Relish the flavours of Marathi cuisine at Mazi Mejwani festival at The lalit Great Eastern, Kolkata
ONE SIP OF the Solkadhi was enough to show us that Marathi cuisine is delightfully unique. The kokum and coconut milkbased drink hit our throat with its strong spices and that’s how it is supposed to greet you and whet your appetite, informs executive chef Parimal Sawant, The Lalit, Mumbai who was in the Kolkata branch to present Marathi cuisine on our platter at the Mazi Mejwani festival. Talking about the spread, the Mumbai-based chef tells us how he wants everyone to embrace Marathi cuisine. He adds, “The menu has dishes from both the coastal as well as plains of Maharashtra. While coastal cuisine is more about fish and chicken made majorly with fresh coconut and mild spices, those from the plains are about lamb and dry coconut and are extremely spicy.” Continuing he pointed out, “Keeping in mind the palate in this region, I have made the cuisine less spicy.”
We munched on the classic dry snack of the region— the crispy Bakarwadi and sweet Sakarpala that was served with three distinct condiments before the entrée arrived. While the familiar green chutney with a kick of raw mango was no surprise, the other two dips called Thechas (meaning pounded) made of peanut, grated dry coconut and chilli powder and, peanut and garlic with a smoky texture teased our taste buds. The condiments also go well with the famous Batata Vada and Kanda Bhaji. Thaalipeeth, a multi-green flat flavourful dish, served with white butter, is a good breakfast deal.
From the main course, we sampled the dum style Masala Bhaat. Made with ground spices, potatoes and topped with mint and grated coconut, we loved the simplicity of the dish. A must at occasions in the region, the dish, the chef says this one can offer competition to the biryani. Not getting into the debate, we moved on to sample Nagpur’s special Saoji Mutton and thanked the chef for making it less spicy for us. Cooked overnight, the aromatic and spicy mutton curry pairs well with the bhaat. The Fish and Prawn Curry gave us a taste of coastal Maharashtra and the mild-spiced curry cooked with coconut milk soothed our palate. While chef used bhetki for the preparation, back there Pomfret, Kingfish and others rule the table. The cuisine is not partial towards non-vegetarians and you will find creamy delectable Pithale, a curry made with gram flour and a tadka of cumin, basil and asafoetida. Zunka, a dried version of Pithale is recommended as well. Ending our tastingon a sweet note, we sampled the famous fried modak. Giving a mango twist to the Shrikhand, the chef also treated us to the gooey dessert that made us say Apratim!
Meal for two `3,000 ++. On till August 4