Mumbai Food: Maharashtrian eatery at Dadar spreads warmth during winter
A Maharashtrian restaurant kicks off a winter food festival celebrating heirloom breakfast recipes as it gears into its 35th year today
A dollop of petroleum jelly rubbed generously on your chapped lips or wrapping a fluffy scarf around your neck can provide comfort, but warmth can be fleeting in the face of January's reckless winds. Warmth, described as "the quality, state, or sensation of being warm", can only truly be found in things like a steaming cup of honey lemon tea or in the wholehearted embrace of your loved one where it's momentary but lingering.
Satori is a delish pancake that is specially prepared during the month of Sakranti. Made with sesame seeds and other condiments, the rich dessert has a jaggery filling and is enjoyed best with ghee or homemade white butter.
Many moons ago, when Maharashtrians woke up at the break of dawn, known colloquially as 'dhundur', it was in the search of this warmth that they discovered ingredients like sesame, jaggery and ghee, and recognising their ability to heat the body from within, seamlessly weaved them into their cuisine.
Gradually, these culinary practices evolved into an eclectic spread featuring seasonal offerings and became symbolic to the month of Paush or Dhundur Maas which typically lasts from mid-December to mid-January.
Thalipeeth is a multigrain flat bread made with jowar, bajra, besan, atta and rice flour. It is seasoned with condiments like ajwain, salt, and cumin, coriander and red chilli powder. Chopped onion and chillies are added, too, to give the dish a crunchy texture.
Now, Aaswad is preparing to kick off an eponymous festival even as they celebrate 35 years of the restaurant's existence today. "We wanted to revive these age-old traditions and preserve, nurture and promote them," says Suryakant Sarjoshi, owner of the popular Dadar eatery.
"We are making a sincere effort to share the importance of these festivals and to acquaint the younger generation with the scientific reasoning behind seasonal food," he explains, adding, "The festival started last year and was received with great enthusiasm among food lovers. So, we thought of bringing it back."
Amboli is a unique pancake made with rice or gram flour. A curd and garlic chutney and sweet and sour lemon pickle accompany the dish.
The menu, curated by Sarjoshi's wife Smita, and mother Mangala is a reflection of the community's rich gastronomical legacy. It features simplistic and wholesome eats like a lemon and honey welcome drink, a bowl full of groundnuts served with jaggery and a mixture of seasonal offerings like fresh brown berries, green gram and a sweet made with sesame seeds and sugar. We tried the spread and picked four favourites.
Kharik kheer is a delightfully sweet kheer made with organic jaggery and dried dates. It has a piquant yet mulled flavour. The sweet treat is served warm at the end of the meal. Pics/Bipin Kokate
On January 6 to February 3 (only on Sundays); 7 am to 9 am.
At Gokhale Road, Dadar West.
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