Maharashtrians are mostly, meat eaters. The cuisine includes subtly flavoured vegetarian delicacies and hot, aromatic meat and fish curries. Their crunchy, crisp sweets are made mostly from rice and jaggery. The exotic 'Konkani' and 'Malwani' cuisines also have their origins in the coastal parts of this region and are sea-food based.

As in most of the other states of India, rice is the basic food grain in Maharashtra too. Like the other coastal states, there is an enormous variety of vegetables in the regular diet and lots of fish and coconuts are used. Grated coconuts spice many kinds of dishes, but coconut oil is not very widely used as a cooking medium. Peanuts and cashewnuts are widely used in vegetables and peanut oil is the main cooking medium. Another feature is the use of kokum, a deep purple berry that has a pleasing sweet and sour taste. Kokum, most commonly used in an appetizer-digestive called the sol kadhi, is served chilled. All non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes are eaten with boiled rice or with bhakris, which are soft rotis made of rice flour. Special rice puris called vada and amboli, which is a pancake made of fermented rice, urad dal, and semolina, are also eaten as a part of the main meal.

The most popular dessert of Maharashtra is the puran poli, which is roti stuffed with a sweet mixture of jaggery and gram flour and is made at the time of the Maharashtrian New Year.

To spice things further, Bombay has it's own set of dishes like 'vada pav'(a fried potato patti sandwiched in a traditional bread bun), 'misal' (lentils in a spicy gravy topped with fried crunchies)and 'pav bhaji' (mixed mashed vegetables served with bread liberally fried in butter) the Indian answers to fast food!

Chaat is probably the most widely eaten food in the city, followed by bhelpuri, pani puri, pav bhaji, and dosa. For those looking for non-vegetarian snacks, there are the Muslim kebabs, baida roti , tandoori chicken, seekh kebabs and fish koliwada. In Mumbai, the entire meal is often followed by paan. Paan is an assortment of dates, beetle-nut, dry grated coconut, saunf, rose-petal jam (gulkand), some spice like clove or cardammom enclosed in a beetle leaf. It is said to be a digestive and coolant.

Coastal Maharashtrian cuisine is largely dependent on freshly ground spices and use coconut abundantly. The ghat areas however use dried spices and masalas and garlic dominates. Be it the aromatic masala bhaat or the ever popular vada pav and Sabudana

Copyright ©2004