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Panta Platter In Krishnanagar Hotels To Beat Heat

2015-06-12 20:59

The veg Panta Thali at Hotel Haveli in Krishnanagar. Picture by ABHI GHOSH


Krishnanagar, June 12:The scorching temperature for over the past fortnight has forced the hotel owners in Nadia’s Krishnanagar to go traditional to satisfy their customers. Finding that the customers have been carefully avoiding spicy platters in lunch to keep their stomach fit and cool, a good number of hotel owners have introduced the traditional ‘Panta Bhat’ (water soaked rice) as an exclusive lunch item.

With an average daily mercury level above 40 degree Celsius in the town, the ‘Panta Bhat’ has become the most wanted dish to the customers since it was launched in the hotels and even at the road side dhabas on NH34 stretch that passes through the town.

“Panta Bhat” is a traditional Bengali platter of steamed rice soaked in water over a night and generally served together with chili, onion, kasundi, dried fish and pickles. The item is very popular among people in rural areas where temperature is hot.

In most of these hotels, the panta platter being offered as a traditional package comprised of these entire mandatory accompanist as well as with alur chokha or posto bora.

However, Hotel Haveli, which is the pioneer to introduce the ‘Panta Thali’ in Krishnanagar early this month, has been offering wide range of choices for the customers. The hotel, which has two units in the town including a multi cuisine restaurant, has introduced two varieties of ‘Panta thali’ – a veg thali and the other is ‘Panta with fried fish’.

Owner Sanjoy … said: “The traditional veg Panta thali package includes panta bhat, kasundi, sorsher tel, Gandharaj lebu, kancha lanka, sliced onion, alur chokha, fried red chili, posto bora, alu jhuri vaja, amer chatney, tak doi, misti paan.  This thali is priced Rupees 70 only so that customer can easily afford it. In the Fish Panta package the customers are offered to choose any of three fish dishes to add to the basic package. The optional fish items include ‘Morola chachchori’, Parshey fry, Prawn-posto curry. This fish panta package grossly priced Rupees 140 only”.

Sanjoy is very happy that he has been able to satisfy the customers after all in this summer.

“I always try understanding the demand of the customers. I was a bit puzzled when the customers were avoiding usual lunch items of ‘mach-bhat’ plates, fried rice, biriyani, chowmin in their lunch. They were all looking for something cool for their stomach. So it was my mother who in a jovial way advised me to prepare panta bhat, which I also often take at home in lunch during summer. I grabbed the idea and introduced it immediately”, said Sanjoy.

A doctor in Krishnanagar said: “Taking panta in lunch during hot days is a good idea. In humid situation people generally suffer from digestion problem. So water soaked rice can be digested easily and it also provides energy and fluid to body to keep it cool”

However, Sanjoy and many other hotel owners have been avoiding the overnight soaking of rice due to prejudice of many customers.

“Before introducing the panta platter, I talked to some customers who told me about their objection of overnight soaking of rice on hygienic grounds. So to ensure that the rice is properly soaked, we have been preparing the fine parboil Basmati rice early in the morning and after cooling it putting into freezer for about six hours soaking it to water”, added Sanjoy.

“The plan clicked and the Panta thali has become a big hit among the customers. I have been selling over one hundred dishes daily. Interestingly most of my customers belong to affluent class and corporate executives who visit the Krishnanagar on official purpose. These customers have been grabbing Panta thali mostly without any hesitation”, added Sanjoy.

Other hotel owners had also similar experiences.

Rajiv Ghosh, who runs a road side Dhaba said: “I regularly prepare a variety of popular fish dishes sorshey bata, pabda posto, chital kalia and others, but for nearly about a month, the customers are avoiding these items and asking for plain rice with alu vaja. I was puzzled as at the end the day fishes, chicken, mutton items remained unconsumed. Meanwhile, I heard about the Panta thali introduced in a hotel here. I also decided to introduce the same. However, I have wide class of customers – poor to rich so I have priced my thali Rupees fifty Panta bhat, onion, chili, kasundi, alu vaja and tak doi”.

Arup Sarkar, a regional sales manager of a multi-national medicine company who has become a fan of ‘Panta Bhat’ thali said: “I heard about Panta bhat but never got the opportunity. I heard this platter is harmless and healthy enough to keep stomach cool. So when I heard about the offer at the hotel, I grabbed it”.

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