The Science Behind Delicious Flavours Of Maharashtrian Cuisine

Taste and smell are important parts of food, but texture is just as important for making a pleasant culinary experience. According to Krish Ashok, author of the cookbook "Masala Lab," understanding the science behind texture is the key to understanding why some foods, like Maharashtrian cuisine, make our taste buds sway in unique ways. A lot of what makes Maharashtrian food so appealing is how the different textures are used in the dishes. 

Author of Masala Lab, Krish Ashok addresses the scientific explanation for the intriguing flavour of Maharashtrian cuisine. He explains, “Flavour is a function of aroma, taste, sight sound and sensations. As I researched masala lamb, I tried out food from every part of India and I found myself finding Maharashtrian food more interesting than other cuisines. The engineer in me wanted to find out if there was a fake scientific reason for it and I found it thanks to Doctor Ganesh Bagler, a researcher of computational gastronomy, an emerging data science of food, flavours and health).  If you look at the flavour molecules in every ingredient used in a dish and then calculate a score for how many ingredients share flavor molecules, you will find that Maharashtrian Cooking uses team most flavored diverse ingredients in the same dishes. And one of the lesser appreciated aspects of flavor is “texture”. We can detect the differences between crisp and soggy, rough and soft, etc. And more than any other cuisine in Indian Maharashtrian cooking pays extra attention to texture and variations in every dish.  

As an example of how even the most basic Maharashtrian foods may benefit from the simplest inclusion Chef Keetrida Phadke shows how a variety of ingredients can enhance the texture and, consequently, the flavour of even the most basic dishes.. In a recipe, Kakdichi Koshimbeer, note how the cucumber is cut in a non-uniform way. That makes for an interesting mouthfeel. On top of that, the roasted peanuts add another layer of texture to this dish. In Patta Kobhichi Bhaaji, cabbage becomes very soft when cooked, so the counterpoint is chana dal, which famously retains nuttiness no matter how long you cook it and when frying something like Vaangyache Kaap, that has a soft interior. This could be fish as well. The idea is to give it two different layers of crunch, the even crispness of rice flour and the sandy crunch of rava.” 

Maharashtrian cuisine, with its emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, showcases the principle of texture-driven cooking. From the robust textures of street food favourites like pav bhaji and misal pav to the delicate softness of puran poli, each dish is meticulously crafted to tantalize the senses. 

Here are some Popular Maharashtrian Dishes To Try 

Vada pav 

Vada pav, one of the most popular sandwiches in Mumbai, gets its name from the two essential components: pav, or white bread buns, and vada, or spicy mashed potatoes deep-fried in chickpea batter. The harmonious combination of the dish's varied textures—from soft pav to crispy vada—enhances the flavour of this simple snack. 


Puffed rice, crunchy sev, tangy tamarind chutney, and fresh veggies like tomatoes and onions make up the delicious Bhelpuri street food that is popular in Maharashtra. With different textures, the puffed rice, sev, and vegetables bring a lovely balance to the dish. Both tourists and locals love Bhelpuri for its mix of textures and blast of flavours. 


Popular in Maharashtra, Bhakri is a bread cooked from a variety of grains such as rice flour, pearl millet, jowar (sorghum), or bajra. Jowar gives the bread a robust, slightly grainy texture, bajra gives it a nutty flavour, and rice flour makes it softer and smoother; each grain adds something special to the bread. Because of its varied textures, Bhakri is a delicious morning staple in Maharashtrian cuisine. 


The wholesome consistency of the famed Maharashtrian dal Amti is the result of a combination of many different ingredients. Coconut imparts a touch of richness and a delicate graininess, building upon the creamy base provided by split pigeon peas. Spices such as mustard seeds and curry leaves add crispness while tamarind's tartness keeps the meal in balance. This lentil dish is beloved all over Maharashtra because of the way these ingredients come together to make it. 

Bharli Vangi 

One of the most popular dishes in Maharashtra, Bharli Vangi, is stuffed brinjals that are cooked thoroughly with a tasty combination. The brinjals give it a delicate, melt-in-your-mouth feel, while the stuffing—usually a combination of peanuts, tamarind, coconut, and spices—adds crunch and depth. Those who enjoy the varied and tasty offerings of Maharashtrian cuisine love Bharli Vangi because of the wonderful contrast in textures created by the crisp stuffing and the soft brinjals.