One of my favorite cuisines is Maharashtrian food for the simplicity and ease of cooking and consuming. It gives you a perfect mix of tasty and healthy food. Take a look at what all you are yet to try from this list:
Undoubtedly it tops the list; it is almost synonymous with Mumbai. This is a regular snack of millions of people living in dream city. Rich, middle class, poor, the habit of vadapav is common. For some, it is a daily morning ritual; for others, an evening snack; for rest it is an anytime available friend. The strong garlic taste, with green chilies on the side, the batatavada in the pav is all that you need on a rainy day. You can hear your hungry stomach say Thank you when you need that quick instant meal on road side.
The ravishing red-orange bhaji (mashed vegetables in lots of tomatoes) garnished with coriander and lemon along with buttered pav (bread) is the best ever meal. Good mood, bad mood, no mood, this dish can hardly disappoint you. There are many distorted versions of the dish across the country. Though, I hope that in Mumbai there is very minimal chance of anyone going wrong with it! Do Try!
History – This was originally a laborers meal. A labor force worked in a mill and for their lunch they needed whole some food which was filling and gave them the energy to work for second half. So it’s a lunch meal where the buttered pav provides you the carbs and energy and bhaji is a cheap alternative where you mash all available vegetables (primarily potatoes) to make thick tomato gravy to have with pav.
It is also a common snack available throughout the streets. It is a fried potato ball wrapped in besan, consumed with green chutni, garlic chutni and green chilies. It is the key ingredient of vadapav. (Batata is potato in Maharashtra).
It is also known as Kachhi dabeli as it renders its roots to Kutch, region in Gujarat. But it has been adopted my Mumbai and Pune with so much ease that it has become one of the popular dishes here among students, professionals, anybody walking by the roadside. It is a bun which has dabeli masala (mixture), served with garlic/tamarind chutney. Masala is the key to its taste which comprises of potato, red chili, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, lemon and coriander seeds, peanuts and sev. It has various formats like cheese dabeli, butter dabeli, spicy, non- spicy etc. All of them are garnished with coriander, pomegranate and sev on top.
It is another must have and was a part of my everyday snack during my 2 years spent in Pune.
5. Bombay Sandwich
There are 2 kinds of sandwiches popular in Mumbai. One is which you get on small cycle kiosks around every corner, they have two variants 1. In raw bread 2. Toasted bread; these are simple small white bread sandwiches, cut into 4 pieces – stuffed with boiled potato slices, tomato, onion, cucumber and beetroot along with butter and mint-coriander chutney spread. It is a popular morning, evening snack among service/working class. It is more popular because it is pocket friendly. Even though it is not the richest-in-taste sandwich around, you wouldn’t mind trying, as it gives you the joy of simple taste in life.
The second sandwich, known as the Bombay CLUB sandwich, has tasteful and hearty connotation. It is immediately defined by its huge size, 3 slices of sandwich bread (double the size of normal bread), loads of cheese (on top and inside) and hot chips on the side. The ingredients are more or less same – Tomato, onion, cucumber and additional cheese which makes a huge difference. Also, it is grilled which gives it that classy edge. It is one wholesome combination of healthy vegetables and tasty carbohydrates for a yummy stomach-fill.
It is available @Chowpatty beach and small shops in regular markets.
It is another popular snack to rub off the in between hunger pangs. A popular dish which found its way in all other states quickly because it is quick, easy and tasty solution to anytime hunger. How to make it – get all ingredients (purchase them from market, rather than preparing them at home like earlier times), put everything in a bowl, add chutneys, MIX and EAT!
I think it is associated a lot more to girls because of its ingredients like keri (raw mango, chutneys- tamarind and coriander). It is a low calorie snack. I wonder if dieticians suggest this to all ‘I want to lose weight’ gang of girls 😉
7. Sevpuri/Sev puri dahi puri (SPDP)
Sev puri is one of the favorite evening snacks for people who go out for their evening walks/ take their kids out to play and at times who just get out of the house specially to eat sev puri. It is a quick and light snack – where they use 5-6 pieces of gol gappe or mathri and add boiled potato, onion, tomato, keri, chutneys- sweet and sour, coriander leaves and lots of nylon sev (very thin sev) to top it all. It is mouthwatering indeed!
SPDP is a variant of sev puri with curds added to it.
8. Misal pav
We already know that Mumbaikars/punekars love pav and they would pretty much consume anything with it. Here is another locally consumed pav dish called ‘misal pav’. Misal is a spicy curry served with pav. It contains sprouts (aka matki in Maharshtra), chiwda mixture, fasrsan, sev, raw cut onions, lemon and coriander. It has an overpowering taste of the mixture in slightly thick red chilli gravy. It is a different and yet again easy to prepare meal. Delight yourself with the spicy local dish!
