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Maharashtrian (or Marathi) cuisine encompasses the cooking styles, traditions and recipes associated with the cuisine of the Marathi people from the state of Maharashtra in India. It has distinctive attributes of its own, but also shares much with the wider Indian cuisine. Maharashtrian cuisine covers a range from having mild to very spicy dishes. Wheat, rice, jowar, bajri, vegetables, lentils and fruit form staples of the Maharashtrian diet. Peanuts and cashews are often served with vegetables. Traditionally, Maharashtrians have considered their food to be more austere than that of other regions in India. Meat has traditionally been used quite sparsely or only by the well off until recently because of economic conditions and culture.
The urban population of Maharashtra in metropolitan cities such as Mumbai, Pune and others have been open to influence of recipes from other parts of India and abroad. For example, the Udupi dishes idli and dosa as well as Chinese and Western dishes are quite popular in home cooking and in restaurants.
- 1 Regular meals and staple dishes
- 1.1 Grains
- 1.2 Dairy
- 1.3 Vegetables
- 1.4 Legumes
- 1.5 Cooking Medium
- 1.6 Spices and herbs
- 1.7 Meat and poultry
- 1.8 Seafood
- 1.9 Miscellaneous ingredients
- 1.10 Food preparation Methods
- 1.11 Typical menus
- 2 Special dishes
- 3 Special occasions and festival delicacies on Hindu festivals
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Regular meals and staple dishes
Location of Maharashtra in India
Map of Maharashtra with different regions and districts
The many communities amongst Marathi people result in a diverse cuisine. This diversity extends to the family level because each family uses its own unique combination of spices. The majority of Maharashtrians do eat meat and eggs, but the Brahmin community is mostly lacto-vegetarian. The traditional staple food on Desh (the Deccan plateau) is usually bhakri, spiced cooked vegetables, dal and rice. Bhakri is an Unleavened bread made using Indian millet (jowar), bajra or bajri. However, the North Maharashtrians and Urban people prefer roti or chapatti, which is a plain bread made with Wheat flour. In the coastal Konkan region, rice is the traditional staple food and wet coconut and coconut milk is used in many preparations. In South Konkan, near Malvan, an independent cuisine has developed called Malvani cuisine, which is predominantly non-vegetarian. Kombdi vade, fish preparations and baked preparations are more popular here.In the Vidarbha region, little coconut is used in daily preparations but dry coconut, along with peanuts, are used in dishes such as spicy savjis or mutton and chicken dishes.
The regular meals and dishes of the Maharashtrian lacto vegetarian cuisine are based on six main class of ingredients. They include grains, legumes, vegetables, dairy products, spices. The non-vegetarian cuisine will include a variety of animal products.
The staple dishes of Maharashtrian cuisine are based on a variety of flat breads and rice. The flat breads can be wheat-based, such as the traditional trigonal Ghadichi Poli or the round chapati more common in urban areas. Bhakri is a bread made from millet, including jwari and Bajri, and forms part of daily meals in rural areas.
Traditionally, the staple grains of the inland Deccan plateau have been the millets, Jwari and Bajri. These crops grow well in this low rain and drought prone region. The staple meal of the rural poor had traditionally been as simple as Bajri Bhakri accompanied by just a raw onion, a dry chutney, or a Gram flour preparation called Jhunka. This meal has, however, become more fashionable among the urban classes too.
Increased urbanization has seen the popularity of wheat increase. Wheat is used for making the flatbreads called chapati, the deep fried version called puri or the thick paratha. One of the ancient sought after bread in Maharashtra was Mande. As with rice the flat breads are accompanied in a meal by a variety of vegetables or dairy items.
Rice is the staple in the rural areas of coastal Konkan region. Rice is also popular in all urban areas. Local varieties like the fragrant Ambemohar has been popular in Western Maharashtra. Rice in most instance is boiled on its own and is part of a meal that will include a variety of other items. A popular simple dish is Varan bhaat where steamed rice is mixed with plain dal made with pigeon peas, lemon juice, salt and ghee. Khichdi is a popular rice dish made with rice, mung dal and spices. For special occasions, a dish called masalebhat made with rice, spices and vegetables is popular.
