For people based in mumbai, you would be aware of the Zunka Bhakri centres which was essentially created to support economically lower classes to have a hearty meal at the cheapest price. When it was launched it costed around a rupee per plate. It ofcourse fizzled out and most centres are not providing vadapavs and misals. The point to make however is that this combination has been recognized has a full filling meal that provides sufficient nutrition for the day.
The best tasting platter was when we ate it in a small hut outside Siddhatek(1 of the 8 asthavinayak location) served on hand, straight from the choola (wood fire stove).
This time for a family of 2 people I have created few dishes. But I think it captures the essence of Indian food and is complete meal in terms of nutrition, texture and variety.
Bhakri (Millet + Rice flour flat bread)
Bharli Vangi – Spicy stuffed brinjals
Masala Bhat – Spiced rice with gherkins and cashewnuts
Mattha – Spiced and tempered buttermilk
Thecha – Ground green chilli and garlic chutney
Bhakri – I did not eat bhakri as a kid. I cannot get enough of it when it is made at home now. It requires a bit of skill to roll it flat using the palms.
In maharashtra it is made using Jowar, Rice, Nachni, Bajra. Sometimes a combination of few of the above. This bread does not use any oil and yet is deliciously crispy on the outside and soft within. In most houses, it is enjoyed a day after it is made to get the maximum flavor.
Read about the step by step instructions to make it perfect.
I have very high regards for this recipe and consider it to be a festive food. It is a tad lengthy process but this has never failed to impress. Again each sector in maharashtra has a different way of making it but essentially it is a spicy preparation. Even the brinjal haters prefer to eat this for the masala or stuffing.
Read the recipe here
Masala Bhat- Again a dish that is underrated for the amount of flavors it packs. I have this view in general about maharashtrian cuisine. The rant for it in a dedicated post some day.
Mattha – this is a spicy tangy preparation of buttermilk. It is usually accompanied with the sweet. The most popular accompaniment is jalebi with mattha. However, boondi laadoo is also a favorite food to go with it as it is served in traditional wedding dish.
Preparation and ingredients
1 cup curd (or 3 cups buttermilk)
1/2 inch ginger grated
1 green chilly finely chopped
1/2 tspn cumin seeds powder
1/2 tspn cumin seeds
few sprigs of Curry leaves
a pinch of asafoetida(optional)
1 tspn oil/ ghee
salt to taste
1)Beat the curd with 2 -3 cups of water to get thin consistency buttermilk. Add water to buttermilk if you are using it. The consistency should be thinner than milk.
2) Add the grated ginger, cumin seeds and green chillies and mix well.
3) In a tempering pan, heat the oil, add the cumin seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves.
4) Pour this on the buttermilk and stir well.
5) This tends to get sour and is expected to be that way. Ideally should be kept outside in a cool dry place and prepared few hours before consuming to get the best taste.
Thecha – most common chutney or accompaniment in maharashtrian household. It also has many variants. The most popular and simplest one is as mentioned below.
3-4 green chillies
4-5 garlic cloves
salt to taste
1 tbsp Oil
Coriander, Spring onions, roasted peanut powder (optional)
1) In a pan heat the oil and add the green chillies, fry them till they are pale and crispy.
2) Crush them using a mortar along with salt and garlic.
Use as a spread or to eat just on its own. Goes well with bhakri