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See also:

Indian chefsCookbook: Cuisine of India


Maharashtrian (or Marathi) cuisine is cuisine of the Marathi people, those from the state of Maharashtra in India. Maharashtrian cuisine covers a range from being mild to very spicy dishes. Wheat, rice, jowar, vegetables, lentils and fruit form important components of Maharashtrian diet. Popular dishes include puran poli, ukdiche Modak and batata wada.


Staple dishes

The staple dishes of Maharashtrian cuisine are based on bread and rice:

The bhaaji is a vegetarian dish made from a vegetable, with Goda masala essentially consisting of some combination of onion, garlic, ginger, red chilli powder, green chillies and mustard. A particular variant of bhaaji is the rassa. Vegetarians prepare rassa or curry of potatoes and or caulifower with tomatoes or fresh coconut kernel and plenty of water to produce a more fluid behaviour than bhaaji. Varan is nothing but plain dal, a common Indian lentil stew. Aamti is variant of the curry, typically consisting of a lentil (tur) stock, flavored with goda masala, tamarind or amshul, jaggery (gul) and in some cases coconut as well. One of the masalas that gives Maharashtrian cuisine its authentic flavor is the goda (sweet) masala or kalaa (black) masala.

Non-vegetarian dishes mainly use chicken, mutton (mainly goat), fish and other seafood. The Kolhapuri taambda rassa (red curry) and pandhra rassa (white curry) of chicken and mutton from the southern city of Kolhapur and the varhadi rassa or (varhadi chicken curry) from the Vidarbha region are especially well known throughout Maharashtra. The coastal regions of Konkan are more famous for the fish and seafood dishes.

A typical lunch or dinner usually starts with Poli (bread), accompanied by one or more bhaaji(s) (vegetable) and a koshimbir (salad) along with some side (usually pickles). This is usually followed by a second course of varan, aamti or rassa with rice. As with most of Indian cuisine however, each region has its own quirks, preferences and variations of the above general format.

Koshimbir is very common and healthy addition to the plate. Typically made from raw vegetables mixed with yogurt and ground roasted peanuts Danyache Kut. Raitas made with different types of vegetables such as cucumber or carrots are variants of koshimbir.

The plate (thali) served has a specific place for each food item served. The bhaaji is served in the plate on the right hand side while the chutney, koshimbir are served from left going up the periphery of the circular plate. The papad, bhaji are served below the koshimbir with the rice and poli served at the bottom of the circle closed to the diner's hand. The puran is served at the top in the inner concentric circle. The amti, rassa is served in separate bowls placed on right hand side of the diner. Water is placed on the left hand side. It is considered ill mannered to use left hand while eating


Kothimbir Wadi
Sabudana Wada

There are lots of snack and side dishes in Maharashtrian cuisine. Some quintessentially Maharashtrian dishes are:

