Bengali Cuisine

Bengali cuisine is a style of food preparation originating in Bengal, a region in the eastern South Asia which is now divided between the Indian state of West Bengal and the independent country of Bangladesh. With an emphasis on fish and lentils served with rice as a staple diet, Bengali cuisine is known for its subtle flavours, its confectioneries and desserts, and has perhaps the only multi-course tradition from India that is analogous with the likes of French and Italian cuisine in structure.


Bengali food has inherited a large number of influences, both foreign and South Asian, arising from a turbulent history and strong trade links with many parts of the world. Originally inhabited by Dravidians and other ethnic groups, and later further settled by the Aryans during the Gupta era, Bengal fell under the sway of various Muslim rulers from the early thirteenth century onwards, and was then ruled by the British for two centuries (1757–1947). It also saw a fair share of immigrants from various parts of the world – most prominently Jews, Chinese and Afghans who settled down in their own distinct communities in and around Kolkata.

Every layer of historical influence endures to the present day; the tribals have traditionally abided as hunter-gatherers in the dense forests of the Sunderbans while the rest of Bengal turned heavily agrarian, farming the extremely fertile Ganges delta for rice, vegetables and cash crops such as jute. -(Wikepedia)

The Multi Cultural Norah Jones

You know the Grammy Award winning artist simply as Norah Jones but her birthname is Geethali Norah Jones Shankar. Does that help to shed some light on mysterious dark good looks?  Jones was born to a Bengali Indian father, a famed sitar musician Ravi Shankar and an Anglo-American mother.

Decorative Chocolate Truffle Filled Eggs

It happened one day as I was twittering and following that I stumble upon  What caught my eyes were these eggs which almost looked like Easter eggs but have a different spin to them.  They are available as customized decorative eggs for St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day, the Fourth of July or just about any event. 

The most confounding part  is the chocolate is actually in a real egg shell.  Wrap you brain around that then refrigerate for 15 minutes, whack, peel and enjoy.  My egg had a smooth chocolate peanut butter flavor.  This could be a great party favor – Crystal Johnson, MCCN Editor and Food Critic

Visit them online at:

Restaurant Review – Austin TX: 24 Diner

Chicken & Waffles at 24 Diner, Austin

The newest addition to downtown Austin’s 24 hour dining scene is aptly named. 24 Diner, located at 6th & Lamar next to Waterloo Records, serves upscale comfort food and boasts a more than decent wine & beer list.

The decor is clean, crisp and clutter-free, almost an industrial chic, if you consider the open ceiling and polished concrete floors. The only artwork adorns the wall above the hostess stand while the large windows offer a glimpse of the city in motion. It’s a charming renovation of the old Waterloo Ice House spot. READ MORE

See their Menu:

See our US and Canada Restaurant Review Section: Multi Cultural Cooking Network Restaurant Reviews

Film and Foodie: Predators Trailer

On the Set of Predators

THE FILM: Predators

THE FOOD: Chicken Fingers and beer at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin

After lines of people curved around the block and down the streets surrounding Austin, Texas’ storied Alamo Drafthouse, Robert Rodriguez let members of the press and even a few honest-to-goodness film fans inside to premiere the forthcoming trailer and answer questions about the new film Predators. Attendees drank beer and chomped on chicken fingers as Rodriguez appeared before a capacity crowd alongside director Nimrod Antal and effects guru Greg Nicotero to screen footage and offer hints at what’s to come from the sequel-cum-reboot he agreed to produce in 2008.  READ MORE

The film stars Adrien Brody and Laurence Fishburne- Count me in!


Click Here for more: Film and Foodie Reviews

The Multi Cultural Cheryl Burke

With Dancing with the Stars back in the limelight, MCCN thought it was a good time to 220px-cheryl_burke_2009focus on iconic dancer Cheryl Bautista Burke.    In an interview with, Burke confesses some of her food faves such as an egg white omelet on wheat toast makes her best healthy foods list and simple bread and butter on her not so healthy food list.