There are many variants to it like sev missal, dahi missal etc which varies from one city to another in Maharashtra!
9. Ragda patties
It is one of the most relished Indian fast foods snacks. It is consumed from North to south under different names. In North it is called aaloo tikki (and has its variant like tikki with chutney, chhole tikki, sukhi tikki etc). This is widely available at local vendors near bus stop or crowded market or at halwai (sweet) shop.
In Mumbai, it is one of its kind, they call it ragda patties; ragda refers to the gravy made from boiled dry peas with onion, tomato and various spices and patties refers to the tikki (cutlet) made from boiled potatoes. They spread hot peas gravy on top of tikki along with chutneys and raw cut onion and then relish it!
10. Pav bhaji pulao
It is a variant of a normal pulao, where we cook rice and vegetables together. Pav bhaji pulao, the rice and bhaji are cooked separately and later mixed and tava fried together. It is a good spicy substitute to a regular pea’s pulao.
It is a very thin methi ka paratha which comes with pickle in a small packet. It is also a borrowed snack from Gujarat but has become a regular part of Mumbai/pune finger food. Often you will find people carrying lots of Thepla in trains with pickle while travelling for a day or so in tains/buses and even in planes .
It is the only odd item on the list because this is a drink. A fresh and tangy tasting kokam drink can make your dull day better in summers. It is called kokam as it is made from kokam fruit, similar to a tomato in appearance.
It is the yummy chilled sweet yoghurt that Marathis vouch for. It is made of strained curds, sugar and garnished with cardamom or saffron. Traditionally, to prepare shrikhand, yoghurt is tied in a cotton cloth and left under pressure to drain. It is also available in flavors – mango shrikhand is the most popular flavor in its season.
I know poha is at first instant related to Indore and then to any other city in India. But, let me throw some light here, Mumbaikars/Pune folks are not far behind in Poha consumption. They love their Poha breakfasts and it is like a morning celebration in various pockets of these cities where you see Poha as one of the key dishes in the breakfast spread. It is known as matar (peas) Poha which is garnished with nylon sev and coriander and is a heavy selling breakfast item on road side kiosks, small shops and Shetty restaurants.
15. Sabudana vada
This is almost like an aaloo tikki in look and feel, just that it has an additional ingredient i.e. sabudana which makes it taste different. Sabudana enhances its taste. It is deep fried tikki and tastes fantastic with coriander chutney. It is also one of the most consumed dishes in hindu households during navratra fasts.
16. Sabudana khichdi
This is a very simple and quickly made dish. Sabudana is soaked overnight. Then in the morning, in one tea spoon oil add jeera, small cut potatoes, salt, green chilli, peanuts and sabudana; and your sabudana khichdi is ready. This is also consumed during navratra fasts. It is an abundant source of starch and carbohydrates.
There are many other version of this dish, where people also add onions and tomatoes to make it suit their taste buds.
Unlike south India, where idli sambar originates, Mumbai/ Pune adapted to their own breakfast habit as idli-chutney. They serve you idli along with diluted coconut chutney for breakfast on road side kiosks. And at many restaurants, you can opt only for idli chutney or order extra sambar, as per your taste and liking.
18. Aam-rus puri
It is as simple and straight forward a dish as its name suggests – take mango pulp in a bowl and serve it with puris. It is one of the most loved meals in Western India! Mango season is celebrated with Aam-rus meals in families!
19. Pithla bhakri
It is a food known to be consumed by peasants of Maharashtra. Pithla stands for the thick besan (gram flour gravy) with garlic flavor. Bhakri is the jowar ki roti which has a coarse texture, mostly consumed in western India (Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and some parts of Karnataka). The dish is served with thecha i.e. chutney made of crushed chilies and garlic in oil.
It is among one of my favorite dishes and you must have it on your way back from Sinha-gad trek, at a small dhaba which creates the right environment for the dish to be relished, when you are just so exhausted and famished!
At last, the most drooled over dish in Mumbai, Pune or perhaps most of Maharashtra! It serves you the classic taste of sugar and salt in a single serving and makes you fall in love with the dish! Many people at first hesitate to even try the combination but eventually find that the taste only grows on them. A typical puran-poli is a sweet paratha made by stuffing jaggery and boiled chick peas in a chapatti (where the dough is prepared using flour, milk and ghee)! It is often served with additional ghee on the side and consumed with jeera-potato and curds as side dish in Mumbai/ Pune.
P.S. – I am hungry! Are you?
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