  • Chivda: Spiced flattened rice. It is also known as Bombay mix in Foreign countries especially Great Britain.
  • Pohay: pohay or pohe is a snack made from flattened rice. It is most likely served with tea and is probably the most likely dish that a Maharashtrian will offer his guest. During arranged marriages in Maharashtra, Kanda Pohe (literary translation, pohe prepared with onion) is most likely the dish served when the two families meet. Its so common that sometimes arranged marriage itself is referred colloquially as "kanda-pohay". Other variants on the recipe are batata pohe (where diced potatoes are used instead of onion shreds). Other famous recipes made with Pohe (flattened rice) are dadpe pohe, a mixture of raw Pohe with shredded fresh coconut, green chillies, ginger and lemon juice; and kachche pohe, raw pohe with minimal embellishments of oil, red chili powder, salt and unsauteed onion shreds.
  • Upma or sanja or upeeth: This snack is similar to the south Indian upma. It is a thick porridge made of semolina perked up with green chillies, onions and other spices.
  • Surali Wadi: Chick pea flour rolls with a garnishing of coconut , coriander leaves and mustard.
  • Vada pav: Popular maharashtrian dish consisting of fried mashed-potato dumpling (vada), eaten sandwiched in a bun (pav). This is referred to as Indian version of burger and is almost always accompanied with the famous red chutney made from garlic and chillies, and fried green chilles. Interestingly rarly vada pav are home made. *Matar-usal- pav :It is a dish made of green peas in a curry with onions, green chillies and sometimes garlic. Its eaten with a western style leavened bun or pav.
  • Misal Pav:Quintessentially from Kolhapur. This is made from a mix of curried sprouted lentils, topped with batata-bhaji, pohay, Chivda, farsaan, raw chopped onions and tomato. Also some times eaten with yogurt. Bread is a must.
  • Pav bhaji: This speciality dish from lanes of Mumbai has mashed steamed mixed vegetables (mainly potatoes, peas, tomatoes, onions and green pepper) cooked in spices and table butter. The vegetable mix is served with soft bun shallow fried in table butter and chopped onion. Sometimes cheese, paneer (cottage cheese) are added.
  • Thalipeeth: A type of pancake. Usually spicy and is eaten with curd.
  • Zunka-Bhakar: A native maharastrian chick pea flour reciepe eaten with Bhakri.
  • Sabudana Khichadi: Sauted sabudana (Pearls of sago palm), a dish commonly eaten on days of religious fasting.
  • Khichdi: Made up of rice and dal with mustard seeds and onions to add flavor.
  • Bakarwadi: This spicy fried pastry is eaten as a tea time snack. Especially popular is that from Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale in Pune.
  • Bhadang: Spiced puffed rice.
  • Sheera Semolina pudding
  • Chana daliche dheerde
  • Ghavan
  • Ukad

Maharastrian cuisine like most of the Indian cuisines is laced with lots of fritters. Some of them are

  • Kothimbir vadi: Coriander (Cilantro) mixed with chick pea flour and maharastrian spices. There are plenty of variants of this dishes some deep fried, some stir fried and some steamed.
  • "Kobi chya wadya" Cabbage rolls: Shredded cabbage in chick pea flour.
  • Kanda Bhaji: Onion fritters, one of the more popularly consumed Maharastrian dish. It commonly sold by Vada pav vendors.
  • "Batata bhaji": Deep fried, fine potato slices coated in chick pea flour batter.
  • "Mirchi bhaji": Deep fried, chillies. Some people prefer these coated in chick pea flour batter.
  • "Alu wadi": Colocasia leaves rolled in chick pea flour, steamed and then stir fried.
  • Mung dal wade
  • Sabudana wada
  • Surana-chi wadi
  • Methi wade

Vegetable and lentil preparations

  • "Amti" (Sweet and Sour Lentil Curry, made with Tamarind and Jaggery)
  • Batatyachi Bhaji (Potato preparations)
  • Vangyache bharit (Stuffed Aubergines/Eggplant)
  • Dalimbya (Beans)
  • Farasbichi Bhaji (French beans)
  • Palkachi Takatli Bhaji (Spinach cooked in buttermilk)
  • Kelphulachi Bhaji (Banana/plantain bloom)
  • Fansachi Bhaji (Jackfruit preparation)
  • Walache Birdha

Meat preparations

Soups and consommes

Unlike western eating habits where soups are consumed before the main course is eaten, in Indian cuisine, soups are consumed along with the main course. Some popular soups are:

  • Kadhi
  • Sol kadhi
  • Tomato saar
  • Kokam saar
  • Varan
  • Aamti
  • Katachi aamti

Pickles and condiments

  • Ambyache lonche (mango pickle)
  • Limbache lonche (lemon pickle)
  • Awlyache lonche (amla pickle)
  • Mohoriche lonche (mustard pickle)
  • Ambe-haladiche lonache (fresh turmeric pickle)
  • Mirachiche lonache (Chilly Pickle)
  • Dangar
  • Papad
  • Miragund
  • Sandage
  • Methamba
  • Thecha

Jams and jellies

  • Muramba (A kind of preserve, made from jaggery and seasonal fruits)
  • Sakhramba (A kind of preserve, made from sugar and seasonal fruits)