A high percentage of people in Maharashtra are lacto-vegetarian either by choice or economic necessity. This makes the role of milk very important in the staple food. Both cow milk and water buffalo milk are popular in the state. Milk is used mainly for drinking, to add to tea or coffee or to make homemade yogurt. The yogurt is used as dressing for many salad or Koshimbir dishes, to prepare cultured butter milk or as a side dish in a thali. Butter milk is used for making a drink called Mattha by mixing it with spices or is used in many curry preparations.
Until recently, canned or frozen food was not widely available in Maharashtra and the rest of India. Therefore, vegetables used in a meal depended on the seasonal availability. For example, Spring (March–May) is season of cabbage, onions, potatoes, Okra, Guar Tondali, Shevgyachya shenga, Dudhi, Marrow, and Padwal. The Rainy Monsoon Season (June - September) brings green leafy vegetables, such as Aloo (Marathi: आळू), Gourds like Karle, Dodka and eggplant. Chili peppers, carrots, tomatoes, cauliflower, French beans, peas, etc. become available in the cooler climate of October to February.
Vegetables in Maharashtra are typically used in making Bhaajis. Some Bhaajis are made with a particular vegetable or while others with a combination of vegetables. Bhaajis can be "dry" like stir fry or "wet" like the well known Curry". For example, Fenugreek leaves can be used with mung dal to make a dry bhhaji or mixed with Besan flour and butter milk to make a soup like curry preparation. Bhaaji requires the use of Goda masala, essentially consisting of some combination of onion, garlic, ginger, red chilli powder, green chillies, turmeric and mustard seeds. Depending on the caste or specific religious tradition of a family, onions and garlic are excluded in cooking. For example, a number of Hindu communities in Maharashtra and other parts of India refrain from eating onions and garlic altogether or during Chaturmas (broadly equates to the rainy monsoon season).
Leafy vegetables like Fenugreek, Amaranth, Beetroot, Radish, Dill, Colocasia, Spinach, Ambadi, Chuka, Chakwat, kardai and Tandulja are either cooked in a stir-fry fashion or made into a soup type preparation using buttermilk and gram flour,
Many Vegetables are also used in salad preparations called Koshimbirs or Raita. Most of these have yogurt as the other main ingredient. Koshimbirs popular in Maharashtra include those based on Radish, Cucumber and, Tomato -Onion combination. Many raita require prior cooking of the vegetable by either boiling or roasting as in the case of egg plant. Popular raita includes those based on carrots, egg plant, pumpkin, dudhi and beetroot.
Along with green vegetables, another class of food stuff popular in Maharashtra is various beans, either whole or split. The split beans are called Dal and used in a variety of ways. such as turned into amti or thin soup, added to vegetable such as Dudhi or cooked with rice to make Khichadi. Whole beans are cooked as it is or more popularly soaked in water until sprouted. Unlike Chinese cuisine, the beans are allowed to grow sprouts for only a day or two.Curries made out of sprouted beans are called Usal and form an important source of proteins for the mostly vegetarian population . The beans commonly used in Maharashtra includes peas, Chick peas , Mung , Matki, Urid kidney bean, Black-eyed pea (black eye bean), Hulga or Kulith and Toor (Pigeon peas). Out of the above Toor and Chick peas form part of the staple diet in a variety of ways. The Urid bean is the base for one of the most popular types of Papadum in Maharashtra as well as in other parts of India.
Peanut oil and safflower oil are the primary cooking mediums in Maharashtrian cuisine, although sunflower oil and cottonseed oil are also used. However, depending on the type of food, clarified butter (ghee) is often used to give distinct flavors.
Spices and herbs
Depending on the region, religion and caste, Maharashtrian food can be mild to extremely spicy. The most common base vegetables and herbs in the cuisine are garlic, onion, coriander leaves, ginger, Curry leaves, and green chilli pepper. Spices include asafoetida, turmeric, mustard seeds, coriander, cumin, dried bay leaves, and chili powder. Other spices used especially for Garam masala include cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, cardamon, and nutmeg. Ingredients used in Maharashtrian cuisine to impart sour flavor to the food include yoghurt, tomatoes, tamarind paste, Aamsul skin or unripe mangoes.
