Maharashtrian (or Marathi) cuisine is cuisine of the Marathi people, those from the state of Maharashtra in India. Maharashtrian cuisine covers a range from being mild to very spicy dishes. Wheat, rice, jowar, bajri, vegetables, lentils and fruit form important components of Maharashtrian diet. Popular dishes include puran poli, ukdiche Modak, and batata wada.
- 1 Regular meals and staple dishes
- 2 Appetizers or snacks
- 3 Vegetable and lentil preparations
- 4 Meat preparations
- 5 Soups and consommes
- 6 Pickles and condiments
- 7 Jams and jellies
- 8 Sweets/desserts
- 9 By regions of Maharashtra
- 10 Jalgoan
- 11 Festival delicacies
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Regular meals and staple dishes
Maharashtrian meals (mainly lunch and dinner) are served on a plate called thali. Each food item served on the thali has a specific place. The bhaaji is served in the plate on the right hand side while the chutney, koshimbir are served from left going up the periphery of the circular plate. The papad, bhaaji are served below the koshimbir with the rice and poli served at the bottom of the circle closed to the diner's hand. The puran is served at the top in the inner concentric circle. The amti, rassa is served in separate bowls placed on right hand side of the diner. Water is placed on the left hand side. Traditionally, the food was consumed using the right hand rather than with any cutlery.It is considered ill mannered to use left hand while eating.
The staple dishes of Maharashtrian (nagpur)cuisine are based on bread and rice:
- Ghadichi Poli or chapati - unleavened flat bread made of wheat, more common in urban areas.
- Bhakri - bread made from millets like jowar and bajra, form part of daily food in rural areas.
The bhaajis are vegetable dishes made with a particular vegetable or a combination of vegetables and requires the use of Goda masala, essentially consisting of some combination of onion, garlic, ginger, red chilli powder, green chillies and mustard. Depending on the caste or specific religious tradition of a family, onion and garlic may not be used in cooking. For example, a number of Hindu communities in Maharashtra and other parts of India refrain from eating onion and garlic during Chaturmas (broadly equates to the rainy monsoon season).
A particular variant of bhaaji is the rassa or curry. Vegetarians prepare rassa or curry of potatoes and or caulifower with tomatoes or fresh coconut kernel and plenty of water to produce a soup like preparation than bhaaji. Varan is nothing but plain dal, a common Indian lentil stew. Aamti is variant of the curry, typically consisting of a lentil (tur) stock, flavored with goda masala, tamarind or amshul, jaggery (gul) and in some cases coconut as well. One of the masalas that gives Maharashtrian cuisine its authentic flavor is the goda (sweet) masala or kalaa (black) masala.
Non-vegetarian dishes mainly use chicken, mutton (mainly goat), fish and other seafood. The Kolhapuri taambda rassa (red curry) and pandhra rassa (white curry) of chicken and mutton from the southern city of Kolhapur and the varhadi rassa or (varhadi chicken curry) from the Vidarbha region are especially well known throughout Maharashtra. The coastal regions of Konkan are more famous for the fish and seafood dishes.
A typical Urban Maharashtrian lunch or dinner usually starts with Poli (chapati), accompanied by one or more bhaaji(s) (cooked vegetables) and a koshimbir(vegetable salad) along with some sides(usually pickles, Chutneys, or papad (Poppadom)). This is usually followed by a second course of varan(lightly or unspiced Daal preparation), aamti (spicy Daal preparation) or rassa with rice. As with most of Indian cuisine however, each region and /or community has its own quirks, preferences and variations of the above general format.
Koshimbir is very common and healthy addition to the plate. Typically made from raw vegetables mixed with yogurt and ground roasted peanuts (Danyache Kut). Raitas made with different types of vegetables such as cucumber or carrots are variants of koshimbir.
Appetizers or snacks
There are lots of snack and side dishes in Maharashtrian cuisine. Some quintessentially Maharashtrian dishes are:
- Chivda: Spiced flattened rice. It is also known as Bombay mix in Foreign countries especially Great Britain.
- Pohay: pohay or pohe is a snack made from flattened rice. It is most likely served with tea and is probably the most likely dish that a Maharashtrian will offer his guest. During arranged marriages in Maharashtra, Kanda Pohe (literal translation, pohe prepared with onion) is most likely the dish served when the two families meet. Its so common that sometimes arranged marriage itself is referred colloquially as "kanda-pohay". Other variants on the recipe are batata pohe (where diced potatoes are used instead of onion shreds). Other famous recipes made with Pohe (flattened rice) are 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 unsauteed onion shreds.