Two types of Tilgul, Maharashtrian sweet snack.
  • Puran poli: It is one of the most popular sweet item in the Maharashtrian cuisine. It is made from jaggery (molasses or gur), yellow gram (chana) dal, plain flour, cardamom powder and ghee (clarified butter). It is made at almost all festivals. It is heavy meal
  • Modak: is a Maharashtrian sweet typically steamed (ukdiche modak). Modak is prepared during the Ganesha festival around August, when it is often given as an offering to lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God, as it is reportedly his favorite sweet. For more info, visit Modak can also be fried with various sweet stuffings.
  • Karanji: is a deep fried dumpling with a filling of grated coconut sweetened with jaggery and flavoured with powdered cardamom seeds. It is also known as kanola. It is a common sweet during Diwali.
  • Gulab Jaam: are balls made of dense milk (Mava/Khava) and bleached wheat flour fried in ghee (clarified butter) and then dipped in sugar syrup.
  • Kheer: is prepared by cooking shevaya (vermicelli) in milk. The preparation is sweetened with jaggery or sugar, flavoured with powdered cardamom seeds and finally garnished with chopped nuts. Kheer is also made of Rice, Semolina, and Dudhi (white gourd).
  • Anarsa it is made by the rice jaggery or sugar
  • Chirotamade by combination of rawa and maida
  • Jilbi: Sweetened chick-pea flour deep fried in spiral shapes, then coated in sugar syrup.
  • Shankarpali: Sweetened flour deep fried in small square/diamond shapes.
  • Basundi: Sweetened dense milk dessert.
  • Gulachi poli is similar to puran poli but this does not include chana daal. The filling is made of grated jaggery, cardamom powder and nutmeg powder.
  • Aamras: Pulp/Thick Juice made of mangoes, with a bit of sugar if needed and milk at times.
  • Shikran: An instant sweet dish made from banana, milk and sugar.
  • Shrikhand: Sweetened yogurt flavoured with saffron, cardamom and charoli nuts.
  • Narali Bhaat : Sweet rice made using coconut with special flavoring given by cardamon and cloves.
  • Ladu: It is famous sweet snack in Maharashtra mainly prepared for Diwali

By regions of Maharashtra

The cuisine of Maharashtra is largely influenced by the landscape, the people and the crops grown in various regions. It is not only memorable for its subtle variety and strong flavours, but also because of the legendary hospitality of Maharashtrians. In affluent homes, feasts often start at mid-day and end when the sun turns towards the western horizon.

The people are known for the aesthetic presentation of food, which adds extra allure to the feasts. For instance, in formal meals, it is a practice to sing sacred verses to dedicate the meal to God. The guests sit on floor rugs or red wooden seats and eat from silver or metal thalis and bowls placed on a raised 'chowrang', or a short decorative table. Rangolis or auspicious patterns of coloured powder are drawn around the thali or the chowrang. To avoid mixing flavours, each guest is given a bowl of saffron scented water to dip the fingers in before starting on the next course. There is a specific order of serving of savouries and sweets, curries and rice or rotis, and a person who does not know this is not considered to be well trained in the art of hospitality. Agarbattis spread fragrance everywhere and the host believes the satisfaction of his guests to be his true joy.



The traditional crops of the Konkan region, the West coast of Maharashtra, are coconuts, mangoes, cashews, rice and a variety of pulses. The region also grows a great quantity of kokum, a sweet-sour fruit. Fish is available in vast varieties and seafood is in abundant supply. All these ingredients find place in the traditional and exotic Konkani food. Be it the mild, naturally fragrant vegetable mixture served with local papads, or a spicy-hot fish and meat curry with a coconut milk base, Konkani food is a gourmet's dream come true.

South Maharashtra

This region is rich in sugarcane fields, rice farms and milk. Well-irrigated farms produce plump, juicy fruit and vegetables throughout the year.

In the winter months, southern Maharashtra becomes a crucible of bubbling sugarcane juice, heated to make jaggery and sugar. This season offers a feast of coconut kernels cooked in the syrup and eaten with peanuts and fresh chana. Winter also means plenty of milk, and typical milk sweets like basundi, masala milk, shreekhand and kheer. It is a social event in these areas to go to the riverbank for a picnic or row down the river to eat young roasted corncobs (hurda) with pungent chillies and green garlic ground to make a tongue-scorching chutney. Milk, nuts, rough bhakaris of jawar, hot meat curries and chilli-spiked snacks are favourite foods here.


