The people of Maharashtra equate anna (food) with Lord Brahma. They believe that feeding a hungry person is like feeding Lord Brahma. No wonder their traditional food tastes so delicious that it seems to satisfy your appetite as well as soul. The warm hospitality extended by the people of the state adds to the taste of the food. The cuisine of Maharashtra is largely based on the crops that are grown in and around its various regions. Grated coconut is a very common ingredient, used in most of dishes made by Maharashtrians.
However, their main medium of cooking is peanut oil. Infact, they make extensive use of peanuts and cashew nuts in their vegetables. Kokum, a deep purple berry that gives a sweet-cum-sour taste, is also a very popular ingredient used in Maharashtra cuisine. One of the most popular dishes of the state is bharlivangi (small brinjals stuffed with coconut). As for sweet dishes, people of Maharashtra love puran poli. It is basically a kind of bread (roti), with rich stuffing of a sweet mixture of jaggery and gram flour.
Even Shreekhand, sweetened curd with the flavor of cardamom and saffron, is liked by almost all Maharashtrians. However, on a more generic basis, we can say that the traditional food of Maharashtra is known for its subtle variety and strong flavor. Maharashtrians pay as much attention to the presentation of the food as its preparation. In the traditional families of the state, the family members as well as guests sit on the floor rugs or red wooden seats for eating the food. The cutlery for eating as well as serving the meal is either that of silver or metal.
A short decorative table, known as ‘chowrang’, is kept in format of every person and it is on this table that thalis (plates) as well as the katoris (bowls) are kept. In the earlier times, the area around chowrang or the thali used to be decorated with rangoli designs. Since the meals comprise of a number of courses, each person is given a bowl of water, scented with saffron. He dips his fingers in the bowl after every course, to ensure that its flavor doesn’t get mixed with the next.
Even the courses, comprising of curries, vegetables, rice or rotis, savories and sweets, are not served haphazardly. There is a particular order that has to be followed in serving these dishes. A person who doesn’t know the order of serving various courses is considered a bad host by the people of Maharashtra. Last but not the least; ambience is also paid much attention. Some people even burn incense in their house to make the guest feel welcome.