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Neha’s Kitchen

Get the best of Maharashtra this festive season

Maharashtrian cuisine encompasses the cooking styles, traditions and recipes associated with the Marathi people. It has distinctive attributes of its own, but also shares much with the wider Indian cuisine.

Maharashtrian cuisine covers a range from having mild to very spicy dishes Wheat, rice, Jowar, Bajri, vegetables, lentils and fruit form staples of the diet.

Peanuts and cashews are often served with vegetables.

Traditionally, Maharashtrians have considered their food to be more austere than that of other regions in India. The urban population of Maharashtra in metropolitan cities such as Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur have been open to influence of recipes from other parts of India and abroad. For example, the South Indian dishes Idli and Dosa as well as Chinese and Western dishes are popular in home cooking and in restaurants.

Indian Newslink reader Neha Mokashi, who lives in Lynfield, Auckland prepared the following typical Maharashtrian dishes for her family and friends last week. These are perfect snacks served during the Diwali season beginning on October 15, 2016

Chakli (with Bhajani)



4 cups Rice

2 cups Bengal Gram, split (Chana dal)

1 cup Black Gram, split (Udad dal)

½ cup Coriander seeds

¼ cup Cumin seeds

Method for Bhajani flour

  1. Roast rice, Bengal gram and black gram (each item separately) till the grains turn crisp. Do not use oil for roasting
  2. Also roast coriander seeds and cumin seeds
  3. Grind together all these items into a very fine powder

This is Bhajani flour for Chakli. This can last up to a year if stored in an airtight container

For the dough

(Yields about 40 Chaklis)

2 cups Bhajani flour

1 tbsp white sesame seeds

1 teaspoon Ajwain, Red chili powder (to taste)

A pinch of turmeric powder(optional)

1/2 tsp asafoetida

Salt to taste

1/4 cup oil (called ‘Mohan’ in Marathi)

The Method

  1. Heat some oil/ghee in a pan until it reaches the smoking stage. Pour it over the Bhajani and mix.
  2. Add sesame seeds, Ajwain, salt, turmeric powder, chili powder, and 1 cup of boiling water into the Bhajani.
  3. Knead the flour to make a soft pliable dough. Put it in the Chakli mould or kitchen press.
  4. Press out in circular motion to make Chaklis of desired size (generally of three rotations).
  5. Heat enough oil in the pan. When oil is heated enough, turn the heat between medium and low and put the Chaklis in the pan. Avoid over-frying.
  6. Fry Chaklis in small batches of two or three. A well-done Chakli stops bubbling and starts going down the oil.
  7. Once cool, store the Chaklis in an airtight container.

Besan Ladoo



4 cups course Besan

3 cups icing sugar

¼ cup warm milk

1 ½ cup ghee (clarified butter)

1 tsp cardamom powder

A few Raisins

The Method

  1. Mix ghee and Besan in pan and roast on medium flame, keep stirring the mixture till it starts giving out a nutty fragrance
  2. It is important to roast the gram flour well, till it starts releasing the ghee
  3. Remove the pan from the stove and keep down. Add warm milk and mix well so that no lumps are formed
  4. When it gets warm add icing sugar and mix well, keep it aside till it gets cool
  5. After the mixture gets cold, knead it into a soft dough
  6. Using small portions of the dough, make a nice round ball and add raisins on the top.

Karanji Gujiya



(Measurement: 1 cup = 250 ml)

For the Stuffing

1 freshly grated coconut

1 Cup sugar or as required

A pinch of nutmeg powder

½ tsp cardamom powder

½ tbsp ghee

For the Cover

2 cups all-purpose flour/Maida

2 tbsp ghee

¼ tsp salt

½ cup + 1 tbsp milk or as required

The Method


Heat ghee in a small frying pan. Add the shredded coconut and Sugar and sauté stirring often till the mixer just turns golden; add nutmeg powder and cardamom powder. Mix thoroughly and keep the stuffing aside.


Heat the ghee lightly, Take the flour in a pan and add the hot ghee and salt, Mix lightly.

Add milk gradually and knead the dough till you get a smooth texture, Cover the dough with a clean and slightly moist kitchen towel and keep aside for about 15 minutes.

Making the Karanji:

Roll the puri with a rolling pin on a dusted board, roll the dough round in 4 to 5 inches’ diameter

Place a tbsp or 2 to 3 tsp of the stuffing in the center or on one side of the circle, keeping the edges empty

Make sure that you do not over-stuff as then it becomes difficult to shape the Karanjis. They may also break while frying. with your fingertips; apply water all over the circumference edge

Gently bring together both the edges and join.

Gently press the edges with your fingertips, start pinching the pressed edges

Make all Karanjis this way and then fry them.

Keep the prepared Karanjis covered with a moist kitchen towel, so that the dough does not dry

Heat oil for deep frying in a pan or kadai, gently place the prepared Karanji in hot oil

Add a few Karanji while frying and but do not crowd them

Fry the Karanjis till they become crisp and golden

Remove and drain the Karanji on paper towels to remove excess oil

Once cooled, store them in an air-tight container.

Disclaimers: Neha Mokashi and Indian Newslink absolve themselves of any responsibility relating to the ingredients, cooking methods and other matters relating to ‘Neha’s Kitchen’ column. Some ingredients may not be available and may cause allergy in some people. Caution must therefore be exercised and Neha Mokashi and Indian Newslink will not be responsible to any health issues in this connection. Please consult your General Practitioner, Nutritionist or such others you may be consulting in connection with your dietary requirements.

Notes and Legends: 1. Quantities of sugar and salt are recommendations; please add or reduce to suit individual requirements 2. Tsp: Teaspoon Tbsp: Tablespoon



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