Last Friday, I had the honour of being invited to a very special meal at Four Points by Sheraton in Vashi, Navi Mumbai. It was a Maharashtrian meal that was curated and presented by the food writer and consultant, Saee Koranne-Khandekar. The Mejwani Thali — as it was called — had a mix of lesser known as well as classic dishes from the various regions of Maharashtra.
Before I talk about the Mejwani Thali, I have a confession to make. In spite of having lived in Maharashtra for greater part of my life, I don’t really know its cuisine very well.
Here I’m talking beyond the better-known snacks like Misal Pav, Kothimbir Vadi, Sabudana Khichdi, Pohe, etc.; I’m talking about the main course dishes here. Though I have Maharashtrian friends and I have eaten in their homes, the food served, though delicious, has rarely been ‘their’ food. As a result, apart from varan bhat (daal rice), masale bhat (Masala rice) and other classic dishes, I have not eaten speciality dishes. Yes, there are restaurants, serving ‘authentic’ Maharashtrian meals, but when paneer makes an appearance in such meal, everything that has been served is suspect for me.
When I arrived at Four Points on Friday evening, it was with the usual excitement of waiting for the evening to unfold. But there was something else accompanying the excitement that day — an anticipation that, finally, I would get to sample, authentic Maharashtrian cuisine. And that too in a thali (or plate) format, my favourite way of eating Indian food.