Meat and poultry
Chicken and goat are the most popular meats for non-vegetarian dishes in Maharashtra. Eggs are also popular and exclusively come from chicken. sources. Beef and pork are mainly consumed by the Christian minorities and some Maharashtrian Dalit communities, however, do not form part of the traditional Maharashtrian cuisine.
Seafood is a staple for many communities that hail from the coastal Konkan region. Most of the recipes are based on marine fish varieties of different kind, prawns and crabs. A distinct Malvani cuisine of mainly seafood dishes is popular. Popular fish varieties include Bombay duck, Pomfret, Bangda and Surmai /Kingfish. The seafood is used in recipes such as curries, pan-fried and pilaf.
Apart from the ingredients described above, the cuisine makes widespread use of oil seeds such as flax, Karale, coconut, peanuts, almonds and cashew nuts. Peanut powder and whole nuts are used in many preparations including, Chutney, Koshimbir and bhaaji. The more expensive nuts like almonds and cashew are used for sweet dishes. Flax and Karale seeds are used in making dry chutneys. Traditionally, Gul was used as the sweetening agent but that has been replaced by Cane sugar for many recipes. Fruit such as mango are used in many preparations including pickles, jams, drinks and sweet dishes. Bananas and jackfruit are also used in a variety of ways.
Food preparation Methods
Just like cuisine from other parts of India, open stove cooking is the most commonly used method for food preparation for Maharashtrian cuisine. Open stove is used for cooking in many different ways:
- Phodni – often translated as "tempering", is a cooking technique and garnish where spices such as mustard seeds, Cumin seeds and turmeric (and sometimes also other ingredients such as minced ginger and garlic) are fried briefly in oil or ghee to liberate essential oils from cells and thus enhance their flavours, before other ingredients such as vegetables and meat are added to the pan. In Maharashtrian cooking phodni may be the first step in making a bhaaji, aamti or curries or the last as part of garnish.
- Simmering - Most curries and bhaajis are simmered for the meat or vegetables to cook
- Deep frying - This is used for making fritters such as onion bhaji, or sweet fried dumplings (Karanjya)
- Pan frying – This characterized by the use of minimal cooking oil or fat (compared to shallow frying or deep frying); typically using just enough oil to lubricate the pan. This method is used for cooking delicate items such as fish.
- Tawa - This is usually a concave metal pan used on an open stove for making unleavened flatbreads such as ghadichi poli, chapatis or bhakris.
- Steaming - This method is mainly used for specialties such as Ukadiche modak, or aluchya wadya.
- Roasting- The popular dish made with egg plant called vangyache bharit involves roasting of the egg plants prior to mashing and adding other ingredients.
- Pressure cooker cooking - This modern technique is used extensively for shortening the cooking time for lentils, meat and rice in Maharashtrian households.
Other methods of food preparation include:
- Baking - Baking is seldom used at home. The bread buns or pav used in popular street foods such as Vadapav are baked by commercial bakers.
- Microwave -
- Sun Drying - the popular snack papadum and related products called papdya and kurdaya dried in the sun after rolling out. The dried products keep well for many months.
- Fermentation - This is used in Maharashtrian cooking mainly for making yogurt or home-made butter from cream enriched milk.
Urban Maharashtrian menus have wheat and rice in form of chapatis and plain rice respectively as the main part of the menu, whereas the traditional rural household would have millet in form of bhakri on the deccan plains part of Maharashtra and rice on the coastal Konkan as the respective staples.
Typical Maharashtrian breakfast items include Misal, Pohe, upma, Sheera, Sabudana Khichadi and Thalipeeth. These items are also widely available in restaurants and roadside cafes and food carts. In some households the leftover rice from the previous night is fried with onions, turmeric and mustard seeds for breakfast. It is called phodnicha bhat. In addition to the above, typical Western breakfast items such as cereals, sliced bread and eggs, as well as South Indian items such as idli and dosa are also popular. Tea or coffee are also served with breakfast.
