Thursday, April 29, 2010


When you think of a traditional Maharashtrian wedding, the picture of a priest chanting the mangalashtak 'Shubh Mangal Sawadhan' immediately comes to mind. A Maharashtrian wedding is a pretty elaborate affair with several customs and traditions starting with the engagement ceremony called 'Sakharpuda' and followed by Kelvan, Haldi, Seemant Puja, Gowrihar Puja, Mangalashtakas, Kanyadan, Saptapadi, Lakshmi Poojan and Griha Pravesh.

At the end of the wedding ceremonies, is the traditional lunch which is attended by all the family members, relatives and friends of the bride and the groom. Traditionally the food is served on freshly washed banana leaves and the guests are seated on wooden planks called 'paat'. The meal is satvik vegetarian without the use of onion and garlic. The food is laid out in a particular order on the banana leaf and each item has a predefined place. A typical maharashtrian wedding thali includes koshimbeer (raita), chutney, varan bhaat toop limbo (dal, rice, ghee and lemon), masale bhaat, panchamrut, aluche phatphate (colocassia leaves), bharli vaangi (stuffed baby eggplants) or batatyachi bhaji (potato bhaji), jalebi or shrikhand- puri or basundi for dessert  followed by the traditional 'vidyache pan' for mukhwas.

Of all the dishes above the one that I havent tried making at home is 'Panchamrut'. Panchamrut indicates the presence of 5 main ingredients in a preparation. This Panchamrut should not be mistaken for the Panchamrut (ghee, honey, sugar, yoghurt aand milk) we make during poojas that is used as teerth. The Panchamrut that I made can either be served as an accompaniment or a main course. It is a sweet, sour and spicy dish with peanuts, sesame seeds and fresh coconut being used as the main ingredients. Few years back, I inherited this Maharashtrian cookbook 'Ruchira' from my MIL. Luckly it did have a simple panchamrut recipe which I followed with some changes. This dish turned out to be lip smacking good. I served this with varan bhaat toop limbu to make a complete Maharashtrian meal.

Ingredients -
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup grated fresh coconut
3-4 green chillies chopped
2 tsp Maharashtrian goda masala/ kala masala
1/4 tsp asafoetida/ hing
1/4 cup tamarind
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2-3 tbsp jaggery
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste

Method -
1. Dry roast the sesame seeds and peanuts separately and crush them preferably in a mortar pestle into a coarse powder
2. Soak the tamarind into some hot water to make tamarind juice.
3. In a pan, heat some oil. Add mustard seeds
4. When the mustard seeds splutter, add chopped green chillies and asafoetida or hing
5. Add sesame seed powder, crushed peanuts, coconut and mix together.
6. Then add salt, tamarind juice, jaggery and mix well.
7. Let this cook for sometime. Serve this with varan- bhaat, toop limbo