Food is the identity of a place. If a place had good food traditions and native recipes then it becomes an identification of that place as well as an attraction.
A recent event took me to Mumbai, and with all the amazing places that I got to see, I really had a fun time exploring and tasting (and hogging at some places) all the native food of Maharashtra.
Mumbai is a shiny place with sun literally shining brightly on the head in summers and however there’s a lot of water around Mumbai and in the air, you will be losing a lot of moisture off your body. So to start with, Mumbai or the Maharashtrian style food contains a few basic ingredients to beat that heat and humidity- Green chilies, garlic, ginger, water.
Mumbai street food also contains a lot of butter (these guys love their butter) and so if you are on diet, carry your lunchbox.
First on the list is the famous vada pav. It’s called the lifeline of the state. Along with the local trains, this is what keeps the Mumbaikars keep going. Vada pav is a simple recipe of a batata (potato) vada pressed between a pav decked with green chutney, butter, and their garlic coconut chutney. It’s pretty tasty and one of the most available food on Mumbai streets.
Other similar options are Bhajiya Pav and Samosa Pav. Pav stuffed Bhajiya and Samosa respectively, decked with butter and the chutneys. Tasty, crunchy and a little too oily, but a definite try. Loved the normal Vada Pav better.
Bhelpuri is another commonly available Street snack which will be available in every nook and corner of the city. Generally eaten as an appetizer, bhelpuri is crunchy, tasty, flavorful, tasty, spicy, and some-more tasty light snack. If you take Bhelpuri salad, available everywhere here, it is also very healthy.
You can also try dry Bhel which contain dry chutneys instead of flowing ones and that lets it to be carried for small distance without it getting mushy instantly.
One alteration of the native Bhelpuri recipe available is the Chinese Bhelpuris in which the puffed rice (murmure) are replaced by either kurkure or lays chips. Topped with mayo and grated cheese instead of sev bhujia.
Second favorite and commonly eaten snack is Sevpuri. It’s a little more solid snack. A Bhelpuri like the mix with boiled potatoes, tomato, onion, puffed rice, and chutneys, is placed on papris and topped with a lot of sev.
Tastes really well. Of course, the healthier option is Bhelpuri, but it can be a little deviation from routine or little extra calories might not bite if you are on vacation.
As much as I am a fan of Golgappas, the Maharashtra style was not my most favorite. They pour warm white peas (matara) into the golgappe along with the sweet saunth and the water. The warm white peas are called Ragada there and they are used more commonly.
Another option in golgappe were the sev golgappe which I liked better. There golgappe filled with ragada, saunth, green chutney, and curd is topped with a little chopped green chillies and sev to make sev golgappe. I enjoyed it more.
Keri and Ber
Keri and Ber are healthier munchies easily available everywhere. They are sprinkled with salt are tasty for the little pangs of hunger while the roaming around.
Chuski or Gola
However they don’t sprinkle jeera and black salt like Delhi, but Kaala Khatta Gola at Juhu Beach is awesome against the humid air of the beach.
Ganne ka Juice
Ganne ka juice is an instant hunger curber and energy giver. In Delhi the juice is squeezed with mint leaves and lemon. But in Mumbai, the juice is squeezed with a piece of ginger with gives it a bitter kick and makes it good.
It’s neither a snack nor food, but if you go to Siddhivinayak Temple, do indulge your sweet tooth in these innocent looking colorful treats of milk. They are tasty and come in various colors. Rs 100 for 250 grams and they can travel, so win-win for a tourist.
It is a very famous dish of Maharashtra and pretty tasty. I tasted three different corners in Mumbai for Pav Bhaji. So it did scintillate my Delhite taste buds, but their butter content is pretty high, so too much maska, and the spicy side of the dish is subdued by use of a lot of chilies. I loved it, but I love it here more.
You can eat Idli and Sambar literally anywhere here. But the twist is good or I should say gud(jaggery). While Gujrat adds sugar to their sambar, Maharashtra adds jaggery. But the sweet taste is still good because ‘Gud’ is good. And no one can go wrong when it’s idli, it’s one of the most balanced Indian meal combos.
Another native to Maharashtra dish, Misal Pav is a Ragada with gravy with other pulses like Moong and Gram topped with Farsan. To start with it is crunchy and after two bites it will start melting in your mouth. It is a typical Maharashtrian flavor dish and if you like it, you can savor it.
Pattis or Patties is basically potato tikkies which were deep fried in butter, ghee or oil until they are golden brown, crisp and done. Then the not-treated-with-tissue tikkies are cut into two or three pieces, mashed a little and decided with ragada, green chutney, saunth and chopped onion. It was my Maharashtra style guilty pleasure.
I came back from Mumbai happy, tired, a little tan and weighing two kilograms higher (that’s gonna take a lot of sweating now ).
I loved the city and what it represents; dreams and freedom. If you get to eat anything the native style, do let us know in comments.