Tuesday, May 22, 2007

RCI June: Maharashtrian Cuisine!

A couple of months ago, Lakshmi of Veggie Cuisine started an event that is very close to my heart: it is called RCI or Regional Cuisine of India. Each month, a region or state of India is chosen as a theme, and food bloggers are encouraged to explore the cuisine of that region and try making some delicious and authentic food from that region. The first month was Tamilian Cuisine, and here is the appetizing feast of the Tamil round-up. Right now, the second event, Andhra Cuisine is ongoing (last 2-3 days, so hurry!), hosted by Latha of Masala Magic...that round-up will be up by the first of June. When Lakshmi was looking for bloggers to host for this event, I jumped up and begged her to let me host one of them. And so, here it is, the RCI for the month of June is...
toran
(Pictured: Marigold flowers and Mango leaves, depicted in yarn, woven into a garland or "toran", a must-have for every festive occasion in Maharashtra)

...Maharashtrian Food! From the Southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, we move a little bit to the North and all the way to the West Coast of India, to the state of Maharashtra. Maharashtra is the third-largest state of India, densely populated and a hot-bed of commerce and agriculture. The language spoken there is Marathi. It is the state where I spent the first 22 years of my life, hence my obsession with love for Marathi food. Maharashtra has many different regions...the coast by the Arabian sea is home to rainy tropical forests while interior Maharashtra is dry and prone to extreme temperatures. Marathi food is very diverse, reflecting the many different regions and sub-cultures of Maharashtra.

If you are not very familiar with Maharashtrian cuisine, here are some resources that might be helpful: Lokpriya and Mumbai Masala have good recipes, Wikipedia provides several links, and here is an essay on Maharashtrian food.

I can't think of many (or, actually, any!) English-language cookbooks that specialize in the food of Maharashtra, but cookbooks on general Indian cuisine (of which there are hundreds) often have a few recipes that come from Maharashtra so it is worth looking through them.

Of course, you can also go and look for recipes and ideas from all the blogs who cook up a lot of Maharashtrian cuisine. In these wonderful blogs, you will find everything from fasting foods to feasting foods and everyday favorites.

You could choose to tuck into some breakfast, or eat a wholesome meal of bread, amti (dal), simple bhaaji (vegetable), rassa (curry), flavored rice and salad.

Or you might be more in the mood for some tea-time snacks, washed down with steaming hot chaha (chai) or a cool beverage. You can even go "back to basics" and try a recipe for an authentic Maharastrian masala.

Let's not forget that Maharashtra is home to the the sprawling, throbbing megapolis of Bombay. All the dozens of Indian culinary traditions collide in Bombay, for it is home to people of all regions of India, who migrate to this city in search of work or education, chasing dreams of a better life. Bombay is home to chaat of all types, including a spicy one-dish meal that is popular all over Maharashtra!

So whether you decide to go with traditional techniques or their creative counterparts, have fun and cook up a storm! We would love to hear of the stories behind the recipes too, whether it is food memories from childhood or from traveling to Maharashtra, or knowing someone who comes from there.

If you would like to participate...
1. From now until 25th June, write a post on your blog that features Maharashtrian (Marathi) cuisine.
2. In your post, please include a link to this post so that your readers can play along.
3. Feel free to use either or both logos given below in your post: the RCI one (courtesy: Lakshmi) or the RCI:Maharashtrian one.
4. Mail me at nupurDOTkitturATgmailDOTcom with the permalink/URL of your post.
5. If you have a picture of the dish, please attach a photo (400 X 400 pixel) to the mail.
6. Check back on July 1st for the round-up right here on One Hot Stove!





Please e-mail me if you have questions, or need ideas or resources. Thanks in advance for your enthusiastic participation!

31 comments:

  1. That's lovely..and will surely participate

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  2. Thanks for this informative post, Nupur.

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  3. Was waiting for this!! :) Expect my total participation.. just one Qn.. any limits for number of entries??

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  4. I do have a exclusive cookbook on Maharashtra and will post it!:))
    Hope to see you at FH when I do,can't wait to cook up Marathi cuisine!!

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  5. Fantastic!
    Any question as Arts: any limit on the number of entries?

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  6. cool one nupur...will surely participate this time for RCI:) by the way i guess u meant lakshmi who started this event, not latha:)

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  7. Madhuli, looking forward to your authentic Maharashtrian dishes, straight from Maharashtra!

    Cynthia, I'd love it if you could participate :)

    Arts, send as many entries as you like! Would love to see 'em all!

    Asha, I'm excited to see your entry!

    TC, no limits! All entries will be welcomed and appreciated! :)

    Sia, that's what it says in the very first line of the post...that Lakshmi started the event...right? Would love to get your entry!

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  8. I am so excited Nupur! After south indian food, maharashtrian food is my next favorite! I just love the flavors and the variety. I love u're A to Z on Marathi food!
    Cant wait to participate!

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  9. Sia...sorry, sorry, I just realized the place where you are trying to point out my mistake...sigh, can't do it from this computer, but I will correct it tonight.

    Latha, I'm excited too, can't wait to see your entry!

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  10. Nupur!

    I have a post that I wrote earlier called Maharashtrian Brunch! I would love to submit it, will be adding the links and putting up the banner for this on my blog tonight.

    Kanchana

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  11. ooh cant wait to participate in this one :)

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  12. In which case June is going to be Maharashtrian cuisine month! There are a few recipes that I have been wanting to blog...if only so that we have a family record!

