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(DAY 129) Maharashtrian Snacks - A Gastronomic Journey of Vada Pao, Misal Pao, and Ragda Patties

· 3 min read
Gaurav Parashar

Maharashtrian cuisine is renowned for its vibrant flavors and unique culinary delights. Among the wide array of delectable dishes, three snacks stand out as quintessential Maharashtrian street foods - Vada Pao, Misal Pao, and Ragda Patties. These mouthwatering treats have become an integral part of Maharashtra's food culture, showcasing the state's rich culinary heritage. This is written with a special mention to the delightful evening snacks we enjoyed at Bombay Mishtan Bhandar in Jaipur.

One bite of Vada Pav and you’re transported to the streets of Mumbai.

Vada Pao: A Taste of Simplicity

Vada Pao, often referred to as the "poor man's burger" has its origins in Mumbai, the bustling metropolis of Maharashtra. Introduced in the 1960s by a street vendor named Ashok Vaidya, Vada Pao gained immense popularity due to its simplicity and affordability. This savory snack comprises a deep-fried potato fritter (vada) nestled within a bun (pao) spread with chutney. The vada, made from mashed potatoes mixed with spices, is dipped in a besan (gram flour) batter and fried until golden brown. Vada Pao's irresistible taste and on-the-go convenience make it a beloved street food across Maharashtra.

Misal Pao: An Explosion of Flavors

Misal Pao, a spicy sprout curry garnished with an assortment of toppings, is a beloved Maharashtrian delicacy that originated in Pune. This dish is a medley of flavors, textures, and aromas. The key ingredients include sprouted legumes (matki or moth beans), a flavorful masala gravy, farsan (crunchy toppings made of gram flour or sev), and a squeeze of lime. The spiciness of Misal Pao can be adjusted according to individual preferences, making it suitable for all taste buds. Traditionally served with pao, this dish offers a delightful contrast of flavors and textures, leaving an unforgettable culinary experience.

Ragda Patties: The Perfect Combination

Ragda Patties is another beloved Maharashtrian snack that beautifully combines various elements to create a harmonious blend of flavors. This dish consists of two components: ragda, a spicy white pea curry, and patties, which are shallow-fried potato cutlets. The ragda is made by simmering white peas with spices, while the patties are prepared by mashing boiled potatoes and shaping them into round cutlets. The dish is topped with an assortment of chutneys, chopped onions, and cilantro, enhancing its taste and visual appeal. Ragda Patties is a crowd-pleaser, striking a perfect balance between spiciness, tanginess, and savoriness.

Pao: The Unifying Element

One aspect that sets Maharashtrian snacks apart is the common use of pao, a type of bread bun. Pao, derived from the Portuguese word for bread, is an essential component that binds these snacks together. It is soft, fluffy, and acts as a perfect accompaniment to the spicy fillings. Pao not only adds a unique texture to the snacks but also absorbs the flavors, making it an integral part of the overall taste experience. This culinary influence from Portuguese settlers has seamlessly blended into Maharashtrian cuisine, creating a distinct identity for the food.

In a world full of sandwiches, be a Vada Pav – unique, bold, and full of surprises.