Much like the savouries, a bunch of Maharashtrian desserts are also uncomplicated, simple and wholesome.
For a state more popular for its fiery Rassas and Misal, Maharashtra’s little-known but delicious variety of desserts have often been missed out. But that’s also because so much of the region’s cuisine remains unexplored to date. Maharashtra is India’s third-largest state and home to many sub-regional cuisines such as Kolhapuri and Malvani. Much like the savouries, a bunch of Maharashtrian desserts are also uncomplicated, simple and wholesome, where the emphasis is on flavours and peculiar accents rather than making the dessert unnecessarily rich by adding random ingredients. If you haven’t had many Maharashtrian desserts, we urge you to try these five the soonest.
Dripping with ghee, this sweet and ultra-soft flatbread has indulgence written all over it. Puran Poli has two components, a sweet lentil filling flavoured with jaggery and cardamom (puran). This filling is stuffed inside a maida flat-bread called poli. It is cooked on a tawa with oodles of ghee. The dessert is prepared on special occasions like Diwali, Sankranti, etc.
Karanji, just like Puran Poli, is also a festive preparation. It can be called a close cousin of North Indian Gujiya and is widely prepared on the occasion of Diwali. It is essentially a semi-circular, deep-fried dumpling with a sweet filling of coconut, jaggery, dry fruits or khoya.
We know, we know, the sweet is ubiquitous to Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, but cravings can hit out of nowhere, right? Modak is a sweet dumpling made with rice flour and filled with sweet coconut and khoya-based stuffing. Modaks are of many kinds, steamed, fried, stuffed, plain. Nowadays, you also have off-beat Modaks like Chocolate Modak and Gulkand Modak.
Gavhale is a thread-like, hand-made Indian pasta made with semolina. Also known as Valvat, Gavhale is boiled in milk with sugar and aromatic spices for the preparation of this creamy and sumptuous kheer. Gavhale Kheer is usually made on special occasions like weddings and religious ceremonies, it is also one of the Naivedyams for Maa Gauri, or Goddess Parvati. The traditional kheer is one of Maharashtra’s well-kept culinary secrets.
Srikhand is almost as popular in Maharashtra as it is in Gujarat. It is said that Bhima, from Mahabharata was the original creator of this sweet dish. In all these years, Shrikhand has been reimagined and experimented with in many ways, but we have to admit that we do have a soft spot for Amrakhand or Mango Shrikhand. Shrikhand is made by pouring yoghurt through a cheesecloth and removing all the whey. The creamy yoghurt that remains in the cloth is mixed with sugar and other fragrant spices, to make Amrakhand, pulpiest bits of mango is used.
There are umpteen desserts beside these, like Patoli, a steamed dessert in which leaves of turmeric or the fascinating range of sheeras and ladoos. Next time you plan a trip to Maharashtra, make sure you satisfy your sweet tooth as well, for there is plenty in store.