The contemporary vegetarian lunch and dinner plate in urban areas will have a combination of the following:
- Wheat Flat bread such as chapati or Ghadichi poli
- Boiled rice
- A salad or Koshimbir based on onions, tomatoes, cucumber etc.
- Papadum or related snacks
- A dry or fresh Chutney, Mango or lemon pickles
- A soup type aamti or varan preparation based on toor dal, other dals or Kadhi
- A vegetable preparation with gravy based on seasonal vegetables such as egg plants, Okra, potatoes, cauliflower etc.
- A dry vegetable preparation mainly based on leafy vegetables such as spinach
- Usal based on sprouted or unsprouted whole legumes
Apart from bread, rice, chutney etc., the other items may be substituted with each other. Families that eat meat, fish and poultry may have a combination of vegetarian and non-veg dishes with rice and chapatis remaining as the staples. All the vegetable or non-veg items are essentially dips for the bread or mixing with the rice.
On the Konkan coastal area, boiled rice is the staple with a combination of the veg and non-veg dishes described under urban in the lunch and dinner menu. In other areas of Maharashtra such as Desh, Marathwada and Vidarbha, the traditional staple was bhakri with combination of dal, and vegetables. The bhakri is increasingly replaced by wheat based chapatis as the staple.
Meat and Poultry
Chicken and goat are the most popular meats for non-vegetarian dishes in Maharashtra. Beef and pork are consumed by different religious minority communities including Christians but do not form part of the traditional Maharashtrian cuisine.
The dishes are prepared in a variety of ways:
- Taambda rassa is a hot spicy goat curry with red gravy from Kolhapur.
- Pandhara rass is also a goat curry from Kolhapur with white gravy based on coconut milk.
- Kheema pav minced goat meat usually eaten with bread roll.
- Popati (पोपटी) - A chicken dish with eggs and val papdi from the Raigad district of the coastal Konkan region.
- Malvani chicken
- Varhadi chicken - A hot chicken curry from the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.
- Kombdi Vade - A recipe from Konkan region. Deep fried flat bread made from spicy rice and urid flour served with chicken curry, more specifically with Malvani chicken curry.
- Chicken mirvani (Sangmeshwari curry)
- Chicken haladvani (Sangmeshwari curry)
- Bheja fry - This a dish made with goat or sheep brain in the Muslim communities of Mumbai
Seafood dishes from coastal Maharashtra
Seafood is a staple for many communities that hail from the coastal Konkan region. Most of the recipes are based on marine fish varieties of different kind, prawns and crabs. A distinct Malvani cuisine of mainly seafood dishes is popular. Popular fish varieties include Bombay duck, Pomfret, Bangda and Surmai /Kingfish. The seafood is used in recipes such as curries, pan-fried and pilaf.
Some popular dishes are:
- Kolambi pulao
- Stuffed crabs
- Crab masala
- Malvani fish curries
- Kolambi masala
- Prawns koliwada
- Fish koliwada - This dish originated in the Koliwada / Sion area of Mumbai. The dish is popular at many Punjabi run restaurants.
- Stuffed Pomfret
- Bombay duck fry
- Prawns fry
- Bangada curry
- Rawasache suke
- Fried Surmai
Curries and gravies eaten with rice
In Maharashtrian cuisine, various vegetable curries or gravies are eaten with rice as part of a complete meal, usually at both lunch and dinner. The level of spice used varies depending on the region as well as family culture. Peanut powder is often added to the many curry recipes. Some popular types include:
- Amti - lentil or bean curry, which is made mainly from Toor dal or other dals/lentils such as mung beans or chickpeas. In many instances, vegetables are added to the amti preparation. A popular amti recipe has drumsticks added to the toor dal.
- Kadhi - This type of "curry" is made from a combination of buttermilk and chickpea flour (besan).
- Solkadhi - This soup is prepared from coconut milk and Kokam, and is a specialty of the cuisine from the coastal region.
- Saar - thin broth like soups made from various dals or vegetables.
