6 Signature Solapur Dishes: A Journey Through Local Flavours
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Solapur is famous for its handloom industries and wide range of cuisines. Solapur's culinary traditions are vastly inspired by the surrounding states that go beyond borders. The cuisine of Solapur reflects the iconic flavours of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Each neighbouring state's distinctive features are evident in Solapur's culinary landscape as well.

Thinking of Solapur cuisine will remind one of the generous use of peanuts and spices in every dish. Be it the iconic spicy peanut chutney or sweet lapsi, the people of Solapur know how to sneak in peanuts in every dish. The terrain of Solapur also affected the culinary landscape. Due to the tropical region, the most widely grown crop there is Jowar, and the locals utilise this grain in every aspect, from making bread to puddings.

The diverse nature of unique flavours incorporated in one cuisine portrays a fair contribution of regions and religions in the city. Several temples are situated in the city, inviting many pilgrims from across the nation. The Mahaprasad tradition in temples presents a hearty meal to all the devotees travelling from far away, and the city's hospitality towards the travellers is commendable. 

Several dishes hailing from this holy land are famous across the country. Today, this article will look at 6 of such dishes that define the signature culinary traditions of Solapur.

1. Shengachi Chutney

The exceptionally hot, spicy and delicious Shengachi Chutney, commonly called “shenga,” is made with peanuts. The generous amount of chilli in the dish gives it its iconic identity. Even though not many ingredients are used, this chutney will reflect a rather complex blend of different condiments. Making this chutney is very simple. Just roast peanuts, sesame seeds, and dry coconut, then blend with garlic, green chilies, and spices. The resulting mixture is ground into a coarse paste. Tamarind or lemon juice adds tanginess. This flavourful chutney is a popular option to pair with several Indian dishes and is most commonly served with Pav Bhaji.

2. Bhakri

The most celebrated bread of the state, Bhakri, is a staple of Maharashtrian households. Jhunka and Bhakri is a beloved meal for every Maharashtrian. Solapur, being the largest cultivator of Jowar in India, uses the millet in several courses of the day. For preparing bhakri, knead the jowar flour with water and a pinch of salt until a firm dough forms. Shape into rounds, roll on palms, and cook on a hot griddle with minimal oil. Increase heat for a golden, crisp finish.

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3. Shengachi Poli

A sweet bread made by combining roasted peanut powder with jaggery, cardamom, and grated coconut. This mixture is then stuffed into a wheat flour dough, rolled into flatbreads, and cooked on a griddle. The result is a sweet, nutty-flavoured roti, enjoyed as a delightful treat in Maharashtrian cuisine.

4. Amti

Amti is a signature Solapuri lentil curry known for its tangy and spicy flavours. Prepare this by cooking pigeon peas with turmeric and salt. Separately, make a coconut-based masala with coriander, cumin, and red chilli spices. Combine the cooked lentils and masala, simmer, and temper with mustard seeds, curry leaves, and asafoetida. It is often served with rice or flatbreads in Maharashtrian cuisine.

5. Sheera

Sheera is often served to gods at temples and as a part of Mahaprasad. Roast semolina in ghee until golden brown, and then add sugar, water, or milk. Stir continuously to prevent lumps and achieve a smooth consistency. Flavour it with cardamom and garnish with roasted nuts. Sheera is often prepared during festivals and religious ceremonies, offering a delightful and aromatic dessert cherished across various regions in the country.

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6. Batata Vada

Batata Vada, or simply aloo bonda, is a widely consumed snack across Solapur and neighbouring cities. Its different versions can be seen across the state. Batata Vada is often served on its own and sometimes between a halved pav. The versatility of this simple snack is so great that serving it between pav creates another iconic snack called Vada pav, an acclaimed famous snack of Mumbai. Making batata vada is pretty simple. Just boil and mash the potatoes and create a masala by cooking it in oil, spices and curry leaves. After masala is done, make balls out of it and dip in a besan batter then deep fry it until golden. Batata vada is ready to be served.

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Whenever in Solapur, try these delicacies. All of these iconic dishes will fill the taste buds with wholesome flavours and textures that will make for an unforgettable experience.