- Upma or sanja or upeeth: This snack is similar to the south Indian upma. It is a thick porridge made of semolina perked up with green chillies, onions and other spices.
- Surali Wadi: Chick pea flour rolls with a garnishing of coconut, coriander leaves and mustard.
- Vada pav: Popular Maharashtrian "Fast food " dish consisting of fried mashed-potato dumpling (vada), eaten sandwiched in a Wheat bun (pav). This is referred to as Indian version of burger and is almost always accompanied with the famous red chutney made from garlic and chillies, and fried green chilles. Vada pav in its entirety is rarely made at home, mainly, because oven cooking at home is not common.
- Matar-usal- pav :It is a dish made of green peas in a curry with onions, green chillies and sometimes garlic. Its eaten with a western style leavened bun or pav. Another form of Matar usal is made in konkan areas or by brahmins especially in Pune - this has a gravy of coconut, coriander, ginger-garlic and green chilly ground together and then fried into a Phodni. Some water and green peas are added and boiled till the peas are cooked and have absorbed the taste of all the condiments.
- Misal Pav:Quintessentially from Kolhapur. This is made from a mix of curried sprouted lentils, topped with batata-bhaji, pohay, Chivda, farsaan, raw chopped onions and tomato. Also some times eaten with yogurt. Usually, the misal is served with a Wheat bread bun.
- Pav bhaji: This speciality dish from lanes of Mumbai has mashed steamed mixed vegetables (mainly potatoes, peas, tomatoes, onions and green pepper) cooked in spices and table butter. The vegetable mix is served with soft Wheat bun shallow fried in butter and chopped onion. Sometimes cheese, paneer (cottage cheese) are added.
- Thalipeeth: A type of pancake. Usually spicy and is eaten with curd.
- Zunka-Bhakar: A native Maharashtrian chick pea flour recipe eaten with Bhakri (flat bread made either with bajri (Pearl millet) or Jwari (Millet)
- Sabudana Khichadi: Sauted sabudana (Pearls of sago palm), a dish commonly eaten on days of religious fasting.
- Khichdi: Made up of rice and dal with mustard seeds and onions to add flavor.
- Bakarwadi: This spicy fried pastry is eaten as a tea time snack. Especially popular is that from Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale in Pune.
- Bhadang: Spiced puffed rice.
- Shira Semolina pudding
- Chana daliche dheerde
-  Ghavan.
Kolhapuri misal and the pandhara rassa are some of the common dishes and popular throughout India
Maharashtrian cuisine like most of the Indian cuisines is laced with lots of fritters. Some of them are
- Kothimbir vadi: Coriander (Cilantro) mixed with chick pea flour and Maharashtrian spices. There are plenty of variants of this dishes some deep fried, some stir fried and some steamed.
- "Kobi chya wadya" Cabbage rolls: Shredded cabbage in chick pea flour.
- Kanda Bhaji: onion bhaji fritters, one of the more popularly consumed Maharashtrian dish. It commonly sold by Vada pav vendors.
- "Batata bhaji": Deep fried, fine potato slices coated in chick pea flour batter.
- "Mirchi bhaji": Deep fried, chillies. Some people prefer these coated in chick pea flour batter.
- "Alu wadi": Colocasia leaves rolled in chick pea flour, steamed and then stir fried.
- Mung dal wade
- Sabudana wada
- Surana-chi wadi
- Methi wade made with leaves of Fenugreek plant
Vegetable and lentil preparations
- "Amti" (Sweet and Sour Lentil Curry, made with Tamarind and Jaggery)
- Batatyachi Bhaji (Potato preparations)
- Vangyache bharit Baingan Bharta (Aubergines/Eggplant salad)
- Dalimbya (Beans)
- Farasbichi Bhaji (French beans)
- Palkachi Takatli Bhaji (Spinach cooked in buttermilk)
- Kelphulachi Bhaji (Banana/plantain bloom)
- Fansachi Bhaji (Jackfruit preparation)
- Walache Birdha
Varhadi rassa (Saoji curry)
Saoji curry is a special gravy mainly used in preparing meat dishes. The gravy is commonly used in making chicken and mutton curries, however it can also be used to prepare vegetarian dishes, using potato, paneer or soya chunks. Other meat sources such as pork or beef can also be used. Saoji chicken or mutton is popular for its spicy taste.
