Maharashtrian cuisine doesn’t only mean Pithala-Bhakri, Zunka-Bhakar, Wada-Pav, Misal Pav and the odd Usal. It goes well beyond that. There are various delicious delicacies that are worth a mention in this post. One of Indian cuisine’s healthier options, a Maharashtrian thali can be a diet-crazy person’s delight. Once you are in Maharashtra you ought to taste these wonderful dishes.
1. Bharli Vangi (stuffed Brinjals):
This is a common dish in almost every Maharashtrian, Rather Indian, household. Every region adds its own touch to the filling.
Tip* You can add onion masala with peanuts and sesame. Then fry the brinjals in the masala, which perfects the rustic taste.
- 8-10 small tender vangi (brinjals/eggplants)
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 7-8 lasun/garlic cloves
- ¼ inch adrak/ginger piece (grated)
- 2 tbsp dry coconut (grated & roasted)
- 1 tsp til/sesame seeds (roasted)
- 2 tsp shengadane/peanuts ( roasted & skined)
- 1-2 tbsp chinch/tamarind pulp
- 2 tbsp gud/Jaggery (grated)
- 1 tsp Jeera/cummin seeds powder
- 1-2 tsp dhane/coriander seeds powder
For Tadka –
- ½ tsp rai, pinch of Hing, ½ tsp Haldi
- 2-3 tsp red chilli powder
- 2-3 tsp Kala Goda masala
- 4 tbsp Oil
- Salt as per taste
- ½ cup fresh coconut (scraped)
- ½ cup fresh green coriander (chopped)
- Wash and slit brinjals into four pieces, but keep their stems intact (Do not cut right through the end). Put them in water.
- Heat 1-2 tsp oil in a pan, add onion,ginger & garlic, stir-fry till onion turns translucent. Add dry coconut,sesame seeds,coriander seeds powder, jeera powder, peanuts, stir-fry for 2 minutes. Cool it & grind to a coarse paste.
- Add Jaggery, tamarind pulp, Kala Goda masala, red chilli powder, Haldi, salt, ¾ of the (scraped fresh coconut, & chopped fresh coriander) to the coarse paste and mix well.
- Stuff this mixture of paste in the brinjals
- Heat remaining oil in pan, add rai, let it crackle, then add pinch of Hing & place stuffed brinjals into the pan & gently turn them once or twice for 4-5 minutes on medium heat to ensure even cooking.
- Add 1 cup warm water, bring it to a boil, and cook on low heat. Cover the pan till brinjals are cooked & soft (Approx.10-15 minutes.)
- Garnish with remaining fresh coconut & fresh coriander.
2. Kombdi Vade (Malvani chicken curry with wada) :
A traditional dish from malvan region of Konkan. It is prepared with a rather different vada (puri). It is a non-vegetarian dish, comprising of vada and malvani chicken curry. Vada are fried dumplings of wheat and lentils which are commonly eaten in Maharashtra and South India. Instead of Vade it can be eaten with Puri.
Tip* Can add tamarind, coconut and curry leaves.
- Chicken (skinless) 1 medium sized
- Coconut (dry) 1/2
- Fresh coriander leaves a few sprigs
- Green chillies 2-3
- Ginger 1 inch piece
- Garlic 4-5 cloves
- Onions 5 medium sized
- Red chillies whole 4-5
- Oil 4 tbsps
- Fresh coconut (scraped) 1 1/2 cups
- Malwani garam masala 2 1/2 tsps
- Salt to taste
- Wash, clean and cut chicken into sixteen pieces. Grate dry coconut
- Clean, wash and roughly chop fresh coriander leaves. Remove stems, wash green chillies and chop roughly. Peel, wash and chop ginger and garlic roughly. Peel, wash onions and chop finely
- Reserve one tablespoon of fresh coriander leaves for garnish. Grind remaining fresh coriander leaves to paste along with garlic, ginger and green chillies and marinate the chicken in this paste.
- Dry roast grated dry coconut with red chillies and make a fine paste by adding a little water.
- Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pan, add three fourth quantity of chopped onions, stir fry till golden. Add fresh coconut, continue to cook on medium heat, stirring continuously till coconut changes its colour to light brown. Cool and grind to a fine paste, adding a little water.
- Heat remaining oil in a handi, add remaining chopped onions and stir fry till golden brown. Add the green paste coated chicken pieces and two cups of water and bring it to a boil.
- Stir in dry coconut and red chilli paste and Malwani garam masala. Continue to cook for three to four minutes on medium heat.
- Add the fresh coconut and onion paste and cook further on medium heat for three to four minutes. Add salt and mix thoroughly.
- Garnish with chopped fresh coriander leaves. Serve with Malwani wada which is a special rice flour puri.
3. Kothimbir vadi (coriander roll) :
This popular starter made from coriander, chickpea flour and spices. It can be enjoyed either deep fried, stir fried or steamed. It’s a must on every special occasion and manages to win admirers.
Tip* You can try roasting the flour on Tawa.
