A few months ago at an Art Exhibition promoting Maharashtrian artists a group of friends said they really wanted good Maharashtrian food. I have an excellent old lady working for me who cooks this type of cuisine well, so I invited the gang over for an authentic Maharashtrian Brahmin lunch. The group was a mix of women, one from Kerala, one Gujrati, one Indian from UK and two Punekars who were not very excited about the food per se but enjoyed the company.
Maharashtrian Brahmin food is an acquired taste. I have been eating it now for over 17 years and am still yet to really acquire it. It is my staple lunch however, but that is because that is all the cook knows how to make. I usually cook dinner but cooking two meals a day is just not possible. There are some dishes that I like to eat, for example the cocimbirs(salads) and usals(legumes). I have been eating jowar bakri (buckwheat flatbread) everyday(for weight loss of course). I suppose I have acquired the taste somewhat but it is something that I can go for months, even years without missing.
The traditional meal made for lunch consisted of barli vangi (stuffed eggplant), valachi usal(legumes), alu pathal baji (soft green leafy vegetable), tomato and cucumber cocimbir (salad), suralchi wadi (cooked gram flour rolls), shevgechi amti (dal with drumsticks) accompanied with jowar and bajar rotis and chapattis (various Indian flatbreads) and some cobi wadis (cabbage fritters). The dessert was pooranachipoli (sweet flat bread)served with heaping spoons of ghee. The meal was the typical fare and eaten piping hot on an empty stomach can actually be enjoyed.
Everyone seemed to like the meal. The Gujarati in the group is a chef trained at a culinary institute in California so I was hoping she approved of the food. She seemed quiet but later she told us how much she hated Gujarati food. Well now I know why she was so quiet and did not take seconds…Maharashtrian Brahmin food is very similar to Gujarati food, the latter being a tad sweeter.
I have come a long way. Imagine me….hosting an authentic Maharashtrian meal! Thank you Shaku Tai (my excellent but pain in the butt cook)