Any region which has the vast diversity in food as Maharashtra does, cannot be given due justice in one book or series and doing so in one article or blog post is almost impossible. However, since the Aazol team has gone diligently to different regions and sourced indigenous Maharashtrian food products from there, here is our small attempt to share with you some nuggets about the traditional foods of Maharashtra in an attempt to introduce these delicacies to the world.
For an easy read with a dash of history, we attempt to cover the foods of Maharashtra across various historical and cultural regions which are;
Each region has a distinct flavour profile and taste. The food grown here and the preparation and how it is enjoyed are also unique. All this and more is why we don't get bored when discussing the foods of Maharashtra. Even while travelling across the state, we eagerly look forward to sampling its varied fare. Let’s read about these regions and the Maharashtrian dishes name list.
The Konkan region is the westernmost region of the state and covers the entire coast of the state. It includes the districts of Sindhudurg, Raigad, Thane, Ratnagiri and Mumbai. The staples of this region are rice, fish, coconut and a distinct sour fruit called Kokum. The region gives equal importance to vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. The sub-cuisine of the Konkan region is Malvani, Agri, Sarawswat Brahmin or East Indian.
Aazol's favourites from Konkan are –
A pure fruit extract used as a souring agent for curries and gravies across the Konkan is known for its digestive properties. You could make a sherbet from this or the most loved Sol Kadhi, one of the famous Maharashtrian dishes.
Agri masala is named after a community known to historically own grocery storehouses to store fish, salt, and coconut. This 20-spices blend is ideal for seafood items. Check out some recipe of Maharashtrian dishes here.
This papad, made from poha or flattened rice dough is well- known as Konkan's most popular papad. It goes well with curry and rice, as it is lightly spiced and can be fried, roasted or microwaved.
Khandesh is known as Kanha-desh or the land of Kanha. The culinary influence of the neighbouring states of Gujarat and Rajasthan can be observed in this region. Just like Gujaratis are fans of Shev – a spicy or savoury snack item, Khandeshis are known to love a sabzi or curry made from that very shev called Shev Bhaji. The region is also known for its sugarcane farms and the production of jaggery is a major industry there.
Aazol's favourites from Khandesh are –
Kala Masala: Maharashtra’s special Garam masala
Also known as Khandeshi Kala masala, it is known for its smoky flavour, and unique burnished brown colour. The spices are deeply roasted to get this hue and the masala adds a lovely flavour to all vegetarian cooking.
This delicious, thick and sweet golden liquid can replace all your sweeteners. Made by slow boiling raw sugarcane juice, this is minimally processed and mineral-rich goodness. You can enjoy it with tea, coffee, or any Indian and international dessert.
A long-lost flower sacred to the tribal community is used to make one of our most fragrant and unique products – the Mahua ladoo. The mahua flowers are known for their fragrance, and also for their healthy mineral-rich properties. The flowers and seeds are mixed with peanut, jaggery, cardamon and a little ghee to make little balls of energy.
The Deccan plateau is the geographical region we know as Desh. This region includes the districts of Pune, Satara, Solapur and Kolhapur. Solapur is known for its peanut farms where most of this crop is pressed into oil. Like the Konkan region uses coconut for its gravies, this region is known to use peanuts for all its gravies. Kolhapur is especially known for royalty-inspired non veg Maharashtrian dishes.
Aazol favourites from Desh are –
As the name suggests, this is a product from the abundant peanut land of Solapur. The shengdana chutney is a crowd-puller for sure. Who doesn't love munching on mungfali now and then? This dry chutney can be enjoyed as an accompaniment or as a snack. This chutney comes in our top 10 most popular Maharashtrian dishes for sure.
Goda masala, or sweet masala, is a hallmark of Puneri Brahmin cooking. The Puneri Brahmins are known to use this masala for all their Veg Maharashtrian dishes. The mild sweet aftertaste of this masala makes its one of the best options to use if you enjoy mildly-spiced meals.
The Deshi Ghaati Masala originates from the Western Ghats of Maharashtra. A vegetarian masala for spicy Maharashtrian dishes. Many of us enjoy it as a Vada Pav chutney option or as the only masala used for a simple potato bhaji.
The northeast boundary of the state is this region of Vidharbha. The city of Nagpur, known as the second capital of the state is located here. The districts of Amravati, Nagpur, Chandrapur, Bhandara and Akola are part of this region. The region is known to be culturally close to the neighbouring states of Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. People here use dry coconut and peanut in equal measure in their gravies. They are especially fond of chicken and mutton dishes.
Varhadi Red Chilli Chutney is the best taste by which you can identify this region. The temperature is known to soar in this hinterland of Maharashtra and so is the propensity of the people here to enjoy spicy food. People enjoy this hand-pounded chutney with most of their daily meals. It is one of the best Maharashtrian dishes for us.
Flaxseed is a recently discovered super food for the world however for Maharashtrians, it has been part of their diet for ages. Made into a chutney with dry spices and salt, this can be enjoyed with idli, dosa, or a simple meal of daal and rice.
Marathwada's hot and arid region includes the districts of Nanded, Latur, Beed, Aurangabad and Jalna. The word Marathwada means Marathi Angan or courtyard. Sun-drying of vegetables is done to make popular Maharashtrian dishes over here. The people of this region enjoy puran poli, amti, shrikhand, misal and more.
The go-to sweet to battle the harsh winters of this region, dink or edible gum is an Ayurveda-recommended food item which has always been part of the winter menu of various states of India. Aajis and mothers make sure to make these ladoos during winter to ward away chills and aches.
The thalipeeth bhajani flour is considered among the most traditional foods in Maharashtra. Every Marathi household will have its version in its pantry. The multi-grain paratha or chilla made from this flour is an ideal breakfast meal with veggies and curd. It is one of the yummiest Maharashtrian dishes for dinner too.
The state of Maharashtra is not just demarcated by geographical boundaries alone. There are cultural and historical boundaries that have intermingled to create new ways of life. Food-wise, these regions are as very distinct and somewhat similar too. At Aazol, we diligently look for traditionally made items from every region of the state so that you get the best homemade Marathi food online and an authentic taste that you crave for. Filled with the love and warmth of your grandmother’s house!
Author: Jinal Aidasani