Other non-vegetarian preparations popular in Maharashtra include:
- Mutton Kolhapuri Taambda rassa[dead link] (red curry)
- Mutton Kolhapuri Pandhra rassa[dead link] (white curry)
- Chicken Maratha
- Mutton Maratha
Soups and consommes
In Indian cuisine soups are consumed along with the main course. Some popular soups are:
- Solkadhi - prepared from coconut milk and Kokam
- Tomato saar - Maharashtrian spicy tomato soup
- Kokam saar - Soup prepared from dried fruit of Kokam (Garcinia indica)
- Varan - plain non-spicy or lightly spiced daal lentil with split Pigeon pea (Toor dal)
- Katachi Aamti - Sweet, hot and sour soup prepared from Chana or Chickpea dal
Pickles and condiments
- Ambyache lonche (mango pickle)
- Limbache lonche (lemon pickle)
- Awlyache lonche (amla pickle)
- Mohoriche lonche (mustard pickle)
- Ambe-haladiche lonache (fresh turmeric pickle)
- Mirachiche lonache (Chilly Pickle)
Jams and jellies
- Muramba (A kind of preserve, made from jaggery and seasonal fruits)
- Sakhramba (A kind of preserve, made from sugar and seasonal fruits)
- Puran Poli: It is one of the most popular sweet item in the Maharashtrian cuisine. It is made from jaggery (molasses or gur), yellow gram (chana) dal, pain flour, cardamom powder and ghee (clarified butter). It is made at almost all festivals. A meal containing puran poli is considered "heavy" by Marathi people.
- Gulachi Poli : Made specially on Makar Sankranti in typical Brahmin households, the Gulachi poli is a heavy meal similar to the Puran Poli. It is made with a stuffing of soft/shredded Jaggery mixed with toasted, ground Til (white sesame seeds)and some gram flour which has been toasted to golden in plenty of pure Ghee. The dish is made like a paratha i.e. the stuffed roti is fried on Pure ghee till crisp on both side. Tastes heavenly when eaten slightly warm with loads of ghee.
- Modak: is a Maharashtrian sweet typically steamed (ukdiche modak). Modak is prepared during the Ganesha festival around August, when it is often given as an offering to lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God, as it is reportedly his favorite sweet. For more info, visit http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook:Modak. Modak can also be fried with various sweet stuffings.
- Karanji: is a deep fried dumpling with a filling of grated coconut sweetened with jaggery and flavoured with powdered cardamom seeds. It is also known as Kanavale. It is one of the popular sweets prepared for Diwali celebrations.
- Gulab Jaam: are balls made of dense milk (Mava/Khava) and bleached wheat flour fried in ghee (clarified butter) and then dipped in sugar syrup.
- Shevaya chi Kheer: is prepared by cooking shevaya (vermicelli) in milk. The preparation is sweetened with jaggery or sugar, flavoured with powdered cardamom seeds and finally garnished with chopped nuts. Kheer is also made of Rice, Semolina, and Dudhi (white gourd).
- Anarsa : It is made from soaked powdered rice, jaggery or sugar. The traditional process for creating the Anarsa batter could be tedious to modern day homemakers since it takes almost 3 days. First the rice is soaked in water for 3 days - the water needs to be changed every day. After this, the rice needs to be dried slightly leaving slight moisture. The moist rice is then ground into a fine powder - the powder retains the moisture so even though it is powdery in consistency, when pressed together hard in your fist, it tends to retain a shape. This is known as the Pithi. After this the Pithi is mixed with ground refined sugar. If you started with 100gms of dry rice (before soaking), then you need to take 100gms of ground sugar. Mix the two together properly and then with your hands, create cricket-ball sized lumps out of this mix. The moisture in the rice ensures the lumps retain shape. This mix can be stored for a long time at room temperature as long as it is sealed in an airtight container to prevent the moisture from soaking the sugar further. Whenever Anarsas are to be prepared, mash half inch piece of banana and mix into an entire cricket-ball sized lump. The banana ensures the sugar dissolves so be careful not to mix too much of banana. The resultant dough should be very soft yet retain shape. Small flat discs with about 2 inches in diameter are created by flattening a small ball of the dough over a layer of poppy seeds - just on one side. These disks are fried with poppy coated side first into hot ghee.
