Friday, July 10, 2015

Maharashtrian thaali (No onion No garlic thaali)


After the successful completion of the previous BLOG HOP event " Sandwich Specials", It was mutually decided that the next event would be "Regional cuisine". Each one of us would choose a particular Indian state and prepare dishes related to their local cuisine. I was so excited and decided to pick the Indian state of Maharashtra. Since I grew up in Mumbai (the capital city of Maharashtra), I have deep love for this place. Wherever I go, I tend to compare it with Mumbai :)  As a tribute to this beautiful and vibrant state, I will be sharing with you all a MAHARASHTRIAN THAALI.







Maharashtrian cuisine is very flavorful and covers a range from mild to very spicy dishes (The spice intake varies from region to region).I have always loved Maharashtrian cuisine. I have mentioned in my earlier posts too, I was introduced to this beautiful cuisine early on in my child hood days because of my sweet neighbor "Dange Aunty". I would spends hours at her places only to come back to my place to sleep at night. Eventually we moved to a different location . But then too, I used to regularly enjoy Maharashtrian food because of my dear friend Preeti:) I still remember eating delicious Sabudana Khitchdi and Thaalipeeth made by her mom.. Ahh such good old days:) And that's why my friends , my love for this cuisine is so deep rooted.

So once I decided that I would be preparing a MAHARASHTRIAN THAALI, the next step was doing the necessary research about the cuisine and the  dishes etc. I had some information but to know more, I started browsing and reading on the internet. There are so many things mentioned, it gets pretty confusing at times. But my dear friend Ketki and her Mom came to my rescue. On one of my visits to her place, I told about the Thaali that I had decided to make. That's when Ketki and her Mom told me so many things which were so informative and new. They mentioned that a thaali has to be presented in a particular way. There is fixed place in which each of the food items has to be placed in the thaali. There area few items that are most commonly used in Maharashtrian cooking. Some of them are GODA MASALA, peanuts, coconut and jaggery.

Salt is usually placed in the center of the thaali. The left side of the thaali, is generally allocated to the accompaniments or dishes like pickle (achar ), raita or salad, fritters and sweet . While the right side of the thaali is reserved for main course items like rice, sabzi , curries and flat bread (roti/ poori).
 Rice is generally served in moulds topped with a simple dal and ghee (clarified butter). This is a mandatory item on the thaali. As for the flatbreads, polis (roti) or pooris are served. If Puran poli (Flatbread stuffed with a sweet split chick pea filling) is included in the menu, then no other bread is generally served on that occassion. Around the thaali, a beautiful decoration called mahirap is done. The type of decoration varies and depends on personal taste and availability of necessary materials. As far eating sequence goes, the meal starts with the varan bhaat and ends with a cold drink of mattha.

With an understanding of the rules on how to plate the items, I then made a list of dishes to prepare. I was familiar with a few dishes but Ketki and her mom suggested a few dishes . I also got alot information from them regarding the techniques behind preparing these dishes. I have to be honest, I troubled them so much asking doubts sometimes in person or via messaging. A big thanks to them from the bottom of my heart:)

After all the research, discussing etc, I arrived at this FINAL thaali:) I have tried to make a no onion - no garlic thaali. A thaali that can be served on a festive occassion.

My Thaali consists of:
  1. Salt (at the center.)
  2. Lemon / Lime wedge
  3. Pickle ( I used store bought Mango pickle)
  4. Ambyachi Dal / Kairichi Dal 
  5. Koshimbir ( Cucumber Raita)
  6. Papad / Popaddum
  7. Sweet potato Bhajji/ Bhajiya
  8. Puran Poli
  9. Seviyan Kheer
  10. Spiced Buttermilk / Mattha
  11. Kadhi
  12. Katachi Amti
  13. Potato Sabzi / Batata Bhaaji
  14. Matki Usal
  15. Varan Bhaat
  16. Masale Bhaat
So lets learn how to prepare these dishes...
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AMBYACHI DAL / KAIRICHI DAL


This is a chunky dish which can be served as a snack or  can be eaten as a dip or as a part of a thaali.



