Maharashtra Sadan | Marathi food in Delhi

Maharashtra Sadan - Interiors
Maharashtra Sadan – Interiors

When I spent more than half a day, devouring delicacies at Maharashtra Sadan – from breakfast till lunch.

I told my friends, ‘I want to eat everything’ and they took me seriously. So much so, that #LetsEatEverything became our hashtag for the day. Read on:

The Place or Should I say Palace?

As my Dad’s office was at Baroda House, I used to frequently traverse K. G. Marg. So, I vividly remember Maharashtra Sadan’s new building, gradually taking its beautiful current form. Upon visiting, I discovered to my pleasant surprise, that it’s as much of an architectural spectacle from inside, as its from outside. Swanky interiors coupled with cultural artifacts, project the progress, as well as culture of Maharashtra. The canteen, more of a modern café, is furnished with basic necessities and looks better than most sadan/bhawans canteens.

The Food – Breakfast

Poha, Missal Pav, Upma, Sabudana khichdi, Sabudana Vada, Batata Vada, Vada Pav and Solkadhiyes, we probably ordered more than half of the menu. While the Poha (rice flakes) made with onions, curry leaves and potatoes was a bit dry for my liking, I liked the mild yet tasty Upma (semolina), prepared in the simplest manner, with beans, curry leaves and onions. The Sabudana Kichdi (sago), was similar and just about decent. I borrowed a bite of Missal Pav from Vipul’s plate. Although, it was better than what I had in Mumbai, somehow, I can never really take to this dish.

Luckily, my favourite and most familiar Maharashtrian delicacy – Vada Pav – arrived. The classic hot vada in a cold Pav, was served with imly (tamarind) chutney and dry garlic chutney on the side. It was good, but I’ve had better Vada Pavs in Delhi. The vada lacked the crunchy coating that it must have and there was no stand out seasoning in the potatoes.

Sabudana Vada, however, turned out to be the star! With crunchy coating of sago and gooeyness of potatoes, spicy seasoning of red chilies and salt, it was fried to perfection and tasted delicious. I could eat an entire plate of these. The curd served along, provided much needed relief from the spicy flavours and crunchy texture of the vada.

The Batata Vadas (Potato fritters), were good too. Potatoes boiled, seasoned with masalas, rolled into little balls, coated in Besan (gram flour) and fried till they’re golden brown. Served with Tamarind chutney and dry garlic powder, they ironically, didn’t taste as good inside the Pav, wonder why.

I also had Solkadhi, a refreshing drink made out of coconut milk, kokum and ginger-garlic paste. It was sweet, salty and spicy, with a taste, that’s hard to describe. Though I liked it, but, many won’t, I guess.

We were done with our morning meal. So, we waited for the breakfast time to get over and the clock to strike 12. That’s when they begin their lunch service.

The Food – Lunch

I wanted to have lunch, primarily, because I really wanted to try Non-Veg Marathi food. To our utter disappointment, they did not have any seafood to serve. So, we ordered for Chicken Kohlapuri, Mutton Varhadi and Mutton Malwani and a Thali.

I was warned way too many times before ordering Kohlapuri Chicken, as it’s known for being too spicy. The deep red colour of the gravy did look fiery and I was scared of the lavangi mirch effect. However, it wasn’t really too spicy, as the thick gravy was perhaps toned down with cashews and tomatoes. The different types of jeera, poppy seeds and other aromatics made it taste very different from any North-Indian curry. The chicken was well cooked and I enjoyed eating it, with both Chapati and Rice.

Mutton Varhadi, had juicy pieces of mutton, cooked in a luscious gravy of dry coconut and ground garam masalas, that are roasted before cooking. The taste of coconut was milder in this curry compared to Mutton Malvani, prepared in the famous Malvani masala. The mutton was tender and beautifully cooked in both curries. Despite having come from the same state, they had distinct flavours of their own, reminiscent of their parent cities and communities (Vidarbha and Konkani). I especially loved Mutton Malvani.

The Thali was homelike. I liked that the spinach in Aloo Palak was crushed in a rustic manner, keeping its flavour and nutrition intact. The curry in Chhole had water like consistency with mild flavour, just like we eat it at home. And the simple Yellow Daal garnished with fresh coriander had a tadka of jeera and ghee, unlike the Punjabi version with onion-ginger-garlic-tomato. And the Thetcha, the quintessential Marathi pickle to my relief, wasn’t too spicy either.

How I wish, though, that they served a Marathi dessert instead of a very forgettable Jalebi in the Thali.

So, for desserts, we ordered Puran Poli and Shrikhand. I am not a fan of overly sweet desserts. But, Sankalp I guess could finish two bowls of Shrikhand all by himself. I did actually like Puran Poli a lot. A sweetened flat bread filled with a mix of coconut and jaggery and garnished with ghee (clarified butter) on top, the boys loved it so much that we asked for a second serving.

And that’s how we finished our Marathi Food Fiesta. We do want to visit the sadan again, for evening snacks and some lovely Mumbai Pav Bhaji.

Eating with the Gang!

Maharashtra Sadan - The Gang
Maharashtra Sadan – The Gang

Since my hostel days in Kolkata, I have hated eating alone. I strongly feel that food tastes better when you have good company.

So, when I recently decided to visit Maharashtra Sadan, besides Saurabh and Gurjas, I invited my friends – Sankalp, Divyank, Shubham, Vipul, Pondi – who enjoy eating out, as much as I do. We met outside Maharashtra Sadan at 8:30 AM, only to find out that the canteen was shut for outsiders. Sankalp (who hails from Mumbai) thankfully, speaking in Marathi, coerced the guards to let us in. Vipul (who also belongs to Mumbai) had already managed to get through, owing to his proficiency in Marathi as well.

We decided to stay there until lunch, to avoid any further hassle. We ate, we chatted and made merry. Since, it was my introductory Marathi meal, Vipul was very resourceful about it. He spoke fondly about Indore’s Pohe, Ghatkopar’s Pav Bhaji and Pune’s Missal. I learnt that Missal is the Marathi word for mixture and that purists never serve Missal with Pav, as pav was something that the Portuguese brought along.

He also told me that Varhadi is a curry that comes from Nagpur city in Maharashtra. Varhadi is a milder version of Saoji cuisine, which also belongs to Vidharba region.

He spoke about the food from Koli Community (the native fishermen community of Mumbai), one of the oldest communities to live in Mumbai and how it is known for some of the best seafood preparations available in the region. And usage of coconut to enhance flavour in Malvani curry.

Sankalp, on the other hand, warned me before having the spicy Thetcha, a pickle made out of muddling green chilies and mustard seeds together. The chilies aren’t deseeded, hence, the hotness of this pickle is not meant for the faint hearted.

While these two explained the food to us Dilliwalas, we relished it to our heart’s content.

Divyank, Pondi, Gurjas and Saurabh were busy savouring Puran Polis.

We spent so much time eating and chatting, that even the staff had started participating in our conversations. I guess, that’s why having a companion to eat with, is so important. It helps you to have a memorable meal, where you eat, laugh, learn and make friends.

In a nutshell:

Location: Located on the main KG Marg next to Baroda House near India Gate, the sadan is easy to locate.

Atmosphere: The lobby is beautifully decked up with fancy artefacts depicting the history of Maratha Culture. The canteen is basic, but, clean and spacious with comfortable seating.

Service: Courteous and efficient staff, with basic knowledge to explain dishes.

Food: The varied variety of Marathi dishes you get here is hard to find elsewhere, hence, it deserves at least one visit.

Must HavesMutton Malvani, Chicken Kohlapuri, Sabudana Vada, Solkadhi and Puran Poli



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