The name Maharashtra first appeared in the 7th century in the account of a contemporary Chinese traveller, Huan Tsang. Maharashtra was historically the name of a region which consisted of Sub-regions like Aparanta, Vidarbha, Mulak, Assaka (Ashmaka), and Kuntala. The ancient races: Bhill and Rattha, inhabited the area of Maharashtra during the 6th and 7th century. When Huan Tsang reached this area, he encountered with Rattha community. Ratthas used to call themselves as ‘Maharattha’, and, perhaps, the state got its name ‘Maharashtra’ by corrupting the term ‘Maharattha’. However, there is also one stream of thought that describes the Origin of name Maharashtra from the ancient language spoken widely in that region – Maharashtri Prakrit. An alternative theory states that the term derives from the word Maha (great) and Rashtra (nation/dominion). However, this theory is somewhat controversial among modern scholars who believe it to be the Sanskritised interpretation of later writers. While the exact etymology is uncertain, Maharashtra is always identified by Chatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhosale and Peshwas.
The Maratha Empire or the Maratha Confederacy was a power that dominated a large portion of the Indian subcontinent in the 18th century. The empire formally existed from 1674 with the coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji and ended in 1818 with the defeat of Peshwa Bajirao II. During this period, Maharashtrian Food evolved and became an integral part of the life of Marathas. Peshwa Restaurant in Dubai is keeping the legacy of Maharashtrian Food alive for Non-resident Indians and especially Maharashtrians. Blessed with a most extensive coastal line of India, abundance of forest, and Deccan Plateau, Maharashtra’s geography plays a vital role in the development of Maharashtrian Cuisines.
Maharashtra is divided into five regions: Vidarbha, Marathwada, Khandesh, Konkan, and Paschim Maharashtra; each one has a distinct yet similar taste of Food. Peshwa Restaurant perfectly represents five regions of Maharashtra in the form of Food. The rustic nature of Food from Khandesh and Vidarbha, Savoury treats of Paschim Maharashtra, the freshness of Konkan, and spices of Marathwada are nicely set in the Menu of Peshwa Restaurant. The highlight of Maharashtrian cuisine is the use of peanuts and coconut in most of the dishes. Vada Pao with Peanut Chutney, Kothimbir Wadi garnished with freshly grated coconut, Modak stuffed with a mixture of coconut and jaggery, and curry masala made with dry coconut powder (Goda Masala) are few examples to make you understand about the extensive use of coconut and peanut.
There are more than 200 dishes in Peshwa Restaurant and out of which more than 190 are Maharashtrian (to suit the various palate of the Indian population in Dubai, the restaurant has included few non-Maharashtrian dishes too). Fresh Kairi Panhe (raw mango juice with a touch of saffron), Masala Tea, Kokum Sarbat, and Solkadhi are highlights of Beverages. There are plenty of famous Munchies in Maharashtra, but Wada Pao, Batata Wada, and Kothimbir Wadi are highly recommended to understand the savouriness of Marathis.
Vidarbha Region of Maharashtra, one of the hottest in India, is close to Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh and its cuisine influenced by these two states. The ‘saoji’ masala of Vidarbha can be decoded with the history developed due to close proximity of the region with Madhya Pradesh. It was Halba Koshti, the weaver community of Madhya Pradesh, that made the ‘saoji’ their identity dish. The community migrated from their original environs to Nagpur in 1877 to work in the Empress Mills which Jamshed Tata set up there. The Halba Koshti women excelled in cooking the ‘saoji.’ The flavour and aroma of the dish crossed the borders of Nagpur through the tradesfolk who came to the mills. Made with varieties of garam masala and exclusivity of ingredients, saoji masala takes the dish to another level. Saoji Tikka of Peshwa Restaurant has achieved that level of exclusivity with saoji masala. Nicely marinated and minimal burnt spots on chicken tikka, Saoji Tikka will make you ‘crave for more and consume it as early as possible’ at the same time.
Similar to Saoji, the Kolhapuri style of chicken and mutton preparation is something you won’t see in other parts of India; it has a sense of exclusivity. When in Peshwa Restaurant, don’t forget to order Kolhapuri thali to taste the uniqueness; grab a piece of Poli, fill it with chicken masala, dip into the gravy, put in the mouth, and finish it with Tamda & Pandhra Rassa. The entire process of eating Kolhapuri Thali is meditative and captivating. You can soothe the burning sensations due to heat and spiciness of Kolhaouri curry by Moong Daal Halwa served in Thali, by the by. Loaded with Food in your tummy? Don’t worry, try digestive Solakadhi. Maharashtra cuisine is based on Ayurvedic principles that teach to have a balanced diet; Thali of Maharashtra is always inclusive Daal, Bhaaji, Poli, Bhaat, and Lonnche (Pickle), which makes a meal balanced for you.
Most of the coastal Food of Maharashtra is Rice and Fish, but Komdi Wade is the unsung hero of Konkan (coastal region). Multigrain fried Wade with Chicken (Kombdi) Curry is one of the delicacies of Maharashtra. The perfect texture of Wade and lacy chicken curry is a gratifying experience for Food lovers.
Puran Poli, Maharashtra’s own delectable treat to the World is ancient dessert. Manucharitra, a 14th-century Telugu encyclopedia compiled by Allasani Peddana, first mentioned the recipe of Puran Poli as Bakshyam. Bakshyam which roughly means Sweet Bread, consumed in Andhra Pradesh, is similar to Puran Poli but the covering of Puran Poli is thinner than Bakshaym. Whether this dish travelled from Andhra Pradesh to Maharashtra or Marathas introduced it while conquering Deccan plateau, the theory is uncertain. Stuffed Chana Daal paste, infused with cardamom and nutmeg powder (Puran) in wheat flour bread (Poli), and roasted with Pure Cow’s Ghee make Puran Poli; have it with Kheer, Aamras, or additional Ghee, it doesn’t disappoint in any form. Shrikhand or Amrakhand with Puri is another sweet scavenging activity you can give a try in Peshwa Restaurant.
With rich culture, based on Ayurvedic principles, and legacy of Marathas and Peshwas, Maharashtrian Food is wholesome and delicious. It is a fortune of Non-resident Indians in Dubai that they are experiencing the real taste of Maharashtrian Royal cuisine right at the heart of the City through Peshwa Restaurant. The passionate owners of the restaurant Mr Sachin Joshi and Mrs Shreya Joshi understand the need Maharashtrian cooking since they hail their roots from Pune, a city where Peshwas established their administrative setup to control dynasty and serves the Maharashtrian delicacies to the World. A true Puneri will never compromise on the quality and authenticity of Maharashtrian Food, and Joshis has kept that notion sustained.
The beautiful wall paintings, hanging turbans of Peshwa, a replica of Ganesha idol and Rudraksha tree on the cash counter, and welcoming staff will leave no stone unturned to make you feel alive at the Peshwa Restaurant. The most recommended place to try Indian Food with flair when in Dubai.
Average Cost: AED 100 for two people (approx.)
Location: Shop 6B, Ground Floor, Al Khafajy Building, Beside Palm Supermarket, Street 15 A, Al Karama, Dubai
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