Monday, June 11, 2007

A full-fledged Maharashtrian meal

by Priyanka posted at 10:14 PM 6 comments

From left to right: lasun chutney, jhunka, pithla and in center- juwar bhakri

Jhunka- Bhakar- Pithla- Lasun chutney- Mattha

When Nupur of OneHotStove announced that she was guest hosting RCI: Maharashtrian Cuisine, originally concieved by Lakshmi of VeggieCuisine, i was overjoyed. I had a list of recipes that i wanted to make. But i knew for sure what recipe i wanted to contribute first- the humble, yet tasty meal made in most Maharashtrian households- the famous jhunka-bhakar.

Since i have started blogging and participating in recipe events- i eagerly look forward to making and learning about new dishes. So, armed with the recipe, courtesy of my aai once again, i rolled up my sleeves to put forth my culinary skills to test. Halfway through making the jhunka, i realised that the jhunka is a drier version of the pithla (i had never seen, eaten or made jhunka before) and that it wouldn't suffice two very hungry souls for the leisurely weekend lunch. So to complement the juwar bhakari (Indian bread made of juwar flour), i decided to make some pithla and some lasun chutney (garlic chutney) as an accompaniment. The jhunka and pithla are similar in preparation in that they dont require a lot of different ingredients. Both have a base of gram/chick pea flour- the only difference being that pithla is more liquidy while jhunka is a dry preparation and can be made using different vegetables too. I made the original jhunka without any veggies added to it.


Serves 2

31/2 tbs gram flour
salt to taste
1/3 tsp chili powder

To be ground into a paste:
4-5 green chillies
1 inch piece of ginger
2 cloves garlic

For Tempering:
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/3 tsp turmeric
a pinch of asafoetida
2 diced small onions (red ones preferably)
1/3 tsp chili powder

For garnish:

1. Heat 2 tsp of oil in a cooking pot. Add mustard seeds. When they start crackling, add turmeric, asafoetida and the onions. Saute them till they turn translucent, add some chili powder.

2. In a separate vessel, mix the gram flour, salt, chili powder, green chili-garlic-ginger paste and add some water to make a thick paste.

3. Add this mixture to the sauted onions and cook it for 5-10 minutes.

4. Garnish with coriander and serve hot with juwar or bajarichi bhakri, thecha (chili) or lasun chutney, and gul-tup (jaggery-ghee)or vangi batatyachi bhaji (eggplant-potato vegetable).


There are two versions to the pithla. This is my favorite one (the one with all the lumps in it). I will post the recipe for the second version the next time i make it. And here it goes:

Serves 2

6-7 tbs gram flour
2 cups water
salt to taste
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp shredded coconut (dry or fresh)

For tempering:
2 tsp oil
1/3 tsp turmeric
a pinch of asafoetida
3/4th tsp chili powder

1. Heat oil in a pan and add some mustard seeds to it. When they pop, add the turmeric, asafoetida and chili powder.

2. To this tempering, add the 2 cups of water, salt and the cumin and coconut powder. Bring this mixture to a boil.

3. As soon as it starts boiling, add the gram flour in small quantities and stir the mixture. Do not try to break the lumps. Cover the pan and let it cook for 10-12 minutes.

4. Serve hot garnished with coriander with bhakri, poli (roti/chapatis) or rice.

Lasun chutney

Serves 2

8-10 cloves of garlic
1-2 tsp roasted cumin powder
1/2 tsp chili powder (use lightly if you dont prefer it hot)
salt to taste

1. Roast the cumin seeds and slightly crush or powder them. In a mortar and pestle or in a grinder, finely grind the cumin and garlic together and add the chili powder and salt and mix it well.

P.S.- you can vary the quantity of chili powder as per your taste.

Juwar Bhakri

Serves 2 (makes 4 bhakris)

300- 400 gm juwar flour
salt to taste

1. Make a soft but firm dough by mixing the juwar flour and salt with some warm water.

2. Make big balls out of the dough and knead it for a long time ( according to my aai- the secret to making wonderful bhakris). Roll the ball of dough in the juwar flour and pat it with your hand into a round even flat shape (try making small bhakris so that they dont break). Keep touching it up lightly with water so that it doesnt dry up or break. (A fresh flour is always the best)

3. Gently remove and place the bhakri on a heated tava (pan) and cook till you see brown spots. Lightly touch up with water and cook it on the other side till it develops brown spots too.

4. Remove and serve hot with ghee.

P.S.- Variations- You can make a bhakri similarly out of bajra flour or by mixing juwar and bajra flour.

To finish off such a sumptous meal, i decided to serve some Mattha (spicy buttermilk)

Serves 2

6-8 tbs yoghurt
2 cups of water

2 cups buttermilk

salt to taste
sugar to taste
3 tsp coriander

To be ground into paste:
3 green chilies
1/2 inch piece of ginger

1. Mix the green chili-ginger paste with the buttermilk and add the salt, sugar and coriander to it.

2. Serve chilled.

The final outcome of all the effort that i put in was worth the wait. We relished the meal and finished it off with some cold buttermilk- a perfect meal for a wonderful relaxing weekend.

Comments 6 comments
Richa said...

tuzha chan sajavilela taat pahun tondala pani sutlay :) zhunka bhakar is such a classic, ani barobar thoda loni... ;) this has sustained many during college days :)

Nupur said...

What an amazing entry! You have captured the humble, yet delicious flavors of this meal. Thank you for the wonderful effort in putting this post together!

Suma Gandlur said...

What a great thali of Maharashtrian dishes.

Saju said...

what a spread!!
I am still working on what dish to cook for the Maharashtrian cuisine

Priyanka said...

thanks a lot. aai nemhi banvaychi ani amhi fakta khaycha kaam karaycho. but we really relished it growing up.

the pleasure is all mine. thanks once again for giving me an opportunity to participate.

thank you.

you are a great cook yourself. i know you will come up with something wonderful as usual.

Roopa said...

wow jumped on your blog from Nupur. The plate of meals looks awesome. Great entry!

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