If there’s one thing about me you absolutely must know, it is this: I love food and food loves me. 90% of the time, I’m whipping up ‘must-eat’ lists out of pure whimsy.
Which brings me to my point- the most spectacularly celebrated festival, Ganeshotsav, only has a few more days left! Now that we’ve gloriously welcomed Bappa into our homes, you’ll also want to make the most of these MUST-EAT dishes in Pune before the festivities end!
So, of course, I have a list for you. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t. Walk with me, children.
Ukadiche Modak at Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale
Obviously at the top of my list (and your list too, ahem), are modaks. Said to be Lord Ganesha’s favourite sweet and offered to him as ‘prasad’ during the festival, these rice flour dumplings are yum! They are first stuffed with a delectable mixture of jaggery and shredded coconut, then steamed. Ooey, gooey, melt-in-mouth delicious, these also come in a variety of flavors; chocolate, mango, what-have-you. Grab yourself a dozen (or two) from Chitale Bandhu at Bajirao Road, or Deccan Gymkhana. While you’re at it, be sure to get your hands on some shankarpali and karanji.
Maharasthrian Thali at Durvankur
Hands down one of the best Maharasthrian thalis you’ll find in Pune. Tucked away in Sadashiv Peth, this iconic restaurant serves up assal Maharasthrian jevan like no other. Once seated, you’re served almost immediately. The fare includes bhakris, puris, papads, thalipeeth, aluchi wadi, aam ras, shrikhand, varan bhaat, koshimbir, masala bhaat, kadi and a whole lot more. No frills, authentic, and incredibly satisfying!
Ganpati Special Thali at Hotel Shreyas
Ah yes, another thali. Thalis satisfy my ever-hungry, gluttonous heart. The Ganpati special thali at Hotel Shreyas at Deccan Gymkhana is no exception. Shreyas treats you to regional Maharasthrian delicacies from the Puneri, Kolhapuri, Khandeshi, Konkani and Karwari regions of Maharasthra. Feast on solkadhi, alu patal, gajar koshimbir, bharli vangi, amti, shevchi bhaji, lal thecha, gola bhaat, and the list goes on. Soul-stirring and intensely flavourful, each food item packs a Marathi punch. It’s the perfect feast for Ganeshotsav!
Karanji, Puran Poli and Laddoos at Kaka Halwai
Karanji – deep fried pastry stuffed with sweet shredded coconut. Puran Poli – flatbread stuffed with a velvety mix of chana dal and jaggery. Laddoos right from motichoor to besan. If this sounds like something you could get on board with (certainly does to me), then you need to head on over to Kaka Halwai this Ganesh Utsav to gorge on these delicious sweets. Sure to put you in a sugar coma (the good kind), this is the best way to treat yourself on this festive occasion.
Basundi at Shiv Kailash
Shiv Kailash is a tiny eatery bang opposite the Pune Railway Station. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see five bazillion people huddled up, with faces buried in tall glasses of kulfi-falooda. But that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk to you about their incredible basundi. Sweetened, thickened milk gently flavoured with cardamom and saffron, complete with chopped pistachios and almonds. Buy it by the KG if you’re having guests over… or you know, when you’re feeling particularly ‘indulgent.’
So, which one’s your favourite? Tell. Tell. TELL!