Batata wada gaathiya, Nagpuri tikkhat shev and Mahalaxmi chivda
We often wonder why Mumbai doesn't have sufficient platforms to celebrate the home state's traditional culinary fare. So, when we heard about Ikai Maharashtra's new outlet at Terminal 2 (Departure) of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSIA), we were keen to sample the fare to see if it stays true to the âassal' (genuine) Maharashtrian taste.
When our tasting sample arrives in the newsroom, the illustrations on the gift boxes saluting Mumbai's icons - from its landmarks to its auto rickshaws and BEST buses - grab eyeballs immediately. We start with the Konkani kaaju chi bhajji (Rs 800). While the fresh cashews, spice mix and crunchy coating complement each other to make for a tasty finger snack; added tangy flavour by kokum or amchur could have enhanced the taste, considering it is a widely used flavour in Konkani cuisine.
Badam aloo laccha mix and kaaju bhajji have a good mix of spices. Pics/Nimesh Dave
Other savoury products such as batata wada gaathiya (Rs 240) - an ode to Gujaratis in Maharashtra, badam aloo laccha mix (Rs 400), and Nagpuri tikkhat shev (Rs 240), can make for ideal binging snacks at the airport. The Mahalaxmi chivda (Rs 240) impresses us with its generous use of roasted coconut and dry fruits. It is less oily than the original Kolhapuri chivda but lacks the spiciness that usually makes it a crowd pleaser. The packaging is hassle-free and keeps the contents fresh; however, the kaaju bhajji and laccha mix could turn soggy once the plastic-sealed cover is opened, as it cannot be secured.
In the sweets section, there's a wider variety including Haapus chocolate katli (Rs 100) and Mohanthaal (Rs 100) that will please the Marathi foodie. Our favourite is the naralachi wadi (Rs 100), a Konkan delicacy. The addition of strawberry compote is a sweet twist. Sandwiched in between, the compote does not overpower the coconut's taste while also adding in a sweet-sour flavour. The bites of strawberry are a delish surprise.
We liked the illustrations of Mumbai landmarks, autos and BEST buses on the gift packaging; (left) the sweets came packed in air-tight containers
Considering that the store is at CSIA, these goodies are ideal gifting options to share a slice of Maharashtra. While we wish Ikai hadn't gone all that easy on kadak flavours of Maharashtrian spices, the twists added to the mithai get a thumbs up from this Marathi mulgi.
At: Terminal 2( Departure), Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Vile Parle East.
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