“Punyanagri” as it was called in the old times, Pune- the seventh largest metropolis and the cultural capital of India, plays host to many mouthwatering cuisines, desi and videshi alike. Primarily, Pune is known for its delectable Maharashtrian fare- spicy, rassedar and flavorful. Here are some dishes that are so Puneri, ki yeh khane ke baad punya milta hai!
- Misal Pav!
A dish that defines Pune. A mixture of farsaan, shev, pohe, a healthy helping of onions and potatoes topped with the spicy rassa, Misal Pav can be had at any point of the day! Originally a dish meant for the common labour folk, the Misal Pav has now gained cult foodie status and has been served in Pune from as early as the 1950s. Some of the best Misal houses to try out: Bedekar Tea Stall, Shree Kala Snacks centre and Shree Krushna Bhuvan. Do not forget to get the extra sample rassa on the side!
- Dadpe Pohe
A typical Maharashtrian breakfast dish, Pohe is not alien to any Indian. But this version- the “Dadpe Pohe” requires no cooking or soaking of the flattened rice. All you need to do is cook the onions, turmeric and green chillies in some oil and add a healthy helping of fresh grated coconut to the uncooked poha, cover it with a tight lid for 15 minutes and voila! If you need a quick morning fix- try out Rumaani on FC road; I guarantee you’ll have a happy day ahead.
The Americans make pancakes, the French make crêpes, but nothing rocks your palate more than a Puneri Thaalipeeth. Small pancakes made with a combination of chana daal, urad daal, rice and coriander seeds, the Thaalipeeth has gained popularity as an ‘upwaas’ dish. Combine some vegetables and spices, top it off with a glass of cold buttermilk and food bliss is achieved! Try at Shabree on FC Road.
- Matkichi Usal
Usal is a spicy curry made of sprouted beans (matki). This forms the base for Misal Pav, but is quite delicious all on its own. Soak the matki overnight and then combine it with some Kolhapuri spices, onions, tomatoes and eat with chapaati, rice, pav– anything! Nutritious and tasty, Matkichi Usal has its origins in Kolhapur, but eat at Hotel Mathura on JM Road and you won’t feel the need to go anywhere else! You’re welcome.
- Pitla Bhakri
Originally intended as the food of the peasants, Pitla Bhakri is now a dish enjoyed by everyone alike! The tasty besan curry tempered with onions, coriander and chillies, is an inseparable part of Pune. It’s accompanied by a jowar bhakri (sorgum bread) and thecha (simple pickle made by crushing together raw green chillies, salt, garlic, cloves and oil). Try this yummy dish at Wadeshwar Bhuvan, Deccan Gymkhana.
- Tambda Rassa
Literally meaning ‘red curry’, Tambda Rassa originates from Kolhapur, but there are quite a few places in Pune that do justice to this super spicy curry. Although this red curry can be cooked with any meat, mutton is the preferred choice and is no disappointment at all. Be careful though, this curry can set fire to your mouth! Try at: Wah Marathi, Seasons Mall.
Named after the wife of Peshwa Bajirao I, the Mastani is a milkshake and icecream combo. Made extremely popular by the famous Sujata Mastani, their Mastanis are made using a traditional French Pot method. Flavours range from rose to pineapple and mango to custard apple- more than 41 flavors people! You cannot be in Pune and not have these atleast once a week or more- guaranteed.
- Dinkache Ladoo
A chewy ladoo made from edible gum (of the axle wood tree) and coconut, it’s doesn’t look or taste like a traditional ladoo. Courtesy its medicinal properties, it’s generally given to new mothers, but it’s also enjoyed as a dessert just like a motichoor ladoo is. Try at: Chitale Bandhu and Shree Kala Snacks Centre.