The first thing which comes to our mind when we think of Mumbai, for instance, is Vada Pav.And rightly so, because in Maharashtra and especially Mumbai Vadas are regarded as a speciality as they are known to have originated there. Maharashtrian food is an exciting play of desi masalas, using some of the most basic food items cooked in diversified styles. It is interesting to see that different regions within the state cook up their own exclusive versions of a standard dish. Thanks to the confluence of people and cultures in Maharashtra, the USP of its food is the use of spice as Maharashtrian’s just cannot do without their chilli.
Urban menus typically have wheat in the form of chapatis and plain rice as the main staples. Traditional rural households would have millet in form of bhakri on the Deccan plains and rice on the coast as respective staples. Bread is also given a lot of significance in a staple Maharashtrian diet and you have vadas, pavs and polis served along with almost every dish. The majority of Maharashtrians eat meat and eggs, but the Brahmin community is mostly lacto-vegetarian and their dishes are usually based on vegetables, legumes, dairy products, spices and grains.
Typical breakfast items include pohe, upma, sheera, chiwda, sabudana khichadi and thalipeeth. In some households leftover rice from the previous night is fried with onions, turmeric and mustard seeds for breakfast, making phodnicha bhat. Misal Pav is another Maharashtrian favourite which is a must try for all those whose palate is satisfied only when it gets a burst of spicy and tangy flavours and leaves your tongue tingling for more.
A standard lunch or dinner in a Marathi household will consist of boiled rice, chapati or bhakri, koshimbir or salad, papadum or similar dry snacks, aamti or varan soup/dal and vegetables or meat with gravy as an accompaniment to the bread. There may even be two vegetable or meat dishes, one with gravy and another dry one, depending on the appetite of the person or the occasion.
The famous dishes of Maharashtra depend on the region you’re in. In Mumbai, due to the cosmopolitan nature, the pure Maharashtrian effect has worn off a little and Vada Pav and Pav Bhaji are the popular dishes here. In Kolhapur, Taambda rassa, a hot spicy goat curry with red gravy and Pandhara rassa another goat curry with white coconut-milk-based gravy are famous. Pune Misal, Thalipeeth, Puri Baji and Dalimbi Usal are the standards in Pune along with Bhakarwadi, a popular snack in the city. The most well-known dish of Solapur is Shengachi Poli or groundnut bread which is sweet in flavour. Nagpur is famous for its spicy non-vegetarian preparations made with clove-pepper paste instead of red chilli powder. Fish and all other types of seafood are plentiful in the Konkan region and are a delicacy here. Due to the long Mughal rule in Aurangabad, its food is similar to Hyderabadi or Mughlai cuisine with mouth-watering biryanis and pulaos.
It’s not always that the cuisine of a specific place may be to your taste and liked by you, but beverages are something which almost everyone ends up enjoying irrespective of their developed taste.