Rice has a very central place in Maharashtrian food. No meal is complete without a serving of bhaat (steamed rice). The most common accompaniment is indeed the ubiquitous varan or lentil soup (dal) and perhaps a rassa gravy, but on festive days the meal platter is incomplete without a Masaale Bhaat or some other rice delicacy that will have you coming back for more. If you are bored of the plain steamed rice routine, here are five must-try bhaat recipes to elevate your meal to a delicious feast.
Arguably the favourite rice recipe in Maharashtrian cuisine, the Masale Bhaat is made from the finest indigenous Indrayani rice. Soaked rice is cooked with an assortment of fragrant spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, pepper, bay leaves and with the iconic Goda Masala. The spices are cooked with cauliflower and sometimes with other vegetables, fried cashews, turmeric, fresh coconut scrapings, and asafoetida to give it its decadent flavour.
Rassa rice is another one-pot dish in which long-grained rice, Kolam, or Indrayani rice is stir-cooked with spices like star anise, green cardamom, black cardamom, bay leaves, and turmeric. This mixture is pressure cooked in the gravy of a mutton or chicken dish like gavran kombdi rassa instead of plain water. This gives it the indomitable flavours of the Deshi Ghaati Masala in the rassa and makes the rice a finger-licking delicacy.
This spicy brinjal/aubergine rice is usually served on special occasions such as festive days or when you have guests over. This delicious rice dish is made with Goda Masala, an incredible spice mix containing cumin, coriander, red chilies, cinnamon, cloves, and bay leaves. The masala is mixed with dry roasted sesame seeds, coconut, and cooked in onion and yogurt. The rice is then added and cooked to fragrant perfection.
Dodkyacha bhaat, as the name suggests, is made with ridge gourd and is the perfect rice alternative for those who wish for something light and mild without a lot of spice added. The ridge gourd is sauteed in a tempering of mustard seeds, cumin, green chili, ginger, and asafoetida. The rice is then stirred in and cooked in a buttermilk mixture. Cumin-coriander powder is the only spice mix added to this dish, which gives it an incredible taste.
Rice is at the heart of Marathi cuisine. Dishes like dal khichdi and varan bhaat are everyday staples, but absolute favourites. The secret to perfecting these recipes is to use indigenous and authentic ingredients. You can check the Indrayani rice price and order from any pure and genuine Maharashtrian store like Aazol Foods.