10 Most Popular Maharashtrian Dishes
Maharashtrian cuisine is the cuisine of the Marathi people from the Indian state of Maharashtra. Every Maharashtrian you meet is a foodie and can talk (non-stop) about Maharashtrian food and they pride themselves of the distinctive attributes of the Maharashtrian cuisine that completely differs from what you get in other parts of the country. The variety of salads, chutneys and pickle they have is just amazing. When you order a Maharashtrian thali in a restaurant all you expect is a burst or rather an explosion of flavors that will get your taste buds tingling. Maharashtrian dishes are not just tempting but lip smacking & super super delicious. These dishes are full of flavors, aromas and spices. Some people (who are not from Maharashtra) find Maharashtrian food a little hot and spicy, but still can’t keep away.
The mid-western state of Maharashtra in India is home to popular cities like Mumbai (Bombay), Kolhapur, Nashik and Pune. This state has a beautifully merged touch of coastal and central plateau tastes, since it stretches from the rocky rain drenched western ghats to the north central parts of the Deccan plateau. Maharashtrian cuisine is majorly divided in two styles namely Konkan and Varadi. As we said earlier a major portion of Maharashtra lies on the coast of the Arabian Sea, is called the Konkan having its own Konkani cuisine, which is a combination of Malvani, Gaud Saraswat Brahmin and Goan cuisines. The cuisine for the interior Maharashtra or the Vidarbha area is called Varadi cuisine. The cuisine variations you get here will definitely get you in awe. Maharashtrian cuisine is a zesty and spicy one, which makes abundant use of aromatic and flavorful ingredients like peanuts, sesame seeds, coconut and chillies.
Maharashtrian cuisine is packed with the subtly flavored vegetarian delicacies and hot aromatic meat and fish curries, while the crunchy, crisp sweets are made mostly from rice and jaggery are also their favorite. The Konkan food has a lot of coconut in it and strong in masalas, red chillies and coriander. The Kolhapuri cuisine, on the other hand, emphasizes more on mutton and chicken along with a popular curry. The most famous of all the chicken recipes is the Kolhapuri Chicken. The food of the Vidarbha region is prepared strong in red chillie powder and garlic. Mumbai has its own pot-pourri of dishes like vada pav, misal and pav bhaji, which are immensely popular across India.
The Maharashtrian cuisine covers a range from mild to very spicy dishes. Wheat, rice, jowar, bajri, vegetables, lentils and fruit form staples of the Maharashtrian diet. Here you will find strong aromas of spices (like black Maharashtrian masala known as kala masala) as well as garlic and ginger in abundance. Maharashtrian cuisine covers a wide range from being extremely mild (like in the Konkan region) to very spicy dishes (like that in Kolhapur). The staple dishes of Maharashtrian cuisine are based on bread and rice, while lentils (pulses) play an important role as well.
Pohay or Pohe prepared from boiled Rice which is beaten and dried during the Summer months. It is most likely served with tea or as a breakfast dish and is probably the most likely dish that a Maharashtrian will offer his guest any time of the day. It has a no. of variations the most common being Kanda Pohe (meaning pohe prepared with onion). Other variants on the recipe are batata pohe (where diced potatoes are used instead of onion shreds), dadpe pohe, a mixture of raw Pohe with shredded fresh coconut, green chillies, ginger and lemon juice; and kachche pohe, raw pohe with minimal embellishments of oil, red chili powder, salt and un-sauteed onion shreds. The dish is garnished with different things like fresh coriander, grated coconut, crushed peanuts or Sev (fried potato shavings). This is a quick breakfast recipe which can be prepared in just 5-10 minutes. It is also quite filling.
Kanda pohey has another traditional purpose as well. When an arranged marriage takes place in Maharashtra, it is mainly at the would be Bride’s home. It is here that the would be Bride and Groom exchange views and generally look each other over plates of traditional ‘Kaandey Pohey’ and cups of Tea. The taste of Poha decides the bride’s fate. If the groom likes it, it’s a yes (just kidding).