Recipe can be found here.
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KOSHIMBIR (CUCUMBER RAITA)

Finely chopped cucumber is mixed with sugar, salt, yogurt and peanut powder. A tempering is added and this dish is served garnished with chopped cilantro.

INGREDIENTS:
Note: All measurements are based on the US measuring cup and spoon sizes where 1 cup = 235 ml
  • Cucumber (Peeled and finely chopped) : 1.5 cups (Choose a tender cucumber)
  • Roasted Peanut powder : 2 tbsp
  • Yogurt : 1 cup (whisked well)
  • Sugar : 1 tsp
  • Salt as per taste
  • Cilantro (finely chopped) : 1 tbsp
For the tempering , you will need: 
  • Ghee/ Clarified butter : 2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds / Mohri / Rai : 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds / Jeera : 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida / Hing : 1/4 tsp
  • Dry red chillies (broken) : 2
PROCEDURE:
  • Take chopped cucumber in a big bowl. Add salt, sugar , peanut powder and yogurt. Mix well.
  • Lastly add chopped cilantro leaves.
  • To prepare the tempering, heat ghee in a pan. When hot, add cumin seeds , mustard seeds and dry red chillies. When the seeds start to splutter, add the asafoetida and curry leaves. Turn off the heat. When the tempering cools a bit, add it to the prepared KOSHIMBIR.
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SWEET POTATO BHAJJI / BHAJIYA

Thin slices of sweet potato are dipped in a spicy chick pea batter and deep fried.
Recipe can be found here

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PURAN POLI

Puran in Marathi (language in Maharastra) meaning filling while Poli means Bread. So this is a flatbread stuffed with sweetened chickpea filling. 


Recipe can be found here .


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SEVIYAN KHEER

This is a commonly made dessert in Indian households. Vermicelli is roasted in ghee and then cooked in milk. It is sweetened with sugar or condensed milk and flavored with cardamom and saffron. It is served hot or cold garnished with raisins, cashews, almonds and pistachios.
Recipe can be found here

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MATTHA / SPICED BUTTERMILK


A thaali generally ends with cold glass of Mattha. Mattha is flavored with ginger, chilli and roasted cumin powder. Mattha is a refreshing drink , perfect for hot summer day.



INGREDIENTS:
Note: All measurements are based on the US measuring cup and spoon sizes where 1 cup = 235 ml
  • Yogurt: 1 cup
  • Water : 3 cups
  • Ginger : 1 small piece
  • Green chilli : 1 
  • Sugar : 1 tsp
  • Salt as per taste
  • Roasted cumin powder : 1/4 tsp
  • Cilantro for garnish
PROCEDURE:
  • Blend all the ingredients except Cilantro in a blender until well incorporated.
  • Serve chilled garnished with fresh cilantro leaves.
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KADHI

Kadhi is a tangy and light preparation prepared from yogurt or buttermilk. It tastes divine when served with hot steamed rice.




INGREDIENTS:
Note: All measurements are based on the US measuring cup and spoon sizes where 1 cup = 235 ml
Recipe adapted from here
  • Yogurt / Dahi : 1 cup
  • Chick pea flour  / Besan : 1 tbsp
  • Green chillies : 2
  • Ginger : A small piece
  • Sugar : 2 tsp (adjust according to taste)
  • Salt as per taste
  • Cilantro for garnish
For the tempering , you will need:
  • Clarified butter / ghee : 2 tsp
  • Cinnamon / dal chini : 1 inch stick
  • Cumin seeds / Jeera : 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds / methi : 1/4 tsp
  • Turmeric powder / haldi : 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida / Hing : 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves / Kadi patta : 7-8
PROCEDURE:
  • Add 2 cups of water to the yogurt and whisk well.

  • To this add, add the gram flour/ besan and whisk until there are no lumps.

  • Crush green chillies and ginger together. Add this ginger chilli mixture , salt and sugar to the yogurt mixture.







