Indian cuisine is as wide, varied and colorful as the country itself. Every part of India has it's own culinary heritage to boast about. Probably one's lifetime is not enough to even get to know about the regional cuisines of India.
Kudos to Lakshmi for starting such an amazing event, which gives us a glimpse of regional cuisines of India and an opportunity to try our hand at unfamiliar cuisines. This month's RCI is hosted by lovely Nupur of One Hot Stove and the theme is Maharashtrian cuisine.
I know very little about Marathi cuisine, except a few things like the common foods (Maharashtra & neighboring states) prepared at my home, the chat foods we enjoy at the local eateries, Maharashtrian 'Goda masala' & 'Kokum' which I come across when I go to shop at Indian grocers which have an exotic appeal (to me). I had the opportunity to taste Maharashtrian food as a tourist and I know that this is no way to get acquainted with local cuisine in a true sense.
This event has inspired me to try Masala Bhath / Masale Bhath (this is more appealing, sounds more like Kannada), a spicy, Maharashtrian rice dish. It is a simple, delicious rice - vegetable preparation, spiced up with the masala (powdered spices) added to it. It is simple in terms of preparation. If you have prepared your masala powder in advance, then you can come up with this dish in matter of minutes. The vegetables usually that go into the dish are tindora, green peas and eggplants. Some how the tindora - eggplant combo was not appealing to me and hence I skipped eggplants from the dish. If you are not familiar with Marathi cuisine , then believe me, this dish falls under 'Crowd Pleaser' category.
Rice - 1 Cup, heaped
Washed and quartered, Tindora - 1 cup ( I used 10 oz frozen tindora)
Green Peas - 1/4 cup
Oil - 3 - 4 Tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - a few pinches
Cashew nuts - 1 Tbsp
Few curry leaves
For Masala powder, you need:
Grated Copra / Dry coconut - 1/4 cup
Sesame Seeds - 1 Tbsp
Sesame Seeds - 1 Tbsp
Cloves - 3 - 4
Red chillies - 5-6
1 inch Cinnamon pieces - 2
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Cardamom - 1
Preparation of Masala Bhath:
I took the privileges of a cook and went the easier way. I cooked the rice before, instead of cooking at the end along with the veggies..
Cook the rice using two cups of water in a pressure cooker.
On low to moderate heat, dry fry all the masala powder ingredients till they turn light brown in color. Let them cool and grind them into a fine powder. Keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan/wok. Add mustard seeds to the oil. When they start to pop, add cashews, curry leaves and asafoetida. Saute them for a few seconds and add tindora and green peas. Cover the lid and keep stirring in between. Let the tindora cook till they are done. I fried my tindora till they were crisp.
Now add the masala powder to tindora and saute for a few seconds. Then add cooked rice and salt to the tindora mixture and mix till all the rice and vegetables are coated well with the masala powder.
Garnish with cilantro.
I served hot masala bhath with papad and raita. If there are any authentic Maharashtrian side dishes that go with this dish, please let me know.
Masala Bhath - My entry to RCI - Maharashtrian cuisine hosted by Nupur.