Quintessentially from Pune. Misal pav is one of the popular Maharashtrian breakfast, snack or brunch. Missal pav is a popular street food of Mumbai and a traditional Maharashtrian breakfast dish. It is spicy and tangy lentil curry which is made with either sprouted matki or moth beans /mixed beans and served with Pav bread. To prepare Misal first ‘Usal’ which is a water based curried preparation of cooked sprouted lentils is prepared and then topped with batata-bhaji, pohay, chivda, farsaan, raw chopped onions and tomato. It is some times eaten with yogurt to cut the spice and is always served with dinner roll type bread called Pav and lemon wedges. Though it is a breakfast food but one can also enjoy it as a main meal or even as a snack for evening tea, or as any-time-meal too. Misal takes on different avatars across Maharashtra and the recipe varies in different regions. So foodies have named them as per the location they are made. For instance, Puneri Misal which is special beacuse it is topped with poha, where as Nagpuri Missal, Mumbai Missal, and Kolhapuri Missal are very spicy.
Pitla Bhakri is a rural food of Maharashtra, the staple food amongst the farmers and village folk. It forms part of the typical Maharashtrian cuisine and has in the last two decades become quite popular amongst the more cosmopolitan city dwellers as well. It consists of "Pitla," a pasty-looking dish prepared from the powdered version of "Dal," a popular pulse. Pitla is usually eaten with "Bhakri," a bread made from either "Jowar" or "Bajra," both of which are cereals. It is usually accompanied with Khanda Bhaji(raw chopped onions in a spicy chilli paste). Pitla Bhakri can be enjoyed in Pune at one of the select restaurants serving typical Maharashtrian cuisine or many as road side vendors. And if by any chance you happen to be in Pune during monsoons, don’t miss out a steaming hot plate of Pithla Bhakri at Sinhagad fort.
"Sabudana" is a local food base prepared from the latex of of the Sago Palm (Pearls of sago palm). The name given to it by the English is "Sago" which is tapioca starch or cassava starch white granules. Sabudana is white in color and granular in texture. The grains are globular in shape and look somewhat like the tiny thermocol balls used for packaging delicate materials. The ready-to-eat dish prepared from it is known as "Khichdi," which roughly mean "mixture." Sabudana Khichdi is a popular breakfast item and is one of the few food products that are allowed to be eaten when Maharashtrians undertake holy-fasting known in Marathi as "Upaas."
Sabudana Khichdi is a simple one pot meal commonly prepared for breakfasts or during religious festivals in Maharashtra. Sabudana khichdi is a very nutritious and yummy recipe which when prepared with clarified butter and potatoes, you can a good dose of starch and fat (something that healthy food these days seem to lack). However, it is a wholesome dish which would give you everything you need to keep up your energy all day long.
Bharli Vangi (Stuffed Eggplant)
Bharli Vangi or bharva baingan or "Stuffed Eggplant". is a classic Maharashtrian recipe. Almost every cuisine has traditional recipes for stuffed vegetables, and eggplant especially lends itself well to being stuffed in a variety of ways. This Marathi recipe is delicious uses of peanuts and coconuts as the stuffing along with a variety of spices. Bharli vangi or stuffed eggplant is a traditional Maharashtrian dish and it is top ranked menu item for many functions, weddings and at many festivities. It is nothing less than an an exotic dish made with baby eggplants/ brinjals stuffed with a rich masala which is sweet, spicy and tangy at the same time. This dish has a great influence in many parts of Maharashtra as well as Goa. Preparation is almost the same except for the used of ingredients. Goan preparation uses Coconut and Maharashtrian preparation uses Peanuts and Sesame seeds for the masala.
Bharli Vangi or Bharleli Vangi (Stuffed Brinjals in Marathi) is a popular Maharashtrian dish that is chockful of taste because the masala used for filling uses a range of fragrant and flavorful spices, including the uniquely Maharashtrian Goda Masala.
Wada / Vada Pav
The Wada-Pav also spelled Vada-Pav is a fast-food snack…The Indian Burger! It consists of a spicy, deep fried potato based patty (called the "Wada") sandwiched between a thick square of bread that is similar to a burger bun (called the "Pav"). Thus the name Wada-Pav. This dish is usually served with sweet & sour sauces called "chutney" and fried salted green chilies.