  • In a separate pan, heat some ghee. When hot, add the cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and cloves. When the seeds start to splutter, add the turmeric powder, asafoetida and curry leaves. Pour the yogurt mixture to this tempering. Bring it to a boil stirring continuously. Simmer for 5 minutes.





  • Lastly add chopped cilantro and serve hot with rice.
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KATACHI AMTI

This Maharashtrian soup is prepared from the liquid strained from cooked lentils (usually while preparing Puran poli). Check the recipe here.





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POTATO SABZI / BATATA BHAAJI

This is a simple and delicious potato preparation. Tastes best when served with phulkas or pooris.

INGREDIENTS:
Note: All measurements are based on the US measuring cup and spoon sizes where 1 cup = 235 ml
Recipe adapted from here
  • Potatoes : 4 medium sized (Boiled, pealed and cubed)
  • Green chillies : 3
  • Ginger : 1 small piece
  • Oil : 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds / Jeera : 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds / Mohri / Rai : 1 tsp
  • Dry red chillies (Broken) : 2
  • Curry leaves : 7-8
  • Asafoetida / hing : 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder / Haldi : 3/4 tsp
  • Roasted peanut powder (Crushed) : 2 tbsp
  • Lemon juice : 1 tsp
  • Salt as per taste
  • Sugar : 1 tsp
  • Cilantro for garnish
PROCEDURE:
  • Crush ginger and chillies together.
  • Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add cumin seeds, mustard seeds and dry red chillies. When the seeds start to splutter, add the turmeric powder, asafoetida and curry leaves. 
  • To this add, the crushed ginger-chilli mixture and saute for a minute. 
  • Add the cooked potatoes. Mix well. 
  • Add salt and sugar. Mix.
  • Add the roasted peanut powder and chopped cilantro. Mix well.Lastly , add some lemon juice and give it a final mix.
  • Serve Batata bhaaji with some hot phulkas.
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MATKI  USAL 

This is a simple no onion - no garlic recipe.This usal is prepared from sprouted moth beans and is mildly spiced with a hint of sweetness from the jaggery.

INGREDIENTS:
Note: All measurements are based on the US measuring cup and spoon sizes where 1 cup = 235 ml
  • Moth beans / Matki : 1/2 cup
  • Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp
  • Dry red chillies : 3 (roughly broken with hands)
  • Red chilli powder : 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida / hing : 1/4 tsp
  • Mustard seeds / Rai / Mohri : 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds / Jeera : 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves/ kadi patta : 7-8
  • Goda Masala : 1 tsp (optional)(Available in Indian stores)
  • Jaggery powder ; 1 tbsp
  • Oil : 1 tbsp
  • Freshly grated coconut : 2 tbsp (If using frozen, thaw before using)
  • Cilantro (chopped) : 2 tbsp
  • Salt as per taste
PROCEDURE:
  • Wash the beans and soak the beans in enough water for 8 hours. Drain the water and place the beans in a damp cloth. Tie up the cloth. Cover and keep it in a warm place for a day. You will get beautiful bean sprouts.

  • Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and broken red chillies. When the seeds start to splutter, add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder,goda masala, asafoetida and the curry leaves.

  • Add the bean sprouts. Add salt and mix well. 

  • Add some hot water so that it covers the beans completely. Cover with a lid and let it cook on medium heat.After sometime, open the lid and check if the beans are cooked. (You may add some hot water, if you see that the beans are still uncooked).




  • Once the beans are good, add the powdered jaggery, shredded coconut and cilantro.Mix well.

  • Squeeze some lime juice and you are ready to dig in :)
Note: The final dish is semi dry. It should have a little gravy and should not be runny.

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VARAN BHAAT
Varan means lentil curry while bhaat means rice. So it is basically a simple DAL RICE. This is one of the most important and mandatory items in a Maharashtrian thaali. Varan Bhaat is served as " naivedyam" or offering to god.


