In a really good Maharashtrian meal, the arrangement of the items on the thali is of immense importance. Below is the picture of typical Traditional Maharashtrian thali. It is a dinner prepared as a feast for lord Ganesha. This meal is elegantly presented on a rangoli(design around the plate) made of lentils, rice wheat, beans etc. this picture is taken form a book named "The cooking of India".
take a close look
The Thali consists of salt, wedge of lime, a fresh chutney, achar (pickle), a raita (vegetables or fruits in spiced yogurt), rice wafers and pakoras. Maharashtrians are particularly proud of their astonishing range and diversity of chutneys, achars, brine pickles and koshimbirs.
Another vital point of maharashtrian etiquette is arrangement of rice. the rice should never be in the middle of the thali. It should never be the haphazard mountain of rice. It should be placed to one side of the thali. Above the rice is thoordal puree. Next is one dry vegetable and one curry. In even the fanciest maharashtrian meal there will still be only two vegetable dishes on the right-hand side of the thali.The vegetables are never overcooked and the spices are always mild.
Now here is my Thali. I did not have a big thali to put every thing in one so separated the curries.. I made a very simple thali and the menu goes like this. From the right clock wise kakadichi koshimbirs(cucumber in yogurt), Ghadichipoli(Rotis), rice, Simla mirchi / bhopli mirchi chi peeth perun bhaaji (bell peppers subzi), batatyachibhaaji(potato subzi), besan laddus (chickpea flour laddu).
On the left hand thali clock wise is Aamati, Amrakhand, tomatoche saar(tomato soup) and green coriander chutney.
The best part about making all this is, I made some of the dishes from my fellow blogger friends who have made this for the RCI. so it was alittle easy for me.
2cups besan flour (gram flour)
11/4cup powdered sugar
3-4tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
crushed cardamom powder
raisins (fried separately in ghee)
in a deep bottomed pan, roast the besan flour on a medium low heat until the raw smell leaves and the flour gets a slightly dark color than usual. Remember don't roast it till it burns. To this add the cardamom and sugar and fold in well. Finally add ghee to this and fold it gently. You can see all the sugar and besan melting and coming together. The flour becomes moist enough so that when you make laddu the flour will hold together. If it dosen't you can add a little more ghee. Add the ghee fried raisins too. Remove the mixture from heat and pour it into a plate. when it slightly cools down and the heat is bearable by your hands you can make laddus and enjoy.
Simla mirchi / bhopli mirchi chi peeth perun bhaaji (bell peppers subzi)
4 medium sized green bell peppers / capsicums, (or take 2 bigger ones)
3/4 cup chick pea flour / gram flour (besan)
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
sugar (optional) to taste
1/2 tsp asafoetida
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp oil
In a pan add oil and mustard seeds to splutter. Also add asafoetida and bell peppers. Saute well so that the moisture in the peppers evaporate. Now add gram flour and cook for sometime. don't add salt. If you do so, the water content in the peppers make the flour sloppy. bell peppers need not cook for long. once the flour gets crispy, add salt, sugar, turmeric and cilantro. Mix well and remove from flame. Its that simple.
1/2 cup toor dal
1 medium sized onion
3 green chilies
2 teaspoon Maharashtrian goda masala or garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 small piece jaggery or 1 teaspoon sugar
salt to taste
Pressure cook dal till soft. Remove from the cooker and mash it.
Chop onions into vertical thin pieces. Chop tomato and chilies. Else give vertical slits to the chilies instead of chopping them. Heat 2 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. As they splutter, add asafoetida, turmeric powder and onion pieces and chilies. Fry for sometime or till the onion turns light brown. Add chopped tomato pieces and fry again till tomato pieces turn soft. Add mashed dal and 1 cup water. Stir.
Cook on high heat and when bubbles rise up on the top, turn the heat to medium. Add salt, jaggery and goda masala. Mix well and simmer.
Remove Aamati from the heat and decorate with coriander leaves. Serve with plain rice, pulao, or chapatis.
Green coriander chutney
1 bunch of fresh cilantro
3-4 green chillies
1 tomato (optional)
sugar or jaggery
Grind all the ingredients by adding very little water. It is a simple chutney.
The Bell pepper subzi , Aamti and chutney are prepared by referring here
This Recipe is made from the lovely blog Bhaatukli. My friend Tee explains how to make these polis so very beautifully. She also has many other interesting Maharashtrian recipes.
kakadichi koshimbir, Tomatoche Saar, batatyachi bhaaji, Amrakhand are made from another beautiful blog Aartis Corner . She is an expert in Maharashtrian cuisine.
So since I cooked some simple recipes from co-bloggers this thali goes to coffee's Going Lite:)
This below picture is taken from the same book. It is Chowpati beach, Mumbai in the 1960's.
If you take a closer look you can see how the shop vendors are dressed.
This picture shows how turmeric is made in the local market in Mumbai
The making of jelabis
This is my contribution to the lovely Nupur's RCI event.