MAHARASHTRIAN - Winter 2023 (Jan-Mar) Cuisine of the Quarter

I haven’t seen Britannia Cheese Block at local stores, but if you happen to be at Patel Bros. there’s no harm in asking. My memory is that the Britannia stuff is not similar to Velveeta, but it’s been many, many years since I’ve had either. Supposedly BCB is a blend of cheddar and mozzarella, and I guess you could try a half-and-half mixture of the two using a mild cheddar and supermarket mozzarella. I think what the recipe seems to need is something that will melt well.

ETA: The Marathi word for “gujiya” is karanji, and we’d have them at various festivals stuffed with coconut. None of this chocolate-cheese modernity for us.

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Thanks! Yeah, I read the description (the combo of cheddar and mozzarella) and that’s what made me wonder if the product emulsified them together. I have cheddar and mozzarella in the house though. I have Maunika Gowardhan’s more traditional recipe in Thali, too.

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Amul cheese (tin, block, or cubes) is guaranteed to be available at Patel brothers.

(But I can’t even with the chocolate and processed cheese… :flushed:)


Thanks! I was wondering about Amul too as a sub. I admit that my curiosity is somewhat of the morbid variety. My mind went to Velveeta fudge, which I know exists but I’ve never had.

Amul is the original, Britannia came much later (90s?), and eventually other smaller brands too. Amul >>>> all others :heart_eyes:

Oy. But I do get morbid curiosity.

(The rest of the Amul will make killer cheesetoast / grilled cheese — indeed there are emulsifiers that enable it to melt like a champ, and lots of black pepper plus dipping in copious ketchup helps “balance” the salt.)


Being Indian-American is not its problem, though.

I read the whole tweet thread, and she later says, “I mean the majority of South Asian identified authors out there are phoning it in, or they don’t really know how to cook in the first place. But they have the mainstream wht food media fooled.” The majority? It’s quite a statement, and yet she names not a one. I don’t know, I don’t have any data on this, but it seems to me we have more than ever books showcasing regional variations and sub-cuisines. And while there are also plenty of weeknight-oriented books they exist and are popular for all cuisines. Are there more for Indian food than others? No idea. But her statement that the “majority” of the authors don’t know how to cook seems like hyperbole to me. Maybe someone is disappointed in her book sales.


Andyachi ChatNi for brunch today (literally, “Chutney of eggs”). I capitalize the N in chatNi to hint at how it is pronounced..

Apart from its name, unique I think to Maharashtra (but I may be wrong), this is essentially the same dish as the one called “bhurji” elsewhere in India and “akuri” by the Parsi community.

I threw into warm-hot ghee some chopped shallots and cooked till they softened, added a little fake ginger-garlic paste (used my finest microplane to grate in garlic and ginger), some chopped green chillies, stirred for thirty seconds, then added some halved grape tomatoes and stirred till they softened a bit. (At this stage you can add a bit of cumin-coriander powder, but I didn’t, nor did I add a pinch of garam masala at the end.) I added beaten, salted eggs with a large pinch of turmeric, then proceeded to scramble on medium heat. I like my regular scrambled eggs cooked on very low heat just to a custardy consistence (we’d call these “English scrambled” in my Bombay home), but I like my egg chutney cooked hard. A minute before they are done, I added some finely chopped coriander leaves and some more chopped chillies.

Ideally I’d have the eggs with chapatis but I wasn’t in the mood for the effort, so used packaged flour tortillas instead, heated till charred in spots on an open gas flame.

There’s a variant of this dish that involves grated boiled eggs added to the onion tomato mixture.


Maharashtrian Masale Bhat

I was going to do a more simple pulao to go with saag paneer tonight (which itself was originally going to be some kind of keema, but then it turned out that I didn’t actually have minced lamb in the freezer like I thought). Since I had goda masala in the house now, this ended up coming together fairly quickly. You make a simple vegetable curry with browned onions, mustard seeds, and goda masala, cauliflower, carrot, and green beans (ok, so I subbed a bag of a frozen veg medley that was cauliflower, carrot, and broccoli). You fold in cooked rice and then garnish with cashews that have been toasted in ghee and some coconut. I served it with the saag paneer (Asma Khan recipe) and burani raita.


Your Masale Bhaath brings back interesting memories of eating in homes of those who considered themselves the highest of the highest castes. Meals there were ritualized and would begin with masale bhaath, move to chapatis and myriad vegetables on a thali, then end with plain rice, simple varan (as excellently described upthread) and dahi (yoghurt).

There was some grim amusement in eating at those homes, where under normal circumstances we would not have been entertained. My father had climbed from humble beginnings in a small town in Northern Maharashtra to a position of considerable prestige and influence, and he couldn’t be ignored. He’d turn down every invitation where he thought some exchange was expected – just as he’d refuse, to my teenage despair, most of the Diwali sweets we’d get – but an occasional lunch or dinner would slip through.