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  13. who else but you would be the ideal hostess of marathi cuisine.I have tried more mah. recipes from your blog than from any cookbook.. so will try to participate!

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  14. Was waiting for this!!! kay majja!! lahan pani cha athvani ani gharcya jevnachi godi!!

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  15. Nupur,

    Thanks to events like these that we get to learn a bit about different cusine and cultures.

    Maharashtra cusine is completly new/foreign to me, will research for recipes.

    Thanks for hosting
    Regards

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  16. Cool write-up, Nupur..I really liked that u have included so many links..I want to come up with something special for the event!

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  17. Hi Nupur, I haven't commented before. I saw a link to my blog here, thanks!

    As for english books on Marathi cuisine, there are a few, but some are hard to find and none are too fabulous. I will blog about them sooner or later.

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  18. Kanchana, the idea is really to write posts for this event, not submit old ones, but I'm sure we can make an exception here :)

    Dhana, glad you are going to participate!

    Anita, please please do post your favorite family recipes...those are the most precious!

    Supriya, that's a very generous thing to say, but there are so many talented Marathi bloggers out there! :) Would love to get your entry.

    Manasi, totally! Can't wait to see your entries (note: plural!!) :) :)

    Sreelu, hope you do get a chance to do some exploration and come up with something nice as you always do!

    Swapna, I bet you will come up with something quite spectacular!

    EvolvingTastes, I have been reading your blog avidly! I would be so thrilled if you participate :) (if you have the time and inclination, of course!)

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  19. wow thats great! will try to cook up will be getting busy some other things hope i will have enough time. i surey want to try to cook up something as i love maharatrian food :)

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  20. I can crown you the queen of links!!!!! You have some patience to looks for such and link them as well!!!!! Hats off to you! :)

    My sis-in- law is married to a maharashtrian and I love eating all those thali peeth and zunka and what not at her place!!! Now its time to dig her kitchen for all of that!!!

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  21. Hi Nupur, you've been so busy while I sit guiltily on the sidelines being lazy! I enjoyed catching up here this morning -- that Flat Stanley at the arch and with Dale just made me smile and smile :) What a fun idea! Meanwhile, I'm drooling over the pasta with lentils and carrot pickle... so many interesting "q" dishes too! And your banana muffins look light and fluffy inside... I could never make a good muffin but a hockey puck, yes! ;)

    Looking forward to your Maharashtrian RCI -- the toran is simply gorgeous. And I *will* get back in gear myself, too! :)

    Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

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  22. This is so nice .Will surely come up nupur with few things.I did not particiapte in andhra RCI bec i really not aware of the andhra cuisine .But ofcourse ur will do it for sure .Have been in mumbai for 7+ years , so will come up with something ,,,The AFAM round is up ...Do chk it out

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  23. Qutie informative and friendly post Nupur, I admire your polite way of writing. Appreciate the last freindly line - your willingness to help them out. Hats off Nupur. In this virtual world these are common etiquetts, we need to follow. Will dig something new and try for you. Viji

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  24. Hi Nupur,

    Kay mast blog ahe tujha!

    Anyway, since am eating some maggi noodles right now, can you write about ways to improve them? I know adding fresh onions, tomato, soya sauce and chopped cilantro.

    Any other ideas?

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  25. Thanks for the beautiful write up Nupur. Hope you have a great time hosting the event. Good luck!

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  26. I have a few Maharashtrian cookbooks (in English, I'm not Indian!!!), but in general they are not as well-written as the ones I have for other cuisines. It's a bit of a struggle to use them, and although I love the food, I don't use those cookbooks much. Too bad, because I love Maharashtrian food. But I have only really ever been successful with it by walking in the footsteps of people from there and seeing what they do and then mimicing them - your blog, and one other friend locally who is from there are my key sources.

    The cookbooks I have are: Ruchira (by Ogale) and Vegetarian Maharashtrian Food (by Patil). Both bought from Indian sources. Both OK.

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  27. Roopa, I'm definitely hoping that you get the time to send in an entry :)

    Coffee, please go hunting for some wonderful family recipes from your sis-in-law's place!!

    Linda, so nice to see you back! Enjoy the long weekend :)

    Deepa, wonderful, then you know lots of popular bambaiyya dishes! Looking forward to your entry!

    Viji, thanks so much, you are too kind! Hope you are able to participate :)

    Tana, Maggi noodles cannot be improved, they are perfect already :D (and not so healthy, so I eat them as a guilty snack once in a while...but just as they are)

    Lakshmi, thanks for letting me host! This is so much fun!

    Diana, thanks so much for sharing that info! I have the Ruchira in Marathi. I agree, Maharashtrian food is sadly under-represented in cookbooks. Hope that changes soon...till then, bloggers rule :)

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  28. It will be a shame if I miss this one. Nupur can't wait to see the contributions.

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  29. Nupur,
    Your intro post is so interesting that I cannot imagine how good the round up is going to be....been off the internet for so many days and have loads of catching up to do in the HOT KITCHEN here...even missed so many of those alphabets for which I'd been planning to share something!

    Being a Mumbai chi mulgi, I dare not miss this event :)

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  30. HI Nupur,
    I've been on a long break and this seems the perfect subject to post on as a come back.Love the banner and the thali!

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  31. I love the thoran! Amazingly beautiful. Did you make that? (I honestly admit I haven't read the whole post, sorry). How can I get my hands on one of those?

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