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Indian Cuisines

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Maharashtrian cuisine

Maharashtrian cuisine is cuisine of the Maharashtrian people, those from the state of Maharashtra in India. Maharashtrian cuisine covers a wide range from being extremely mild to very spicy dishes. Although gaining popularity in India, it remains a mystery to most westerners. Wheat, rice, jowar, vegetables, lentils and fruit form important components of Maharashtrian diet. Popular dishes include puran poli and aamras.

Staple dishes

The staple dishes of Maharashtrian cuisine are based on bread and rice:

* Poli or chapati - unleavened flat bread made of wheat, more common in urban areas. * Bhakri - bread made of all kinds of flours, mainly jowar and bajra, form part of daily food in rural areas.

The bhaji is typically a vegetarian dish made from a vegetable, with some masala essentially consisting of some combination of onion, garlic, ginger, red chilli powder, green chillies and mustard. A particular variant of bhaji is the rassa. Vegetarians prepare rassa or curry of potatoes and or caulifower with tomatoes or fresh coconut kernel and plenty of water to produce a more fluid behaviour than bhaji. Aamti is another variant of the curry, typically consisting of a lentil (tur) stock, flavored with masala, tamarind, 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 (lamb, sheep or goat), fish and other sea food. 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 lunch or dinner usually starts with Poli (bread), accompanied by one or more bhaji(s) and a koshimbir (salad) along with some side (usually pickles). This is usually followed by a second course of aamti or rassa with rice. As with most of Indian cuisine however, each region has it's own quirks, preferences and variations of the above general format.

Appetizers

There are lots of snack and side dishes in Maharashtrian cuisine. Some quintessentially Maharashtrian dishes are:

* Chiwada: Spiced flattened rice also known as bombay mix very famous overseas. *
* Pohay: pohay or pohe is a snack made from flattened rice. Maharashtrian Pohe Recipe. It is most likely served with tea and is probably the most likely dish that a Maharashtrian will offer his guest. During arranged marriages in Maharashtra, Kanda Pohe (literary translation, Onion + flattened rice.) is most likely the dish served when the two families meet. Its so common that sometimes arranged marriage itself is referred colloquially as "kanda-pohay". Other variants on the recipe are batata pohe (where diced potatoes are used instead of onion shreds). Other famous recipes made with Pohe (flattened rice) are dadpe pohe, a mixture of raw Pohe with shredded fresh coconut, green chillies, ginger and lemon juice; and kachche pohe, raw pohe with minimal embellishments of oil, red chili powder, salt and unsauteed onion shreds.
* Upma or sanja or upeeth: This snack is similar to the south Indian upma. It is a thick porridge made of semolina perked up with green chillies, onions and other spices.
* Surali Wadi: Chick pea flour rolls with a garnishing of coconut , coriander leaves and mustard.
* Vada pav: Popular maharashtrian dish consisting of fried mashed-potato dumpling (vada), eaten sandwitched in a bun (pav). This is referred to as Indian version of burger and is almost always accompanied with the famous red chutney made from garlic and chillies, and fried green chilles.
* Matar-usal- pav :It is a dish made of green peas in a curry with onions, green chillies and sometimes garlic. Its eaten with a western style leavened bun or pav.
* Misal- pav:Quintessentially from Pune. This is made from a mix of curried sprouted lentils, topped with batata-bhaji, pohay, Chivda, farsaan, raw chopped onions and tomato. Also some times eaten with yogurt. Bread is a must.
* Pav bhaji: This speciality dish from lanes of Mumbai and Pune has mashed steamed mixed vegetable cooked in spices and butter. The vegetable mix is eaten with soft bun shallow fried in butter.
* Thalipeeth: A type of pancake. Usually spicy and is eaten with curd.
* Zunka-Bhakar: A native maharastrian chick pea flour reciepe eaten with Bhakri.
* Sabudana Khichadi: Sauted sabudana (Pearls of sago palm), a dish commonly eaten on days of religious fasting.
* Khichadi: Made up of rice and dal with mustard seeds and onions to add flavor.
* Bakarwadi: This spicy fried pastry is eaten as a tea time snack. Especially famous is from Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale in pune.
* Bhadang: Spiced puffed rice.
* Sheera Semolina pudding
* Chana daliche dheerde
* Ghavan
* Ukad