Wada pav is popular only in the state of Maharashtra, and not so well known in the rest of India. It is the preferred noon-time snack for the masses and is sometimes had even for a main meal. Its popularity stems from the fact that it is very economical, filling and easily available. In a city like Pune or Mumbai there are numerous wada-pav stalls and no matter where you may be in the city, you can always find one just around the corner.
Aamti (Maharashtrian-Lentils/ Dal)
Aamti is the special way of preparing lentils or dal in Maharashtra. Aamti is a little spicy, a little sweet and a little tangy. The word aamti can also used to describe other curried preparations, but the aamti dal stands solid as the pillar of everyday food, making it a staple of almost every meal. Aamti is a good illustration of the generous use of jaggery or unrefined sugar in Marathi cooking which lends a slight sweetish tinge to even savory foods.
Aamti can be made with different lentils or dals and is known by different names like Katachi aamati (made with Chana Dal), or Golyanchi Aamti (fried Balls in Dal) or Massor Aamti (made with red lentil) thought the most traditional Aamti is made with Tur Dal. Amti is best served with fresh steamed rice and a dollop of ghee (clarified butter).
Rassa (Tambda/ Pandhra/ Varhadi)
The non-vegetarian Maharashtrian dishes include mutton, usually of sheep, lamb or goat, chicken, fish and other seafoods. Rassa is a popular type of curry prepared in Maharashtra and originated from the Kolhapur region. "Ras" means juice and "rassa" is a juicy preparation…a watery curry.
Kolhapur is as famous for its spicy mutton (goat meat) curries as it’s Mahalaxmi temple or palaces. Popularly called ‘Matnacha rassa’ Mutton Kolhapuri is red-hot mutton curry dish served with robust chappatis or bhakris. The fiery red curry is also called ‘Taambda Rassa’ which literally translates to Red Curry. This curry is made so spicy in Kolhapur by their special chillies that it can make the ears sing, and is not for all.
"Pandhra rassa" (white curry) is a yogurt based curry which can be equally as spicy where as Varhadi Rassa comes from the Vidarbha region and is usually a chicken curry.
Puran Poli otherwise also known as poli, obbattu, hollige, bobbattlu, poleylu, bhakshalu or oligalu in different languages in India is a traditional Indian sweet prepared in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and South India. Several types of Puran polis are made but one made with split Bengal gram is more popular. Puran Poli is one of the most popular sweet item in the Maharashtrian cuisine. It is a flat Indian Bread stuffed with a sweet lentil filling. It is similar to the Paratha except that the stuffing is sweet. It is made from jaggery (molasses or gur), yellow gram (chana) dal, plain flour, cardamom powder and ghee (clarified butter).
The stuffing is made in many variations region wise in different traditional ways. In Maharashtra, this sweet dish is popularly called as Puran poli or Puranachi poli which is made mostly during the holi and is an important dish in almost all Maharashtrian festive occasions. It may be served with a spoonful of ghee. Few people like eating the poli with milk, which are sweetened or flavored with almonds and pistachio. In certain places, polis is served with a tangy, tamarind-based sauce (similar to the base of pulihora), to enhance the experience by combining very disparate flavors.
Shrikhand is an Indian sweet dish made of strained yogurt and one of the main desserts in Maharashtrian cuisine as well as Gujarati cuisine. The yogurt is tied and hung until all the water has drained off, the result being a thick and creamy yogurt. Dried and fresh fruit such as mango are also added to flavor it and other ingredients like sugar, cardamom powder, and saffron are added. It is often eaten along with meals with Puris (deep fried Indian breads). It is served chilled and provides a refreshing counterpoint to hot and spicy curries. It is garnished with toasted nuts and a pinch of saffron.
Shrikhand is also one of the many favorite festival foods. You can make srikhand and keep it in the fridge for a week or longer. So it is a great sweet or desert recipe to use for parties. It is served as a dessert or served with poories. It also goes well with chapaties.