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,batata wada and "Kande-pohe".
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, bhaji 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. 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.
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 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.
There are lots of snack , Sweets and side dishes in Maharashtrian cuisine. Some quintessentially Maharashtrian dishes are Pohe, Vada Paav, Upma, Chivda, Surali Vadi, Misal Pav,Pav Bhaji,ThaliPith, Sheera, Khichadi, Moda,Lonache (Pickle),SolKadi,Alu Wadi, Kanda Bhaji , Puran Poli, GumabJaam, Shrikhand, Kheer, Basundi