Kalo jeera bharta

Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Bengali Cooking: Seasons & Festivals

Bengali Cooking

By Chitrita Banerji

Published 1997

  • About

To relieve the aches and pains of monsoon flu, and prevent the monsoon sniffles, many traditional housewives, especially among the Bangals, swear by a concoction made with kalo jeera or onion seeds. Folk wisdom endows these little black seeds with miraculous qualities, from repelling moths in silk and woollen clothes to curing all kinds of digestive and bronchial ailments. This particular preparation, a little round pulp of spicy-hot relish, is also delicious with rice.


To make Kalo jeera bharta, a teaspoon of kalo jeera is toasted on a flat pan or tawa. Then an entire head of garlic is taken, all the cloves peeled, rinsed and crushed roughly on the grinding stone. The garlic is then fried in a little ghee, together with 1 or 2 whole green chillies. Afterwards, the garlic, chillies, roasted kalo jeera are all ground together into a paste and fresh mustard oil and salt added. The relish is divided up between two or three people to be eaten with hot rice as a starter.