Marathi cuisine over the centuries has played a vital role in influencing religions & rulers; the cuisine in its self is very diverse, although following a staple diet of Lacto-Vegetarian by a number of communities, Marathi Brahmins follow this staple diet, while the community in the central & coastal sectors of Maharashtra prefers a Non-Vegetarian diet.
Marathi cuisine has both its pros & cons like any other cuisine from any part of the globe, but Maharashtrians consider their diet to be more austere than others.
Marathi cuisine can be classified into five sub-regional areas, namely Konkani (Coastal), Khandesh (North), Vidarbha (East), Marathwada (central), and Desh (west).
Konkan- Rich in seafood, coconut which are a significant part of a Pescetarian diet.
Khandesh- Dishes are prepared with various roasted & charred ingredients, basically prepared in a dark masala called “Kala Masala.”
Vidarbha- Here the dishes include sun-dried vegetables, besan, black pepper & whole grains.
Marathwada- Consists of rice, flavourful curries, local chutneys like Solapur Groundnut chutney; this area is basically agriculture-oriented.
Desh- This is the western region that includes Pune & the Brahmanic cuisine & Maratha warrior cuisine, a vegetarian diet with mildly sweet flavours, also include pulses, grains & roots.
A simple Marathi thali in rural areas includes Dal, Bhaaji, Bhaakri, Raw Onion Pickle, etc., while the same thali changes its combination in the urban Marathi areas with Boiled Rice, Chapati, Salad, Amati or Kadi, Seasonal Vegetables, Dry Leafy Vegetables, Chutney, Papad making it healthy.
Local fast foods like the famous Vada Pav or Sabudana Vada absorb a lot of oil, increasing the calories, thereby leading to heart diseases, etc. People are opting out for a baked version of this dish, thereby maintaining the taste but avoiding diseases.
Misal Pav has oil poured over it & then savoured with Pav; a healthier version would be to avoid the oil but add more sprouts, spices like ginger, garlic & chillies. Even the Pav can be substituted with whole wheat bread.
Fried Modaks are now substituted with steamed Modaks.
Marathi cuisine has a healthier version of desserts like Dashmi Roti, Puran Poli, which are better than heavy desserts like Rabdi.
Keeping a consistent watch over one’s diet following the tested traditional diets of local areas of any state is always beneficial to individuals of all age groups.