ilish bhapa (steamed hilsa), ilish paturi (hilsa fillet in banana leaf envelopes), doi ilish (curd ilish) etc. In the prawn segment, the roster has chingri malai curry (prawn in coconut milk curry), sarisha chingri (mustard prawn)," Das said.
The Mughlai elements linked with Mohammedan Sporting have been incorporated in variants of biryani such as ilish biryani and tandoor (prawn tandoor).
"Staple items like rice and aloo bhaja (fried potato sticks), papad and chutney are in the 'referee' section of the menu while mishti doi (caramel yoghurt), rosogolla, dal with fish head, murighanto make up the linesman. Instead of ilish and chingri, parshe (mullet) and pabda fish are in the 'linesmen' segment," explained Das.
Stalls will bear flags of the teams as well as sport the characteristic colours, pictures of stadium, players' dressing rooms etc.
"As many as 19 stalls in Kolkata, two each in Bengaluru and Jamshedpur are being put up. They will operate till September 30," Das added.

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