INGREDIENTS:
Note: All measurements are based on the US measuring cup and spoon sizes where 1 cup = 235 ml
  • Tuvar Dal / Split Pigeon Pea lentils : 1/2 cup
  • Turmeric Powder / Haldi : 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida / Hing : 1/4 tsp
  • Oil : 1 tsp
  • Salt as per taste
  • Jaggery : small piece (As per taste)
PROCEDURE:
  • Wash the lentils two - three times. Then add 1.5 cups of water to it .
  • Add asafoetida, turmeric powder and oil to it and cook in a pressure cooker until done. 
  • Once cooked, whisk it well so that you get a smooth texture.
  • To this cooked lentils, add salt, jaggery and about 1/4 cup of water and bring the mixture to boil. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes and turn off the heat.
  • Serve hot with  rice. Remember to drizzle some ghee over the Varan Bhat before you dig in :)
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MASALE BHAAT
A very aromatic and spicy rice preparation most frequently prepared in Maharashtrian house holds.
Recipe can be found here.
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References :

Hope you enjoyed the recipes. Do check out recipes from the other members of the Blog HOP group "Culinary Hoppers"
Anu Nagaraja (UP Cuisine)
Jayashree (Andhra cuisine)
HAPPY COOKING!!

18 comments:

  1. Waking up to see this thali is torturing. I am almost dropping down out of hunger. A lavish meal put up with so much of love.

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  2. wow.....looks great will try puran poli for sure

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  3. Spellbound, awestruck, gaping with open mouth at this jaw dropping post dearest Shubha. Oh what a gastronomic treat this has turned out to be. Has held me captivated from the time you have posted it. Have been coming back to check each recipe and then coming back again to check if I had missed out on anything and then coming back again and again. I just want to take this whole post in line by line, word by word and make sure that I have not missed out on anything.

    Firstly let me applaud you on this stupendous post. Beautifully worded with brilliantly captured pictures and a treasure trove of delectable mouthwatering fare, this is one post which will stay with me for a long long time.

    Your love for Mumbai, Dange Aunty's food and your dear friend's Preeti influence of Maharastrian cuisine on your palate clearly shines through this post. Your research and execution has made this a remarkable post which I have book marked for my Maharastrian cuisine reference.

    I honestly have not been able to choose a favourite dish as each dish is wow to the core. Hats off and very very well done.

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  4. Shubha wonderful job dear. Loved all your preprations and its just too good.Excellent

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  5. OMG this is amazing....I just can't pick a favorite from your thali...everything looks so delicious!! And I have to say that you have extraordinary patience to prepare so many varieties :)

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  6. Wow !!! too delicious spread subha..Why not u invited me for lunch .Lots of effort u have put in this meal

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  7. Oh my goodness, Shubha! Everything I see here looks so inviting and delicious! I would love to taste everything! Incredible post my dear! Loving it! :-)

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  8. Wonderful spread of dishes Shubha...Can imagine the effort that went into this thali prep...Superb dear...Love every dish and they look so tempting:)

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  9. Ahhh this thali is looking absolutely stunning. Each dish is gem. Love it to core !!

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  10. What a delight to peek into the Maharashtrian Cuisine. keep up the good work

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  11. Tasty traditional and an eye capturing platter this is..well made dear. And the explanation of each dish is just very helpful. Great share.

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  12. Looks delicious! Good job! :)

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  13. Look so inviting , delightful treat & nice presentation .

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  14. oh wow this is totally amazing Shubha! I can see the love with which you prepared this thali...it looks beautiful and every dish looks super delicious! I wish I could grab one puran poli out of the screen, I love it!

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  15. Such a valiant effort, Shubha! Good job on putting together such detailed post on Maharshtrian cuisine! loving the pictures and so many recipes to try! :) thanks for sharing!

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  16. Dear Shubha, What an incredible fare. What an effort you've put in to present the authentic dishes that too which can be cooked during festivals. Beautiful dear. I can see the love you have for ths Maharashtrian cuisine . Thanks for sharing all these delicious recipes !

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  17. Awesome, I am in love with post...beautiful!

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  18. Hey Shubha, me being a maharshtrian, i must compliment you on the thali. Kudos for making this whole authentic thali. Some recipes vary according to regions. I love your presentation. Beautiful post

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