Maharashtrian cuisine brings on the table, some of the most tempting and lip-smacking delicacies bursting with exciting flavours. Whether it be the Vada or the Missal Pav, Pitla Bhakri or traditional Kokkam and coconut Sol Kadhi; the lingering influences of coastal, central, western and Deccan plateaus are profoundly-infused in Maharashtrian kitchens. Maharashtrian dishes are complex-preparations as no, two recipes are conceived, with identical ingredients. However, that does not stop Maharashtrians from producing a broad range of unique ‘appetizing’ foods to please your palate.
My gastronomic tryst with Mumbai showed me how its cuisine is as diverse as its culture! While most utmost skylines are overseen, by the artistic architectural conceptions of hospitality giants, some of Mumbai’s best dishes that will get you drooling are snuck-up in the quiet corners of the bustling by-lanes. Some of my personal favourite restaurants are Gazalee, Highway Gomtak, Malvani Khalvan and Malvan Katta. Predominantly non-vegetarian, Malvani cuisine is a staple in states along the palm-fringed West coast. Hence, Goa, Maharashtra and South Konkan are a harbour of the best seafood recipes in India.
The coconut-tied curries use traditional ingredients, recipes and cooking techniques, and surprise most people with its quintessentially, authentic, home-like taste. On a recent visit to Malvan Katta, a small, but popular family-owned restaurant near Udipi Vihar, on Aarey Road; I was presented with a no-muss Crab Thali, served on a steel plate, with a bowl of Malvani Crab Curry and Rasam, alongside chapati, rice, salad and kokum-infused Sol Kadhi, to calm down the midday warmness. On the side, I dug into a crunchy bombil fry (Bombay Duck) fried in coconut and spice batter and a handful of Prawns Sukka.
Each wrapped in peculiar flavours, as they make use of varied spices to make the food taste finger-licking good. Konkani cuisine evinces a sweet and sour flavour, as it links the peevish pungency with the freshly grated coconut. It’s, for this reason, you keep returning to this cuisine with a distinct character! Besides, for INR 200, this thali is a real bargain!