Beyond Pav, 6 Unique Maharashtrian Breads You Should Know

Breads are the backbone of Indian cuisine. No matter where you go in the subcontinent, you’re sure to come across some local favourite. And while there are some breads that are well-known across the country - and the world - such as the humble chapati or the tandoor-seared naan, there are some which are inextricably tied to their places of origin.

The long history of India’s bread dates back as far as the Harappan civilisation. They even find a place in the 16th-century text Ram Charitamanas by Tulisdas where they were referred to as 'Rotika' and were served in a katori. 

Maharashtra is an area rich in grains, and almost every one that’s grown in the state finds its way into a bread of some sort, be it a bhakri or a poli. Rice, millet, sorghum, jowar you name it and it can be (and are) milled into flours to create unique and delicious breads that echo the flavours of the region. 

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Here are 6 uniquely Maharashtrian breads you should try:


This thick pancake-like bread is a staple of Malvan and is most often eaten for breakfast along with some chutney. Amboli is a soft, spongy, and slightly tangy rice and urad dal-based pancake. It's made from fermented rice batter, giving it a unique texture. It may be similar in nature to a dosa or uttapam but tends to be much fluffier and lighter, the difference being in the ratio of rice to lentils used since in uttapam it’s usually 3:1 and in Amboli, it’s 2:1.


There are several types of bhakri made by different communities around Maharashtra. For example, the Koli community makes rice bhakris which are soft and pliable by patting them into a wet steel paraat instead of flouring them which gives them a hydrated texture. In the Khandesh region, however, the Kalnyaachi Bhakri is more common, made from a mix of urad dal, bajra and sorghum which makes it more filling. In general, these round, unleavened flatbreads are made from various grains and are typically thicker and denser than other Indian breads, and it's an essential part of Maharashtrian cuisine, served with the thick besan curry called pitha, or any sort of vegetables, curries, or chutney.


Maharashtra’s answer to Neer Dosa, Ghavan is a speciality of the Konkan region and is a thin, lacy rice-based pancake that is delicate in flavour and in appearance. The difference between ghavan and traditional dosa is that the batter is usually non-fermented, making it a more straightforward recipe. It's a versatile bread that can be served with sweet or savoury accompaniments, making it a popular choice for breakfast or snacks.

Malvani Vade: 

Most commonly found as a pairing with the spicy chicken curry called kombdi rassa, Malvani Vade resemble puris but since they’re made with multiple grains they tend to be denser and a little less pliable than the typical wholewheat ones. The crispy and spicy fried bread made from a mixture of rice flour, urad dal, besan, and spices is a speciality of the Malvan region, known for its bold textures.

Puran Poli:

One of the most well-known of Maharashtrian breads and one that cannot be missed is the sweet, stuffed Puran Poli. Recipes for this staple differ from region to region, and even from household to household, but the baseline is a wholewheat dough stuffed with ‘puran’ a mixture of ground chickpea and jaggery. Additional spices like cardamom, saffron, turmeric and nutmeg can be added according to personal preference, and the thickness of the poli can also vary. It’s often served along with warm milk or a sweet jaggery syrup, or even just enjoyed plain. 


The key to a great thalipeeth is to roast the flours before you start. This technique gives rise to the name, Thalipeeth Bhajani. Made from multiple grains like chana, jowar, bajra, moong and urad dal, each grain should be roasted separately and then ground to make this dense flatbread. The dough is then seasoned with spices and herbs, and often includes onions and coriander, creating a satisfying and wholesome meal.