- Chirota: Made by combination of rawa (Semolina and maida Plain flour
- Jilbi: Sweetened chick-pea flour deep fried in spiral shapes, then coated in sugar syrup.
- Shankarpale: Sweetened flour deep fried in small square/diamond shapes.
- Basundi: Sweetened dense milk dessert.
- Amras: Pulp/Thick Juice made of mangoes, with a bit of sugar if needed and milk at times.
- Shikran: An instant sweet dish made from banana, milk and sugar.
- Shrikhand: Sweetened yogurt flavoured with saffron, cardamom and charoli nuts.
- Narali Bhaat : Sweet rice made using coconut with special flavoring given by cardamon and cloves. This is the special dish for the festival; of Narali Pornima which falls on the Full moon day in the Hindu month of Shravan (August)
- Ladu: It is famous sweet snack in Maharashtra mainly prepared for Diwali
By regions of Maharashtra
The cuisine of Maharashtra is largely influenced by the landscape, the people and the crops grown in various regions. It is not only memorable for its subtle variety and strong flavours, but also because of the legendary hospitality of Maharashtrians. In affluent homes, feasts often start at mid-day and end when the sun turns towards the western horizon.
The people are known for the aesthetic presentation of food, which adds extra allure to the feasts. For instance, in formal meals, it is a practice to sing sacred verses to dedicate the meal to God. The guests sit on floor rugs or red wooden seats and eat from silver or metal thalis and bowls placed on a raised 'chowrang', or a short decorative table. Rangolis or auspicious patterns of coloured powder are drawn around the thali or the chowrang. To avoid mixing flavours, each guest is given a bowl of saffron scented water to dip the fingers in before starting on the next course. There is a specific order of serving of savouries and sweets, curries and rice or rotis, and a person who does not know this is not considered to be well trained in the art of hospitality. Agarbattis spread fragrance everywhere and the host believes the satisfaction of his guests to be his true joy.
Mumbai, the capital of the state of Maharashtra, is a cosmopolitan city and so one can find almost all type of food here. For example, Indian dishes such as Gujarati thali or Udipi Dosa as well as International cuisine such as Chinese. Vada pav and Pav bhaji may be regarded specifically as dishes that originated in Mumbai.
The traditional crops of the coastal Konkan region are coconuts, mangoes, cashews, rice and a variety of pulses. The region also grows a great quantity of kokum, a sweet-sour fruit. It is used as the souring agent in curries in place of tamarind or tomatoes. Kokum is also used on its own for making a soup. Fish and seafood is available in Konkan in vast varieties and in abundant supply. All these ingredients find place in the traditional Konkani food. A typical Konkani meal, therefore, will have fish curry served with rice. Those who are lacto-vegetarians will again have rice as their staple with vegetables and lentils. Popadams prepared from rice floor are also a Konkani specialty.
This region is rich in sugarcane fields, rice paddies and milk. Well-irrigated farms produce plump, juicy fruit and vegetables throughout the year.
In the winter months, coconut kernels cooked in sugar syrup and eaten with peanuts and fresh chana is a popular dish. Winter also means plenty of milk, and typical milk sweets like basundi, masala milk, shreekhand and kheer. It is a social event in these areas to go to the riverbank for a picnic or row down the river to eat young roasted corn-cobs (hurda) of Indian millet(jwari) with hot garic/chill chutney. Milk, nuts, rough bhakaris (flat bread) of jwari (millet), hot meat curries and chilli-spiked snacks are favourite foods here.
Vidarbha's cuisine is usually spicier than that of the coastal and southern regions. The ingredients commonly used are besan, or chickpea flour, and ground peanuts.
Home of Marathas, Pune is a historic city. The food of these communities is delicate, sparsely designed and lacto-vegetarian. Puneri misal, thalipeeth, Puri bhaji and Dalimbi usal are regarded inexpensive but tasty and nutritious at the same time. However, since Pune is a large metropolitan city with diverse population, regional food from all parts of India and beyond is available in the city. Bakarwadi is another snack popular in Pune.