Though the Konkan strip and southern Maharashtra have their own excellent cuisine, nothing can beat the exoticism and variety of the food offered by northern Maharashtra - Vidarbha and Khandesh. The central Indian plateau is not as lush as the coast; therefore, coconuts and mangoes do not grow here. But Vidarbha is rich in peanuts, rice and, most of all, citrus fruit, like oranges and sweetlimes. In the winter, lorry-loads of oranges criss-cross the highways, taking mountains of juicy tangerines all over the state.

Vidarbha's cuisine is usually spicier than that of the coastal and southern regions. The ingredients commonly used are besan, or chickpea flour, and ground peanuts.


Home to the Peshwas and marathas, Pune is a historic city. The food of these communities is delicate, sparsely designed and entirely vegetarian. Puneri misal, thalipeeth, puri bhaji and dalimbi usal are not only tasty and nutritious, but inexpensive to make. These foods are available at traditional restaurants in Pune and Mumbai .

Pune's restaurants have sold this sort of food for centuries and preserved the ambience of the cuisine - laid-back, simple and served with hospitality.


Kolhapur is as famous for its spicy mutton curries as its Mahalaxmi temple or palaces. Popularly called 'Matnacha rassa', red-hot mutton dish is served with robust chappatis, a white gravy to dilute its pungency or a chilli gravy for the bravehearts experts in the art of digesting pure fire. Frankly, this curry can make the ears sing, and is not for all.

Kolhapuri misal is one of the spiciest dish. It is very famous in Maharashtra.


The cuisine of Auguranbad has been highly influenced by the North Indian method of cooking, as a result of the long Moghul rule in the region.

Aurangabad's food is much like Moghlai or Hyderabadi food, with its fragrant pulaos and biryanis. Meat cooked in fresh spices and herbs is a speciality, as are the delectable sweets.


The city of Nagpur inherits a glorious history and varied rich cultural influences and has burgeoned in recent times as a gourmet city. There are unusual snacks, curries, pulaos and sweets to pamper avid eaters. The food is generally spicy, with a good amount of ghee, and peanuts, dried copra and dal are often the basis of the flavours. Nagpur is also famous for its spicy non-veg preparations known as Saoji preparations, that are generally made by using clove-pepper paste instead of red chilly powder.

Festival Delicacies

Maharashtrians celebrate their festivals with characteristic fervour and food forms an integral part of the celebrations.

Sweetmeats are identified with particular festivals:


Diwali inspires a variety mouth-watering preparations like karanji, chakli, kadboli, anarasa, shankarpali, chirota, shev, chivda and varieties of ladoos like Dink ladoo, Besan ladoo, shingdana ladoo, Rava ladoo, and so on are consumed in Maharashtrian households by children and adults alike. Diwali is considered one of the most auspicious festivals in Maharashtra.

Ganesh Chaturthi

The most delectable offerings during Ganesh Chaturthi are modaks, small rice or wheat flour dumplings stuffed with coconut and jaggery. They are best when served with ghee.


On this spring festival day, people enjoy a puran poli, a sweet, stuffed chappati made of channa dal and refined flour (maida), served warm with clarified butter or a bowl of milk or sweentened coconut milk.

Other delicacies prepared exclusively for festival days are shrikand, motichur ladoo, basundi and kheer.

Fasting Cuisine

A large number of Marathi Hindu people hold fast on days like Ekadashi in honour of Lord Vishnu or his avatars, Chaturthi in honour of Ganesh, Mondays in honour of Shiva, or Saturday in honour of Maruti or Saturn. Only a certain kinds of foods are allowed to be eaten. These include milk and milk products, fruit, sago (sabudana), potatoes, nuts such as peanuts, purple-red sweet potatoes (called ratali in Marathi) and varyache tandul (Shama millet). Thus a calorie and carbohydrate- rich fasting menu can be prepared by selecting from the items listed above. Popular fasting dishes include sabudana khichadi or peanut soup(amti).

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