Maharastrian cuisine like most of the Indian cuisines is laced with lots of fritters. Some of them are

* Kothimbir vadi: Coriander (Cilantro) mixed with chick pea flour and maharastrian spices. There are plenty of variants of this dishes some deep fried, some stir fried and some steamed.
* "Kobi chya wadya" Cabbage rolls: Shredded cabbage in chick pea flour.
* Kanda Bhaji: Onion fritters
* "Batata bhaji": Deep fried, fine potato slices coated in chick pea flour batter.
* "Mirchi bhaji": Deep fried, chillies. Some people prefer these coated in chick pea flour batter.
* "Alu wadi": Colocasia leaves rolled in chick pea flour, steamed and then stir fried.
* Mung dal wade
* Sabudana Wada
* Surana-chi wadi
* Methi wade

Vegetable and lentil preparations

* Batatyachi Bhaji (Potato preparations)
* Bharli Vangi (Stuffed Aubergines/Eggplant)
* Dalimbya (Beans)
* Farasbichi Bhaji (French beans)
* Palkachi Takatli Bhaji (Spinach cooked in buttermilk)
* Kelphulachi Bhaji (Banana/plantain bloom)
* Fansachi Bhaji (Jackfruit preparation)
* Walache Birdha

Soups and consommes

Unlike western eating habits where soups are consumed before the main course is eaten, in Indian cuisine, soups are consumed along with the main course. Some popular soups are:
* Kadhi
* Sol kadhi
* Tomato saar
* Kokam saar
* Varan
* Aamti
* Katachi aamti

Pickles and condiments

* Ambyache lonche (mango pickle)
* Limbache lonche (lemon pickle)
* Awlyache lonche (amla pickle)
* Mohoriche lonche (mustard pickle)
* Ambe-haladiche lonache (fresh turmeric pickle)
* Mirachiche lonache (Chilly Pickle)
* Dangar
* Papad
* Miragund
* Sandage
* Methamba
* Thecha

Sweetmeals

* Puran poli: is one of the most popular sweet item in the Maharashtrian cuisine. It is made from jaggery (molasses or gur), yellow gram (chana) dal, plain flour, cardamom powder and ghee
. * Modak: is a Maharashtrian sweet typically steamed (ukdiche modak). Modak is prepared during the Ganesha festival around August, when it is often given as an offering to lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God, as it is reportedly his favorite sweet. For more info, visit http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook:Modak. Modak can also be fried with various sweet stuffings.
* Karanji: is a deep fried dumpling with a filling of grated coconut sweetened with jaggery and flavoured with powdered cardamom seeds. It is also known as kanola.
* Gulab Jaam: are balls made of dense milk (Mava/Khava) and bleached wheat flour fried in ghee (clarified butter) and then dipped in sugar syrup.
* Kheer: is prepared by cooking shevaya (vermicelli) in milk. The preparation is sweetened with jaggery or sugar, flavoured with powdered cardamom seeds and finally garnished with chopped nuts. Kheer is also made of Rice, Semolina, and Dudhi (white gourd).
* Anarsa
* Chirota
* Jilbi
* Shankarpali
* Basundi: Sweetened dense milk dessert.
* Gulachi poli is similar to puran poli but this does not include chana daal. The filling is made of grated jaggery, cardamom powder and nutmeg powder.
* Aamrus: Pulp/Thick Juice made of mangoes, with a bit of sugar if needed and milk at times.
* Shikran: An instant sweet dish made from banana , milk and sugar.
* Shrikhand: Sweet yogurt.

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