Gudi Padwa chya hardik shubhechha tumha sarvanna!!
Gudi Padwa or Maharashtrian New Year is being celebrated on 13th April this year. Greetings to you and your families!! May this new year usher in good health, happiness and prosperity in all our lives & homes!
Though known by various names in different states, it is celebrated as the New Year as per the Indian lunisolar calendar. Being a spring festival, it is also celebrated by the farming community as a harvest festival. Known as Ugadi in Karnataka & Cheti Chand by Sindhis, the following day is celebrated by Punjabis as Baisakhi, Puthandu in Tamil Nadu and Poila Boishakh in Bengal.
New Year day always brings in lots of cheer, revelry and festivity into our homes. An auspicious day, it usually means exciting family get togethers, early morning herbal baths, oil lamps & a traditional homemade feast with loads of sweets included. In Maharashtra, a traditional ‘gudi’ is placed in every home on this day. It is a long bamboo stick adorned with a silk or brocade green cloth. An inverted pot is usually placed over it with few neem/mango leaves, red/yellow flowers & sugar crystals. It is a symbol of victory, believed to ward off evil & bring good fortune to the home.
The sound of children laughing & squealing as they run down corridors, the heavenly aroma of hot deep fried puris and bhajiyas wafting through the home as well that of saffron and cardamom in the sweets, fills the air around.
Gudi Padwa in our home always meant a variety of special traditional dishes without onion garlic, of which the Masale Bhaat, or spiced rice that my grandmother prepared was our favourite! A beautiful mildly spiced rice preparation with juliennes of ivy gourd or tondli, peas and cashewnuts, it is seasoned with whole Indian spices & then cooked with long grained Basmati rice & ghee in a rich dark Maharashtrian Goda masala. A divine combination of ghee, spices, vegetables, nuts and rice that is neither too heavy on the tummy nor too heavy on the spices.
The moment the pressure cooker would be opened, you could most certainly see us ravenous kids running off to the kitchen trying to sneak a cashew or two, avoiding dear Granny’s eyes, while inhaling the delicious aromas of the feast that awaited!!
Today this post will remain incomplete without expressing my deep gratitude. This authentic Maharashtrian recipe without onion and garlic, has been shared very kindly by the mother of a dear friend without any shortcuts or variations! The matriarch of her family, she has proudly been the Home Economics Manager of her home, for 50 odd years, budgeting & cooking every single item in her home kitchen. Be it elaborate festival sweets, traditional snacks or regular home fare, she handles all with equal aplomb. Despite old age aches & pains, she continues to run her kitchen with just as much flair, never once wasting food or resorting to store bought sweets or snacks in a moment of weakness even at 73 yrs! What’s more, she retains the zeal to learn new variations of her age-old recipes. My humble salute to this inspiring lady for her untiring efforts, enthusiasm and zest for life!
Recipe for Masale Bhaat – Authentic Marathi Rice Dish
Ingredients (Serves 2 Persons)
for masala powder: roast and dry grind the following (see notes)
- 2-3 green cardamom / elaichi
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 2-3 cloves
- 1 small piece mace / jaaypatra / javitri
- ¼ teaspoon whole black pepper corns
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds / rai
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds / jeera seeds
- ¼ teaspoon asafoetida powder / hing
- ½ tsp turmeric / haldi
- 1 bay leaf / tej patta
- 2 green chillies, slit & chopped
- ¼ cup finely chopped coriander leaves
- 5-7 fresh curry leaves / kadipatta
- 5-6 whole cashew / kaju
- ½ cup ivy gourd / tondli / tendli/ tondekkai, vertically cut into juliennes
- 1 cup basmati rice, washed & soaked 20 minutes
- 2 ¼ cups water for cooking or as required
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp fresh coconut grated
- 1 tablespoon ghee / clarified butter (optional)
- ½ teaspoon readymade Maharashtrian Goda masala
- 1 teaspoon jaggery
- ¼ cup finely chopped coriander leaves
- In a pressure pan or kadhai, heat 2 tbsp oil and prepare seasoning.
- Add mustard seeds & allow them to splutter. On a medium flame, add cumin seeds, hing, turmeric powder & saute.
- Add the bay leaf and saute. Now add the chopped green chillies, coriander leaves & curry leaves & saute on medium to low flame.
- Add the chopped tondli / ivy gourd & ½ teaspoon salt & saute well to combine.
- Cook covered for 5 mins until tender. Add cashew nuts and saute for 2 minutes.
- Drain the soaked rice and add it to the pan, stirring to combine well. Cook covered for 2 minutes.
- Add 2 ¼ cups hot water to the pan, add the Goda masala, freshly ground masala as well as 1 teaspoon jaggery & check for salt to taste.
- Add 1 tbsp ghee and saute the spiced rice on low flame for a minute.
- Close the cooker lid and cook for 2 whistle. Switch off the flame.
- Allow the pressure to reduce by itself. Once opened, serve hot garnished with a generous layer of freshly grated coconut and chopped coriander leaves.
- Serve Masale Bhaat with a lemon wedge & curds or Tomato Saar.
- In the absence of access to mace or other ingredients listed under masala powder, use “Everest” brand garam masala and ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder instead.
- Maharashtrian Goda masala is available on Amazon under brand names such as Bedekar & Suhana.