Savoring the best of Marathi cuisine and thali at the International Ganesh Festival

The State of Maharashtra is not only renowned for its diverse culture but also for its culinary treasures, and thanks to the Maharashtra Tourism board that we experienced some of the best of local food at the International Ganesh Festival this year. The state’s traditional cuisine offers a delectable tapestry of flavors, and what better way to explore this gastronomic richness than through the traditional thali that encapsulate the essence of the state’s diverse culture. There is so much more to this healthy and homemade cuisine then the commonly popularized vada pav and bhel puri, and for a true foodie this has to be one of the “must try” cuisines in India.

The Maharashtrian Thali: A symphony of flavors

A traditional Maharashtrian thali is an intricate arrangement of dishes that showcases the rich culinary heritage of the state. It typically consists of a variety of vegetarian delights, reflecting the importance of agriculture and dairy products in the state’s cuisine. From the spicy and bold flavors of Kolhapur to the milder, coconut-based delicacies of the Konkan region, here are some unique Marathi dishes you must try.

  1. Bhakri: A staple of Maharashtrian cuisine, bhakri is a round, unleavened bread made from millet, sorghum, or rice flour. It is often paired with vegetables, lentil curries, or chutneys.
  2. Pitla-Bhakri: A simple yet soul-satisfying dish, Pitla is a gram flour-based curry, while Bhakri is the flatbread often made of rice flour. The combination is a rustic delicacy that highlights the use of spices and local ingredients.
  3. Sabudana Khichdi: A popular dish, especially during fasting days, Sabudana Khichdi is made from sago pearls, peanuts, and a dash of spices, creating a delightful mixture of textures and flavors.
  4. Misal Pav: Hailing from the city of Pune, Misal Pav is a spicy curry made from sprouted moth beans or matki, served with pav (bread). Topped with farsan, onions, and lemon, it’s a flavor explosion in every bite.
  5. Vada Pav: Often considered the Indian version of a burger, Vada Pav consists of a deep-fried potato fritter encased in a pav bun, accompanied by chutneys and a spicy garlic powder.
  6. Sol Kadhi: A cooling and tangy drink made from coconut milk and kokum, Sol Kadhi is a popular accompaniment in coastal Maharashtra to balance the spicy flavors of local dishes.
  7. Poha: A popular breakfast dish, Poha is made from flattened rice, flavored with turmeric, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and garnished with fresh coconut and coriander.
  8. Puran Poli: A sweet indulgence, Puran Poli is a thin flatbread stuffed with a sweet lentil filling, often served with a dollop of ghee.
  9. Ukadiche Modak: The traditional modak is made from rice flour, jaggery, coconut, and a touch of cardamom for flavor. Modak holds a special place in Hindu mythology and religious rituals and is believed to be Lord Ganesha’s favorite sweet. It is offered to him during Ganesh Chaturthi to earn his blessings for prosperity, wisdom, and success.

Where to savor the best Marathi Thali in Mumbai?

A traditional Maharashtrian thali is a journey through the vibrant and diverse flavors of the state. It offers a glimpse into the rich culinary heritage of Maharashtra, making it an experience to cherish. When in Mumbai, a visit to Nav Mejbani and Thackker’s for a thali meal is an opportunity to savor the finest traditional delicacies and embrace the true essence of Maharashtrian cuisine. In the bustling streets of Mumbai, two legendary restaurants stand out for their exceptional Maharashtrian thali offerings, that we got to try as part of the International Ganesh Festival with Maharashtra Tourism.

1. Nav Mejbani: Located in the heart of the city, Nav Mejbani is a culinary haven for thali enthusiasts. Their Maharashtrian thali offers an array of delicacies, including mouth-watering batata vadas, bhakris, and a variety of sabzis. Don’t miss their flavorful varan bhaat, a classic Maharashtrian lentil rice, and their dessert selection is a delightful end to the meal.

2. Thackker’s: Thackker’s, situated in the heart of Mumbai, is renowned for its authentic Maharashtrian thali. Their thali includes an assortment of seasonal vegetables, flavorful dal, and a variety of chutneys that tantalize your taste buds. The star of the show is the masale bhaat, a fragrant and spicy rice preparation that is a must-try. Thackker’s also excels in serving Maharashtrian sweets like puran poli and shrikhand.

So, immerse yourself in this culinary adventure and let your taste buds revel in the culinary wonders of Maharashtra.

(Experience courtesy: Maharashtra Tourism . To reach us, write to [email protected])