Masale Bhaat is inextricably linked with Maharashtrian weddings. It is a spicy, Marathi version of the vegetable pulao and is usually served after the first course of varan-bhaat. Once the wedding rituals are done with, guests head for lunch in a shaded 'mandap
', sitting in long, orderly lines that extend from one end to the other. Servers run along these 'pangats
', balancing trays of food and plopping it on a plate with amazing speed and dexterity.
First come the salt, lemon, and pickle/ chutney, followed by the glorious trinity of varan-bhaat-toop
(dal-rice-ghee). Once your tastebuds have reveled in this comfort food, they are taken on a gastronomic journey that might begin with puris
and batata bhaji
, make a short stop at alu
or kothimbir wadi
, take a breather with mattha
, get a fresh start with masale bhaat
and finally end in the sunset of a jalebi
It is hardly necessary to persuade a person to eat well when the spread is this delicious but it is the done thing. "Lazoo naka" (don't be shy), the father of the bride or groom will tell the guests as he walks by their table. When they can finally eat no more, the guests make way for the next 'pangat', basking in the warm vibes of this glorious meal and blessing the new union as they leave.
Back to the dish at hand, it is a fairly simple preparation, relying on roasted spices for flavor. The recipe comes from Wadke 'kaku' (aunty), our lovely neighbour for a few years, who is responsible for most of the authentic Mahasrashtrian dishes in my mother's repertoire. Though the authentic version is made with the short grained but fragrant 'ambe mohar' rice, sona masuri makes a good substitute too.
MASALE BHAAT (Spicy pulao with ivy gourds)
1 cup Basmati rice
1 cup ivy gourds (tondli/ tindora), quartered
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
a few curry leaves
a pinch of asafoetida
3-4 green chillies, slit
5-6 cashewnuts, broken
3 tbsp oil
salt to tasteMasala -
heaped 1/3 cup dry, shredded coconut (copra)
2 (2cms) cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seedsGarnish -
fresh coconut and cilantro
Wash the rice in two to three changes of water. Drain and keep aside. On moderate heat, roast the copra, coriander seeds, cumin, sesame, cloves and cinnamon till the coconut turns golden. Let cool. Put in a spice/ coffee grinder and grind into a powder. Keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add curry leaves, asafoetida and chillies and saute for a few minutes. Next add gourds and saute some more. Add rice and mix well. Add the powdered spices and mix until the rice is well coated. Add cashews and season to taste. Add two cups of water, cover pan with a lid and cook until rice is done.
Garnish with fresh coconut and cilantro. Serve hot with a raita.
* Brinjals, bell peppers, peas or a combination of vegetables works just as well as ivy gourds in masale bhaat.
Here are some great recipes from fellow bloggers if you feel like making a 'wedding lunch' -
Nupur's waran-bhaat Priya's
Vaishali's flower-matar cha rassa
My strawberry shrikhand
Labels: marathi recipe tondli tendli pulao masale bhaath bhath rice