Pickles and condiments
- Chutney and preserves - Chutneys and preserves popular in Maharashtra include raw mango chutney, mint, Tamarind chutney, Cilantro, panchamrit, and mirachicha thecha. Dry chutneys include those based on oil seeds such as flax seed, peanut, sesame, coconut and karale (Niger seed). Chutney based on skin of roasted vegetables such as bottle gourd (dudhi) is also popular. All chutneys usually have green or red chilli pepper for their hot taste. Garlic is also added in many chutney recipes.
- Metkut - A dry preparation based on a blend of dry roasted legumes and spices.
- Loncha (pickle)
- Muramba (made with unripe mangoes, spices and sugar)
Traditional offering to a guest in Maharashtra used to be water and jaggery. This has been totally replaced by tea or coffee. These beverages are served with milk and sugar. Occasionally, along with tea leaves, the brew may include spices or just freshly grated ginger, or lemon grass. Coffee is also served with milk. The milk amount can vary from small to being the sole liquid for the coffee. At times coffee may be served with ground nutmeg. Other beverages include:
- Kairi che panhe - A raw mango and jaggery-based drink which is popular during early summer in Maharashtra. Served cold.
- Piyush - A shrikhand and buttermilk based sweet preparation.
- Kokum sarbat - Based kokum and sugar. Served cold.
- Masala taak - Spicy Buttermilk. Served cold.
- Sugar Cane juice - There are roadside establishments throughout Maharashtra that offer freshly squeezed sugarcane juice.
- Banana Smoothie (Kelyache shikran) - This is consumed with chapatis or puri as part of a meal.
- Masala doodh - Sweet and spicy milk.
- Masala soda - A sweet and spicy cola. This is a more recent invention.
Sweets and desserts
Desserts are an important part of Marathi festival and special occasion food. Typical Maharashtrian sweets include lentil & jaggery mix, stuffed flat bread called puran poli, a preparation made from strained yogurt, sugar and spices called shrikhand, a sweet milk preparation made with evaporated milk called basundi, semolina and sugar based kheer, and steamed dumplings stuffed with coconut and jaggery called modak. Traditionally, these desserts were associated with a particular festival, for example, modak is prepared during the Ganpati Festival.
- Puran Poli It is one of the most popular sweet items in the Maharashtrian cuisine. It is a buttery flatbread stuffed with jaggery (molasses or gur), yellow gram (chana) dal, plain flour, cardamom powder and ghee (clarified butter). It is made at almost all festivals. Puranpoli is usually served with a sweet and sour dal preparation called Katachi amti or milk. In rural areas of Maharashtra, it used to be served with a thin hot sugar syrup called gulawani .
- Modak: It is a Maharashtrian sweet dumpling that is steamed (ukdiche modak)  or fried. 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. The sweet filling inside a modak is made up of fresh grated coconut and jaggery, while the soft shell is made from rice flour, or wheat flour mixed with khava or maida flour. The dumpling can be fried or steamed. The steamed version, called ukdiche modak, is eaten hot with ghee.
- Chirote: Made by a combination of rawa (semolina) and maida (plain flour)
- Anarsa: It is made from soaked powdered rice with jaggery or sugar. The traditional process for creating the Anarsa batter could be tedious to modern-day homemakers since it takes three days.
- Basundi: Sweetened dense milk dessert.
- Amras: Pulp or thick juice made from mangoes, with a bit of sugar if needed and milk at times.
- Shrikhand: Sweetened yogurt flavoured with saffron, cardamom and charoli nuts. Shrikhand-Puri is prepared on Gudhipadwa (Marathi new year).
- Amrakhand: Shrikhand flavoured with mango, saffron, cardamom and charoli nuts.
- Ladu: These are a popular snack in Maharashtra traditionally prepared for Diwali. There are a number of different ladus based on semolina, gram flour or bundi.
- Pedha: Round balls made from a mixture of khoa, sugar and saffron.
- Amba barfi is a specially made dessert dish that is made from mango pulps. It is delicious by itself.
- Gul Poli: A stuffed wheat flat bread with gul paste
- Amba poli or Mango Poli: A poli (flat bread) made of wheat flour with added flavor of real Mango.