Think egg white omelet and lots of exercise upon admiring her fabulous shape.  Burke is trained in standard ballroom and Latin dances.  The celebrity of Filipino descent makes millions of Asians around the world proud as she is still one of few the regular Asian American personalities on primetime TV in the states.  On October 20, 2007, Cheryl won the Role Model Award at the 7th Annual Filipino/American Library Gala. Watch her 2008 acceptance speech of the Asian Excellence Award.  Burke is also part Irish and Russian.

Filipino Escbeche(Sweet & Sour Fish)


image from ang sarap

When you are covering the world, you need a little help.  If you love Filipino food, can’t get enough of  Filipino culture then check out  Here is a favorite cultural dish.- Crystal Johnson, MCCN

The ingredients would be as follows:

    • 2-3 lbs red snapper, whole fish
    • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1/2 cup apple cidar vinegar or white vinegar
    • ¼ water
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 large chopped onion
    • 6 tablespoons minced garlic
    • 1/2 cup ginger, julienned
    • 1/2 cup carrot, julienned
    • 1/2 cup red bell pepper
    • 1/2 cup scallion, julienned (spring onions)
    • 1 tablespoon sifted flour


  1. Clean the fish and slit it open. Let it stand for few minutes and drain well.
  2. Sprinkle fish with 1 tbsp salt.
  3. In a medium skillet, heat the oil and fry the fish until brown. Remove the fish from the pan and set aside.
  4. In the same skillet, sauté the garlic until light brown, then sauté onion.
  5. Add salt and white pepper. Stir in ginger, scallions, carrot and red bell pepper.
  6. Add soy sauce, vinegar, water and sugar. Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. When the mixture boils, add flour to thicken. Then, add the fish.
  8. Cover the skillet and simmer for 5 minutes

Nutty for Nutella: The History of Nutella

Nutella cake

Nutella cake adorned with hazelnuts.

Nutella was made by Italian confectioner Pietro Ferrero.Yes, it’s the same Ferrero that brought us the delectable Ferrero Rocher (and Tic Tac’s too). Nutella was the solution to a less expensive chocolate. Since the supply of cocoa was limited during World War II, Pietro Ferro used hazelnut which was plentiful in the Piedmont region of Italy. This simple solution extended the supply of chocolate and began a trademark taste found in Ferro’s products.

At first Nutella, originally called Pasta gianduja, was sold in loaves and mothers would slice a slab and put it in between two pieces of bread. However, children being children discarded the bread and went straight for the sweet stuff. So, innovative minds went to work to outsmart kids wanting to have their cake and eat it too, by making Nutella spreadable.


Formerly sold in loaves in the forties, Nutella is now sold in spreadable form.

Although Nutella has been around since the forties, it was only imported from Italy to the United States in the early eighties. Now it is marketed in over 75 countries outselling all brands of peanut butter combined worldwide. Nutella is eaten on all types of bread, from bagels to muffins to toast. It goes great on waffles, crepes and crackers as well.

Here’s an idea for an informal gathering. Get some pretzels and fill your dipping bowl with Nutella…what a delicious treat! For more formal affairs, instead of chocolate, why not try Strawberries and Nutella? It’s a different taste, and sure to be the talk of the party.

Recipe for Nutella Cake:

Article by Monica Johnson

North America: History of the Shamrock Shake

What’s green, cold, thick, and elusive? The McDonald’s Shamrock Shake. This green mint flavored treat is whipped up every year from late February to March. Introduced in 1970, the shake was brought to the U.S and Canada by Uncle O’Grimacey- the green Irish uncle of the very purple Grimace.

The highly coveted drink has a devoted fan base. In recent years the St. Patrick’s Day shake has become hard to find. Websites dedicated to finding the seasonal drink populate the web. The Shamrock Shake, much like daylight savings time and beautiful weather, is a sure sign of spring. Changes to the triple thick 2010 drink include whip cream and cherry toppings.

To track the Shamrock Shake visit:

And if you can’t find one, try making one at home:

Article by Catrina Sally