Maharashtra Day Celebrations:The Andrean Way

When my friends Ranjit Mankeshwar and his wife C invited me for a fest on Sunday evening,I had no idea what it was about.All I knew was that I was going to be around friends and that was reason enough.They bought passes for us for the Maharashtra Day Celebrations,the Andrean way.It was held on the grounds on St Andrew's School(therefore the word Andrean),Bandra,Mumbai and was a fest of food,music and dance.1st May is the day Maharashtra became an independant state in 1960,as did Gujarat.

The cuisine: Maharashtrian,Goan,Mangalorean and East Indian.There were four main stalls serving each of these and were packed to the gills with people.

The Maharashtrian stall had Puran Polis,Missal and a dry chicken dish.This I have often so I headed for the other stalls.

The best decorated stall was the East Indian one.It had garlands of mango leaves and marigold.
There were bunches of white onions everywhere.

I asked for the Dinner Tat(dinner plate).The rice was served with a spoon made of coconut shell.

The dish had a delectable Chicken Moilee,Salad,a single sausage,rice and marzipan.Meat was introduced into East Indian cuisine by the Portuguese.East Indians were essentially fisherfolk,like the Kolis.They were converted to Christianity by the Portuguese.Later on they worked for the East India company from which they got their name.Their food,language and traditional clothes have strong Maharashtrian influence.They live in Mumbai,Thana and Salsette.They are artistic in all that they do.Their food presentation has great finesse.

Ranjit ordered the Chicken Vindaloo.It was sold out in the first hour itself! It's fiery red in color but not very spicy.The vinegar gives it a tangy kick.

What is special about East Indian food is the handpounded Bottle Masala which is stored in dark bottles so that the flavours remain.My friend Joan tells me that there were ladies who pounded these in their courtyard and the aroma could be sensed miles away.....the numerous spices including cinnamon,chillies,pepper,sesame seeds,mustard seeds,cumin and coriander seeds.
East Indians also finely chop their ingredients as compared to Goan cusine where it is ground.They use vegetables in their meat dishes such as Lonvas which has drumstick.I came across their lovely community cookbook which has recipes from several generations.

C told me about Sannas which are similar to idlis but are made with rice and coconut and are sweetened with toddy....which also imparts a white colour.Chityaps are East Indian crepes.

I bought a bottle and it came with recipes from Hyacinth.Email me if you want her number.

Next was the Goan stall next to the band that was performing.The atmosphere was like being at someone's wedding,"except that you were buying your own food" added C,who is half Goan,half East Indian.

At the Goan stall run by Cafe Goa,there was coconut based Chicken Xacuti.A wellknown Goan masala is the bright red Rechad masala,made of chillies,garlic and pepper.Goan food has Portuguese influence.

Next to that was the Mangalorean stall which had so many people that I only took pictures of the menu.Can any of you tell me what Paan Polea and Vorne are?

The dance floor had elderly couples jiving and also a fusion dance by women dressed in Navaris!
And a man too,might I add...the person in the magenta saree below!

The peppy lawyer @Mumbaicentral pointed out that the elderly couples danced so well that it would be embarrassing to try our amateurish dancing in front of them

I thought it was a lovely evening that promoted togetherness....we were eight of us....Goans,Maharashtrians and half an East Indian.Some of my generation and some from generation next(an adorable trio).What a wonderful way to celebrate our grand state:Maharashtra! Only Ranjit's favourite word could do it justice: "EPIC!"


Akshata said…
Paan Pole (Pole pronounced as Po+ Lay) are Dosas made from unfermented batter made of ground rice and coconut. They are similar to "neer dosas". They are very soft and translucent. The coconut in the batter imparts a distinct aroma to these "paan poles" and they may be eaten either with chutney or with a sweet mixture of freshly ground coconut and jaggery.
Akshata said…
Vorne is a kind of kheer or Payasam but its made using jaggery instead of sugar.
Subu said…
Pann Polea is the other name of Neer Dosa which is quite popular in Mangalore and in Mumbai, They are also called as Pan-Pole.
Vorne is kind of a sweet dish similar to Kheer but made with Chana-dal or Moong-dal and coconut milk.It is sometimes called as Payasa as well.
Sassy Fork said…
Thanks Akshata and Subu!! Wish I had tried them!
Manisha said…
A feast!

Bottle masala was on my list of must-gets but my shopping was severely hampered by poor health so I didn't even try making an effort to find it. There is always the next time!
Subu said…
Akshata, you have reminded me of home! Hot Pan-poles straight from the stove and a fiery hot chutney on the side or ghashi! Yumm!!
The best combination in the world. But never have tried with the coconut and Jaggery mixture.
Sassy Fork,you got to try other things which sound equally delicious :-)
sonia said…
This blog is such a wonderful blog. I felt that I explore Maharashtra.
If u want to know about the Maharashtra visit....
Malli said…
Mangalorean food is absolutely delicious!!I've heard that anything --- Pole" either is dosas or stuffed rotis. Sounds so Yummy

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