This graceful woman was only one of several authentic Maharashtrian fixtures at the inaugural dinner of ‘The Great Maratha Warriors Food Festival’ at Sofitel Mumbai BKC. The inauguration was held at Sofitel’s most charming Parisian restaurant, Pondichery Cafe. It was a Friday night and I wrapped up work early in order to make it for the lavani dance performance and take my time sampling the bharlela vangi (stuffed brinjal) and kharanjya (Maharashtrian sweet) concocted by chefs Sugandha and Varsha Polke.
Of course, all the recipes were honed and perfected by Chef Milind Dhonsekar, Sofitel’s in-house food maverick. He told me that puran poli doubled as a meal and a dessert depending on how you had it. Dip it into milk and it’s a great dessert; eat it with some katachi aamti (yellow lentil broth tempered with whole Indian spices) and you can turn into lunch.
I also tried several delicacies like bharli khari vangi (eggplant stuffed with dried coconut and Indian spices) and bhajela kandyatala batata (potatoes cooked with cumin and onions) paired with excellent bhakri and shengdanchyi (peanut) chutney. But what I enjoyed most was the thirst-quenching buttermilk served in little earthen glasses.
Apparently, the food showcased at the festival is just what the Maratha warriors of yore used to eat to build their strength. And here are the people behind his lovely localised food festival, organised between 20th to 30th November, 2015.
Don’t fret if you missed the Maratha Warriors Food Festival. Sofitel has a theme food festival in one of its restaurants practically every week and you should probably drop in now and then to stay updated.
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