- Phanas Poli (Jackfruit poli): A poli (flat bread) made of wheat floor with added flavor of phanas (jackfruit).
- Chikki - A sugar peanut or other nut preparation.
- Narali paak - A sugar and coconut cake.
- Dudhi halwa -A traditional dessert made with Doodhi and milk.
Popular Street food, restaurant and home made Snacks
In many metropolitan areas of Maharashtra, including Mumbai and Pune, the pace of life makes fast food very popular. The most popular forms of fast food amongst Marathi people in these areas include bhaji, vada pav, misalpav and pav bhaji. More traditional dishes are sabudana khichadi, pohe, upma, sheera and panipuri. Most Marathi fast food and snacks are purely lacto-vegetarian in nature.
Some Maharashtrian dishes including sev bhaji, misal pav and patodi are distinctly regional dishes within Maharashtra.
Maharashtrian snacks and street foods are very popular throughout the state, but most especially in Mumbai. The variety and types of snacks and street food is diverse and can be either sweet or savory in nature.
- Chivda: Spiced flattened rice. It is also known as "Bombay mix" in foreign countries, especially in the UK.
- Pohe: 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/her 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. It is so common that sometimes arranged marriage itself is referred colloquially as "kanda-pohay". Other variants on the recipe include 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 unsautéed onion shreds.
- Upma, sanja or upeeth: This snack is similar to the South Indian upma. It is a thick porridge made from semolina perked up with green chillies, onions and other spices.
- Surali Wadi: Chickpea flour rolls with a garnishing of coconut, coriander leaves and mustard.
- Vada pav: A popular Maharashtrian "Fast Food" dish consisting of a fried mashed potato dumpling (vada), eaten sandwiched in a wheat bread bun (pav). This is referred to as the Indian version of a burger and is almost always accompanied with the famous red chutney made from garlic and fried red and green chillies. Vada pav in its entirety is rarely made at home, mainly, because baking at home is not common.
- Pav bhaji is a Maharashtrian fast food dish consisting of a vegetable curry (Marathi:bhaji) served with a soft bread roll (pav)c.,
- 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. It is also sometimes eaten with yogurt. Usually, the misal is served with a wheat bread bun.
- Thalipeeth: A type of Flat bread. It is usually spicy and eaten with curd. It is a popular traditional breakfast flat bread that is prepared using bhajani, a mixture of many different varieties of roasted lentils.
- Sabudana Khichadi: Sautéed sabudana (pearls of sago palm), a dish commonly eaten on days of religious fasting.
- Sabudana vada : A deep fried snack based on sabudana. It is often served with spicy green chutney and along with hot chai and is best eaten fresh.
- Khichdi: Made up of rice and dal with mustard seeds and onions to add flavor.
- Chana daliche dheerde - a savory crepe made with chana dal.
Like most Indian cuisines, Maharashtrian cuisine is laced with lots of fried savories. Some of them include:
- Aluchi vadi is prepared from Colocasia leaves rolled in chickpea flour, steamed and then pan fried.
- Kothimbirichi Vadi - made with Cilantro leaves
- Bhelpuri: Bhelpuri (Marathi भेळ) is a savoury snack, and is also a type of chaat. It is made of puffed rice, chopped vegetables like tomatoes and onions, and a tangy tamarind sauce. Bhelpuri is often associated with the beaches of Mumbai, such as Girguam or Juhu. Bhelpuri is thought to have originated within the cafes and street food stalls of Mumbai, and the recipe has spread to most parts of India where it has been modified to suit local food availability. It is also said to be originated from Bhadang (भडंग), a spicy puffed rice dish from Western Maharashtra. Dry Bhel is made from Bhadang.
- Sevpuri : A type of chaat. It is a speciality that originates from Mumbai. In Mumbai, sev puri is strongly associated with street food, but is also served at upscale locations. Recently, supermarkets have started stocking ready-to-eat packets of sev puri and similar snacks like bhelpuri.
