Maharashtrian Dishes are not just tempting but lip smacking & delicious too. These dishes are full of flavors 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) 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 (or Marathi) cuisine is cuisine of, those from the state of Maharashtra. Where food is concerned the range and variety are plenty and tongue tickling. Here you will find strong aromas of spices (like black Maharashtrian masala)as well as garlic and ginger in abundance. Maharashtrian cuisine covers a wide range from being extremely mild to very spicy dishes. The staple dishes of Maharashtrian cuisine are based on bread and rice, while lentils (pulses) play an important role as well.
Vegetable dishes in called Bhaji along with bread made of all kinds of flours called Bhakri as well as the usual Indian bread chapati are part of the daily meals. Maharashtrian curries are usually on the watery side and called Rassa and not thick like the curries from the North.
Pohay or Pohe is a snack made from flattened rice. 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).
Quintessentially from Pune. To prepare Misal first ‘Usal’ which is a water based curried preparation of cooked sprouted lentils is first 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.
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.
“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.”
A very traditional Marathi Vegetable dish is Bharli Vangi or “Stuffed Eggplant”. 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.
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 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).
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 is one of the most popular sweet item in the Maharashtrian cuisine. It is a stuffed Indian Bread. 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). It is a eaten after meals or as a snack and is present in almost all Maharashtrian festive occasions.
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.