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Maharashtrian

It’d been a beautiful journey so far with the ‘Royal Cuisine Trail’ and it wasn’t yet over for us yet. We headed out from Bhopal to Dhar which is about 70 Kms from Indore. With a quick pit-stop on the Indore Highway for lunch, it wasn’t until evening that we were welcomed in the Bada Bangla in Dhar. Dhar as a city was beautiful with the it’s picturesque lakes and barren lands surrounded with trees. As I wandered to the top of the Dhar Fort to watch the sun setting over the city, I could only marvel at the architectural might the Pawars had.

Royal Cuisine Trail - Dhar

View From Dhar Fort

We were welcomed at the Bada Bangla which is still being restored. The vast cultural history that adorned the Bada Bangla was astounding. From books in the library from as early as the 18th century to the numerous stuffed tigers spread across the bungalow. There was also a detailed mini structure of the Mandu Kingdom in the lawns.

Bada Bangla

Invitation

The evening was eventful as we were received by Maharaja of Dhar, Hemendra Singh Rao Pawar and Maharani Shailaraje Pawar at their home. Now for a bit of insight into the culinary history of Dhar which takes it’s influence from the Konkan Maratha style of cooking. The cuisine gives a whole lot of priority to homemade masalas bringing along a fusion of north and south style of Marathas. All of the dishes prepared that night dates back to the Maharaja’s grandmothers. She realized that these royal and historical recipes would soon be forgotten hence she hand wrote all the recipes and handed over these copies to all her three daughters and two daughter-in-laws.

With The Maharaja and Maharani of Dhar

Maharaja and Maharani of Dhar

The starters for the night Bheja Kachori and Sawal Machli ke Kebab. The Bheja Kahori especially were outstanding. A crisp brown outer covering with soft and deliciously spiced brains, this was a snack worth reaching out for another. I really liked the fresh green chutney which was served alongside which goes on to play a major role later.

Bheja Kachori and Sawal Machli ki Kebab

The dining room had been set as per Indian traditions. The seating was on the floor with the silver plates placed on a higher stool to enable proper eating. The Maharaja was personally there to supervise as we washed our hands over a bowl covered in Ashoka leaves. The food served at Dhar is one that I’ve had innumerable times in Maharashtra but better. Arranged along the thali were Aloo ki Bhaji, Pathawadi ki Rassa, Hari Mirch ki Amtii and Kakdi Raita.

The Royal Cuisine Trail - Dhar (1)

These are all traditional Konkan food which are part of most Maharashtrian homes. But it’s to the hara chutney (Green Chutney) that I had mentioned earlier that I shall now elaborate on. The same chutney was used in marination of the Pomfret fish which was absolutely divine. As Shrimant Jaishree Raje Deokar, the Maharaja’s sister informed us that the fish goes through a double marination and then is grilled in between to soak in all of the flavors. The other fish that night on our plate was the Laal Masale ki Surmai, a simple preparation of the seer fish.

Laal Masale ki Surmai

A Konkan thali is incomplete without the Sol Kadi made from kokum and coconut milk, a perfect respite from the heat. We ended the meal with some classic desserts featuring the Puran Poli, Rave ke Sheera and Chawal ki Kheer.

That night after the lovely meal we headed onwards to Mandavgad, a now ruined city which has been classified a UNESCO world heritage city. But more on that in another blogpost. The culinary history we got to discover through the ‘Royal Cuisine Trail’ was spell-binding. From endless discussions on Indian Family History, rides among the ruins of erstwhile kingdoms and road trips filled with knowledge worth a lifetime. These are memories worth treasuring.

Other Posts of ‘Royal Cuisine Trail’ are as below:

Limdi – http://www.fooddrifter.in/travel/limdi/
Bhopal – http://www.fooddrifter.in/travel/bhopal/
Bhainsrorgarh – http://www.fooddrifter.in/travel/bhainsrorgarh/

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Mumbai is my home, a city very close to my heart. My childhood was spent gorging on delicacies sent over by our neighbors. So Maharashtrian dishes were ones with which I started my food journey. These are the flavors I identify myself with.

With an invite to the Maharashtrian Food Festival at Hyatt Gachibowli, I was ecstatic. This is one of the many cuisines that you don’t get to relish so often in Hyderabad. With Chef Santosh visiting from Hyatt Pune, the flavors had to be authentic. We first started off with the dry chutney that Chef Santosh had brought along with him for the festival. Maharashtrain Cuisine is as much about the chutney on the side as the main dish itself. They hold a great deal of influence and the chutneys featured Shengadana,Til, Karlachi, Jawas and Medhkut. There were also the Bombil Chutney made with dried Bombay Duck fish which was delicious. 

Chutneys

After all it was a Maharashtrian Food Festival and the unofficial national street food of Mumbai had to feature prominently. Vada Pav is one snack I absolutely adore. The one made in Hyatt Gachibowli had all the ingredients of a Mumbai-style Vada Pav. Coriander Green Chutney, Tamarind Garlic Chutney and a sprinkle of the dry peanut garlic chutney…this was Vada Pav at it’s best. Vada Pav as a snack is very commonly available but no one in the city of Hyderabad come close to making the original.

Vada Pav

The other snack among the starters were the Kothimbir Vadi. The Kothimbir Vadi is made with Coriander and Chickpea flour which are then steamed first. Once set, the vadis are then deep fried and served piping hot. These are insanely addictive to pop-in as a snack.

Appetizers

We then moved on to the appetizers of Chicken Sukka which was a Malvani style of dry chicken and is a hot and spicy preparation which can be had both as a starter and along with the main course. As we gradually made our way to the main course, I headed towards the Kolhapuri Chicken Counter. Kolhapuri food by itself is really spicy and packs a punch. Thankfully Chef Santosh had dialled down on the spiciness quotient although it still had the lovely color from the red chilies.

The other dish which deserves special mention from the Maharashtrian Food Festival was the Puneri Dal. A very simple preparation of lentils, this was simply superb along with the combination of Batata chi Bhaji and Jowar Bhakri which was being served on order. The other dishes among the buffet included Malvani macchi curry, kolambi pulao, masala bhat and bharli vangi on the night we were at Hyatt Gachibowli.

We ended our dinner with fresh Shrikhand, Malai Pedha among other Indian desserts which had been displayed. The Maharastrian Food Festival is on at Collage in Hyatt Gachibowli as part of their regular buffet. The dishes will be rotated on a daily basis both for lunch and dinner.

Gulab Jamuns

Boondi Ladoo

 

The Festival is on at their restaurant Collage with different menu for lunch and dinner between 24th April – 3 May, 2017. Priced at 1250 AI for Lunch and 1400 AI Dinner

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