- Ragda pattice: Ragda pattice is a popular fast food which forms part of the street food of Mumbai. It originates from the city of Mumbai. This dish is usually served at restaurants that offer Indian fast food along with other dishes available through the day. It is also a main item on menus of food stalls which scatter the city at busy places. This dish has two parts: ragda, a spicy stew based on dry peas , and fried potato patties.
- Dahipuri :Snack which is especially popular in the state of Maharashtra, India. The dish is a form of chaat and originates from the city of Mumbai. It is served with mini-puri shells, which are more popularly recognized from the dish pani puri. Dahi puri and pani puri chaats are often sold from the same vendor.
Special occasions and festival delicacies on Hindu festivals
This festival being based on the solar calendar always falls on January 14 of the Gregorian calendar. Maharashtrians exchange tilgul or sweets made of jaggery and sesame seeds along with the customary salutation, Tilgul ghya aani god bola, which means "Accept the Tilgul and be friendly. Tilgul Poli or gulpoli are the main sweet preparations made on the day in Maharashtra. It is a wheat-based flat bread filled with sesame seeds and jaggery.
As part of this festival that falls on a full moon evening in March or April, a bonfire is lit which symbolizes the end of winter and also the slaying of a demon in Hindu mythology. In Maharashtra, people make puran poli as the ritual offering to the holy fire.
Modak is the favorite food of the elephant-headed Hindu god, Ganesh. An offering of twenty-one pieces of this sweet preparation is offered on Ganesh Chaturthi and other minor Ganesh-related events.* Modak is a steamed dumpling filled with a coconut and jaggery filling. In some instances, the modak is deep-fried instead of steamed.
Just like most other parts of India, Diwali is one of the most popular Hindu festivals. In Maharashtrian tradition, during days of Diwali, family members have a ritual bath before dawn and then sit down for a breakfast of fried sweets and savory snacks. These sweets and snacks are offered to visitors to the house during the multi-day festival and exchanged with neighbors. Typical sweet preparations include Ladu, Anarse, Shankarpali and Karanjya. Popular savory treats include chakli, shev and chiwda. Being high in fat and low in moisture, these snacks can be stored at room temperature for many weeks without spoiling.
Many Maharashtrian communities from all social levels observe the "Khandoba Festival" or Champa Shashthi in the month of Mārgashirsh. This is a six-day festival, from the first to sixth lunar day of the bright fortnight. Households perform Ghatasthapana of Khandoba during this festival. The sixth day of the festival is called Champa Sashthi. For many people, the Chaturmas period ends on Champa Sashthi. As it is customary for many families not to consume onions, garlic and eggplant (Brinjal/Aubergine) during the Chaturmas, the consumption of these food items resumes with ritual preparation of Vangyache Bharit (Baingan Bharta) with rodga, which are small round flat breads prepared from jwari (white millet).
Traditional Marathi Hindu Wedding Menu
Until a few decades ago, the traditional menu among Maharashtrian Hindu communities for wedding day used to be a lacto-vegetarian fare with mainly multiple courses of rice dishes with different vegetables and dhals. Some menus also included a course with puris. In some communities, the first course was varanbhat (plain rice and dal) with masala rice (Masale bhat) served in the next course. The main meal typically ended with plain rice and mattha. Some of the most popular curries to go with this menu and also with other festivals were those prepared from taro (Marathi: अलउ) leaves. Buttermilk, with spices and coriander leaves, called mattha is served to go down with the meal. Popular sweets to go with the wedding menu were shreekhand, Boondi Ladu, and jalebi (Jilebi in Marathi).
Hindu Fasting cuisine
A large number of Marathi Hindu people hold fasts on days, such as Ekadashi, in honour of Lord Vishnu or his Avatars, Chaturthi in honour of Ganesh, Mondays in honour of Shiva, or Saturdays in honour of Maruti or Saturn. Only certain kinds of foods are allowed to be eaten. These include milk and other dairy products (such as yogurt), fruit, sago (sabudana), potatoes, nuts (such as peanuts), purple-red sweet potatoes (called ratali in Marathi), rajgira (Amaranth seeds), 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 danyachi amti (peanut soup).
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