Kolhapur is as famous for its spicy mutton curries as its Mahalaxmi temple or palaces. Popularly called 'Matnacha rassa', red-hot mutton dish is served with a white gravy to dilute its pungency and. chappatis . A chilli red gravy for the mutton curry is popular for those who like hot curries.. Kolhapuri misal is one of the spiciest dish.Kolhapuri "Pandhar rassa" is one of the popular dish in Kolhapur containing bone stock which is highly calcium rich. "Kolhapuri Thecha" is one of the famous spicy item made from green chilly, onion, garlic, salt and some other spices.
As a result of the long Islamic Moghul rule in the region, the cuisine of Auguranbad has been highly influenced by the North Indian method of cooking, . Aurangabad's food is much like Moghlai or Hyderabadi food, with its fragrant pulaos and biryanis. Meat cooked in fresh spices and herbs is a speciality, as are the delectable sweets.
The city of Nagpur inherits a glorious history and varied rich cultural influences and has burgeoned in recent times as a gourmet city. There are unusual snacks, curries, pulaos and sweets to pamper avid eaters. The food is generally spicy, with a good amount of ghee, and peanuts, dried copra and dal are often the basis of the flavours. Nagpur is also famous for its spicy non-veg preparations known as Saoji preparations, that are generally made by using clove-pepper paste instead of red chilli powder.
The city of Solapur has a mixed culture of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh & Karnataka. The most popular dish is Shengachi poli or Groundnut bread, which is sweet bread or poli just like Puran poli. Another popular item to accompany many dishes is peanut chutney or spicey mixture of crushed peanuts, red chili powder salt, and other spices. Solapur being one of the biggest cultivators of Jowar in India, one can enjoy crisp Jowar bread. Solapur is also famous for its "Khara Mutton" (Mutton Achar) or salty goat curry.
Jalgoan is known as the district of Banana and sugercane. Popular dishes include Shevanchi Bhaji, wange bharit(Baingan Barthaor roasted eggplant/aubergine preparation), Udchali dal also known as "Ghute" (Urid Daal), Bharleli wangi( Stuffed Brinjal), Thecha (Mix of Garlic and Green chilies) to accompany many dishes, Bhakari (flat white millet bread) and spicy mutton.This place is known for its wide variety of Papads which includes Papads of Jowar,Udid,Nagli(Nachani),Rice,Potatoes etc. In This region people prepare a snack that translates "Wheat Flakes". Brinjal (eggplant/aubergine) is major crop in the district here and therefore finds widespread use in regular meals as well as special occasion meals. The majority of the population in the district belongs to the peasant farmer community called Leva Patils (eg. Dhake )and so their traditional food is very simple.
Maharashtrians celebrate their festivals with characteristic fervour and food forms an integral part of the celebrations.
Sweetmeats are identified with particular festivals:
Diwali inspires a variety mouth-watering preparations like karanji, chakli, kadboli, anarasa, shankarpali, chirota, shev, chivda and varieties of ladoos like Dink ladoo, Besan ladoo, shingdana ladoo, Rava ladoo, and so on are consumed in Maharashtrian households by children and adults alike. Diwali is considered one of the most auspicious festivals in Maharashtra.
Marathi Hindu people hold a fast on this day. The fasting food on this day includes chutney prepared with pulp of the kavath fruit (Limonia).
On this spring festival day, people enjoy a puran poli, a sweet, stuffed chappati made of channa dal and refined flour (maida), served warm with clarified butter or a bowl of milk or sweentened coconut milk.
Other delicacies prepared exclusively for festival days are shrikand, motichur ladoo, basundi and kheer.
A large number of Marathi Hindu people hold fast on days like Ekadashi in honour of Lord Vishnu or his Avatars, Chaturthi in honour of Ganesh, Mondays in honour of Shiva, or Saturday in honour of Maruti or Saturn. Only a certain kinds of foods are allowed to be eaten. These include milk and milk products, fruit, sago (sabudana), potatoes, nuts such as peanuts, purple-red sweet potatoes (called ratali in Marathi) and varyache tandul (Shama millet). Thus a calorie and carbohydrate- rich fasting menu can be prepared by selecting from the items listed above. Popular fasting dishes include Sabudana khichadi or peanut soup (danyachi amti). Peanuts and most of the "allowed" starches for fasting such as sago or potatoes originate outside India.
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