Nominations are open for Cookbook of the Month for April. Come on over and nominate if you are interested in participating next month.


hey @saregama

can you name the malvani place your dad discovered a few decades ago. My current favorite in Mumbai is Chaitanya, which is in dadar/prabhadevi, also has a new location in andheri.

In mumbai, my other favorite maharastrian places are: Prakash and Aaswad in Dadar, and Aram in VT. Really like Aram’s vada pal

For folks in the sf Bay Area, there is a mahasratrian place (vegetarian) in the South Bay. Puran Poli in Santa Clara (I think)

A tale of two prawn recipes this evening:

First - Mumbaiya Butter Garlic Prawns

This was a pretty simple saute of shrimp (technically I used shrimp) with oil, butter, garlic, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and lemon.

Second - Marathi Kolambi Masala

This dish was a bit more involved, although I took a shortcut. You are to grind up a spice blend of chiles, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, coriander seeds, black cardamom, and green cardamom. I used this Konkani Style Koli Masala, that I made previously. So my spice blend had everything she called for and about 10 other spices… Otherwise, I followed the recipe as written. I toasted coconut and some onion and blended it to make a paste. Frizzled curry leaves in oil and then cooked down onions, and then tomatoes, adding the coconut paste at the end to also fry. The masala powder gets bloomed in the pan at this point. Add the prawns/shrimp, let turn opaque, and then season with a pinch of sugar and a little vinegar. Add coconut milk and more curry leaves and a squirt of lemon. Garnish with cilantro.

I have to say I really enjoyed both dishes. The shrimp masala was very rich and I think benefited from having the lemony garlic butter shrimp to take some bites of in between things. I rounded the plate out with some of the leftover Masale Baath, as well as steamed broccoli (which got a drizzle of salsa macha). I am very full right now!


More memories:

In my Bombay home, we had variants of these dishes, but not exact replicas, and never a dry prawn dish alongside a wet one. Other households may have differed.

My own versions of the two dishes have evolved from their Maharashtrian roots, so they may no longer be “authentic”, but here they are:

A] Dry prawns/shrimp (Jhinga in Marathi): Pop mustard seeds in ghee (the recipe you quote mixes olive oil and butter – Preeti Mistry would have another fit), lower heat slightly, add curry leaves and, as they crisp (in seconds), add the shrimp and about 15 seconds later quartered grape tomatoes, chopped chillies, microplaned garlic, salt and a big pinch of turmeric. Stir around for a few seconds (or minutes if you like your shrimp well done, not close to raw as I lately lean to). Turn off heat, and add finely chopped cilantro.


  1. I use the shrimp shell-on at times. At others I peel beforehand and make a quick, concentrated broth with the shells and some aromatics which I stir in towards the end of the cooking. Less dry, but more flavorful.
  2. Prawns in Maharashtra, as elsewhere in India, are cooked – in my experience (that of others may vary) – to a firmer stage than is typical in more careful preparations here. That is true of other fish and seafood, too. Possibly the hotter weather is not friendly to semi-raw seafood sitting around.

B] Simpler wet prawns/shrimp: Saute chopped shallots and garlic in coconut oli, then when the shallots are translucent add coriander powder, some turmeric, chopped red chillies and whatever other dry masalas you deem fit at the time, salt, and a good handful or more of coconut flakes and grated ginger. Stir around till you nose tells you it’s ready, then scoop out at least half a cup of the mixture. (Totally non-trad, but totally worth it.) Add coconut milk and let simmer till everything is nicely melded. Add shrimp and cook to your palate’s desire. Garnish as you please, bit sprinkle some of the reserve spice-shallot mixture on each serving.


I am always so appreciative of the background and memories you share for these dishes! I also noted with some amusement the use of olive oil in the first recipe. I thought about reaching for my mustard oil, but then felt that perhaps that was too Bengali for this dish? As it happened, I ran out of my neutral oil and ended up using a little olive oil (but doubled the butter). This recipe felt very similar to Asma Khan’s Ghee Roasted Prawns (hers includes ginger rather than tomato). I liked the black pepper in this one, but it felt very, very similar to a scampi style preparation from the Mediterranean.

Interestingly, I went with Maunika Gowardhan’s recipe because the first one suggested pairing it with a very wet one from their Web site (Asma Khan also pairs hers for a suggested dinner with a wet coconut fish curry), so I was hoping I was heading in the right direction with one that was at least from the same region and somewhat drier in its finished incarnation!

Don’t tell anyone, but I use it too on many occasions, instead of ghee.
Although, as you say, it makes one feel Maha-Bengalian not Maha-Rashtrian.

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Nominations for next quarter are open: Spring 2023 (Apr-June) Cuisine of the Quarter - NOMINATIONS

Here’s an interesting parallel:

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