- 4 cups chopped fresh coriander
- 1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
- 1/2 cup wholewheat flour
- 1/2 cup semolina
- 1.5 tspn chilli powder
- 1 tspn salt
- 1/2 tspn turmeric powder
- 1 tspn sesame seeds
- 1 tspn powdered fennel seeds (saunf)
- 1/2 tspn sugar
- 2 tblspn oil
- Mix all the above ingredients and form a dough by adding very little water at a time (do not add too much water or the whole thing will turn soggy and you will start hating me).
- If you find the mixture too sticky just oil your palms well and then handle the dough.
- You can divide the dough into 2 or 3 portions. Shape them into elongated logs.
- Now oil a steel vessel (one which you can place inside your pressure cooker) and put all the portions of the dough in it.
- Pressure cook this mixture for the same duration as you would for dal and rice.
- Let the cooker cool down a bit and then open it. Also let the steamed dough cool. After it has cooled completely cut it into slices as thick or thin as you want.
- Heat some oil on a tawa (griddle) and shallow fry these pieces (Wadis).
- Serve hot garnished with fresh coriander and freshly grated coconut.
- If you are on a diet eat these wadis without shallow frying them and only steamed.
They can be eaten as a snack with tea or as part of an entire meal. Follow the same procedure and measures but replace the coriander with fresh methi (fenugreek) or shredded cabbage for equally scrumptious variations of this dish.
4. Sukka Mutton (Dry Gravy):
This delectable dish is usually prepared with less dry coconut, with more importance to marination.
Tip* Boil the mutton and then marinate it with ginger garlic paste. This process will enhance the taste and flavor.
- Mutton – 1 kg, remove all (or as much as possible) fat from the meat and dice into small pieces
- Onions – 2, medium size, coarsely sliced
- Ginger – 1 inch piece, finely chopped and crushed
- Garlic – 6-8 pods, finely chopped and crushed
- Tomatoes – 2, medium size, finely sliced
- Green chillies – 3-4, medium size, medium hot, split into half at the stalk end
- Salt – 2 teaspoons or to taste
- Coriander powder – 2 teaspoons
- Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
For ground masala powder:
- Fennel seeds – 3 teaspoons
- Black peppercorns – 8-10
- Cinnamon – 1 inch size
- Bay leaves – 3, medium size
- Cloves – 4
- Cardamom – 4
- Oil – 1 tablespoon
- Ghee – 1 tablespoon
- Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
- Onions – 1, medium size, coarsly sliced
- Curry leaves – 2 sprig
- Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon
- Coconut – 1 cup, cut into small pieces (optional)
- Grind cardamom, cloves, black peppercorns, bay leaves, and fennel seeds to a fine powder.
- Mix the meat with the ground masala powder and all other ingredients.
- Pour enough water over the meat to just cover it completely and braise in a flat-bottomed vessel covered with a fitting lid (or use pressure cooker) for approximately 35-40 minutes over a moderate steady heat or till the meat is tender and no water shows over the meat sauce.
- If the mixture is rather dry, add a cupful of hot water occasionally to stop them from burning.
- Heat a frying pan and pour in the oil and ghee.
- When very hot, add mustard seeds to splutter taking care not to burn the seeds.
- Add the remaining chopped onions and saute till the edges of the onions turn brown.
- Add curry leaves and coconut pieces and saute till light brown.
- Now add the cooked meat and lemon juice.
- Stir-fry over moderate heat turning over frequently till all the gravy is dried up and the meat turns in to a very dark brown color.
- Enjoy mutton sukha fry!
5. Solkadhi (Kokum in coconut milk) :
As an appetizer, the Konkani drink has a rather tangy-sour taste that hits you at once. It is rather popular as a digestive drink to be had before your meal. Most Konkani meals are incomplete without it.
Tip* Can add a bit of sugar that’ll enhance the taste and the drink is now tangy-sour-sweet.
- 5 or 6 Kokum (Garcinia Indica, Amsool)
- 1 cup coconut milk (Homemade, or Canned unsweetened type)
- 1 green chilli
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- Sugar or jaggery, and salt – to taste
- 2 fresh sprigs of fresh cilantro
- Soak Kokum in a cup of warm water for half an hour, to soften and to release juice.
- Grind green chilli and cumin to fine paste.
- Once the kokum water turns pink, take it in a big cup or glass.
- Add coconut milk.
- Stir in sugar or jaggery and salt to taste.
- Also the cumin-chill paste.
- Garnish with cilantro leaves and drink immediately.
- Do not leave kokum soaked in as it will make the sol kadhi sourer than normal.
- (Some also like to add a pinch of grated ginger and garlic.)
6. Sheera (Semolina Pudding):
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup condensed milk
- 4 tbsp. ghee(clarified butter)
- 4 tbsp. sooji (rawa or semolina)
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- 2 tbsp. raisins
- 1 tbsp. almonds, sliced fine
- Melt the ghee in a non stick pan.
- Add the rawa and fry until the rawa turns golden brown.
- Mix the milk and the condensed milk in a pan and set aside.
- Add the rava to the milk mixture and the add the cardmom powder.
- Stir well.
- Cook until dry and the ghee separates from the rawa.
- Add the raisins and stir well.
- Remove from heat.
- Garnish with almonds.
- Serve either hot or chilled.
Tips* Try adding Banana: Garnish with Banana slices and pistachios.