Health is wealth, they say. And nothing brought this maxim more alive than the last two years of the pandemic when all of us realized that it was only our immunity built over several years that helped us stay ahead of the infection. Increasingly it dawned on many of us that our ancient and local foods , which were best suited to our bodies and our internal constitutions, were likely to give us the maximum benefit.
So why don’t we take a dive deeper and discover some of the super foods of Maharashtra to begin with and see what hidden gems we can find there? You will be pleasantly surprised to know that it is not just the state of vada and misal pav, but also home to the grape and the sugarcane capital of the country, to some exquisite ladoos made from an ancient much revered forest flower which tribals forage from the remotest corners of the state, and to some high powered red chillis from the Solapur region or the souring fruit extract Kokum Agal from the western coast of Maharashtra.
1. Mahua Ladoo
You can consider these ladoos a lost art. Made of intoxicating flowers of the Mahua tree, these blossoms have the sweetest aroma and are rich in iron. These are healthy sweet snacks made by tribals in the Nandurbar belt. These ladoos have the mahua flower at the center and are packed with vitamins, phosphorus, and calcium. While their provenance lies in the fact that they were originally made by mothers to improve the health of their malnourished children, since they all came from a very impoverished background, today these are popular after-dinner desserts or on-the-go snacks. They are also ideal for the hot summers as these flowers have cooling properties and aid digestion.
These dried and seedless sweet-tart raisins come from the grape capital of India–Nashik. Indian delicacies invariably require you to add kismis to increase their luxe-quotient whether it is pulao or kheer, but did you know that they have tremendous health benefits? They improve skin health and digestion, stem acidity, and boost iron and minerals in your body. So eat your way to the pink of health with these little nuggets!
3. Dink Ladoo
The perfect ladoo for the winters of Maharashtra, the dink ladoo keeps you warm and energetic through lazy cold days. It is made from natural, edible tree gum with the addition of spices, ghee, crunchy nuts and seeds. These ingredients give this dessert a unique texture and nutrients to keep you healthy and fit. Dink ladoo is also highly recommended to new mothers who need to recover their bodies, improve lactation and need plenty of nutrients. This delicacy is not just about health or Maharashtra but represents love, care and ancient wisdom passed on from mother to daughter.
If tangy is what tantalizes your taste buds, then this is Maharashtra’s answer to you. This is an unsweetened extract of the Kokum fruit, often used in sherbets and curry to make them tangy. When the sun is shining brightest and warmest and the country reels under a heatwave, kokum juice can save your day by aiding digestion and keeping you cool from within.
Kaakvi is exactly what you would expect it to be-jaggery in liquid form. If you have a sweet tooth struggling to keep away from sweets, liquid jaggery is your solution. It is healthier than most sweeteners, and being a liquid you can add it to anything. Perfect, right?
When you add coconut and jaggery that melts into your mouth, you know you’re doing it right. Coconut Chikki is one of the healthiest sweets in India-and Maharashtra makes them even better! Did you know the word chikki comes from the marathi word "chikkat", which means "sticky". Try this soft coconut burfi any day to enjoy the nutty flavor of coconut and the benefits of liquid jaggery. the quintessential Indian energy bar-but better with its crumbly texture.
So, which Maharashtra superfood impressed you the most? Find them all on Aazol–India’s premier destination for home-grown authentic foods and tastes of Maharashtra!
Author: Ankita Sirker