The month of Shravan in Maharashtra calls for all Hindus to fast throughout the month. Some follow it religiously, others opt to do so only on Mondays and Saturdays or some auspicious days of the month. Fasting can be troublesome, especially if you are not sure where to procure food that’s not just upavas compatible but also healthy. Keeping the ongoing month of Shravan in mind, a couple of restaurants in the city have added Upavas or Fariyali Thalis to their menu.
From just being a handful, the number of restaurants serving the Fariyali Thali has increased. In fact, even big hotels like Courtyard by Marriott are now offering fast Fariyali Thali, and some like South Indies have dedicated an entire festival to upavas food.
“Our menu of thali has all delicious items that can be eaten during the fast. It includes Batatyachi Sukhi Bhaji (Dry Potato Vegetable), a seasoned potato dish made specifically for fasting, Rajgira Poori, which is prepared from a dough made of rajgira flour, coconut milk, fresh grated coconut, cashewnut powder, cinnamon and powdered sugar.
We also have Peanut Amti (a type of dal) as well as Danyachi Amti (pureed peanuts served in the consistency of kadi),” says Anirudha Limaye, chef at Courtyard by Marriott Pune Hinjewadi. The chef adds that items like Sabudana Khichadi, Khamang Kakdi (a cucumber salad served with crushed peanut, lemon juice, sugar, salt and coriander), Bhajaniche Thalipith, Varai, lemon pickle, sweet potato wafers and also papad of sabudana and potato are also part of the Fariyali Thali.
The South Indies on the other hand has designed a menu offering an array of dishes including unique flavored Rasam to go with Puri, spicy Andhra Chilly Mushroom, Grilled Pineapple Pazham, Podi-tossed Idli, Cocktail Idli tossed with Gunpowder, Madras Bhel and mouthwatering desserts like coconut payasam.
The main course begins with a choice of lip-smacking appams, iddiappams, parathas, kaistew, spicy kozhambu and kurma along with buttermilk sorbet. The Upavas Thali is also available at Shreyas and Asha Dinning Hall. It includes Potato Bhaji, Sabudana Khichadi, and a cucumber dish.
“Although the variety is less as compared to the previous two places, we mentioned, the quality of the food is great,” says Santosh Pawar, manager, Shreyas Dining Hall. He adds, “We have Upavas Thali in which there is Sabudana Khichadi, Potato Bhaji, Upavas Thalipeet, potato papad an around two-three types of koshimber and srikhand.
” The thali here is priced Rs 215. At Asha Dining Hall, the price of Upavas Thali is just R120. “A this price you get Sabudana Khichadi, banana, srikhand, Potato Bhaji, Cucumber Koshimber, dahi and Upavas Chatini,” says Prakash Kani, owner, of Asha Dinning Hall. Unfortunately Upavas Thali is served only on Mondays and on some special days.
Even Palimar Hotel has included Upavas Thali to its menu. “We are also offering one item free item on the purchase of one item with South Indian dishes and hot beverages between 11 am to 7 pm for a group of four or more,” informed Venkat Rao, director, Palimar Hotel.
Sweet Potato Chips
500gm sweet potato
Salt to taste
1 tsp red chili powder
500 grams ghee
Wash and peel the sweet potatoes and slice them thinly. Do not put them in water but fry them in moderately hot ghee till crispy. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and chilli powder. Serve as a snack or as part of the meal.
Recipe courtesy: Chef Aniruddha Limaye, Courtyard, Marriott Pune Hinjewadi.