Ganesh Utsav in Maharashtra is primarily a household festival that has now evolved into grand community celebration as well. People eagerly wait throughout the year to welcome their beloved Lord home. For them it is the best time of the year when every corner of the region is brimming with joy and euphoria. In today's episode we have come to the residence of the Dhume family to participate in the Ganesh Chaturthi puja and have the prasad.
On arriving there we received a warm welcome from the lovely family. We extended them our greetings and then paid obeisance to the resplendent idol of Lord Ganesha that was perched amidst a beautiful decoration made of flowers and leaves.
Soon we joined Kshama Ji and other ladies of the house to witness the making of some of the components of the prasad. Most of the dishes were prepared well ahead of our arrival as making them together is a chaotic affair. We learnt about the customary ukadiche modak (rice flour dumpling stuffed with coconut-jaggery mixture) and alu vadi (fried slices of gram flour smeared colocasia leaf roll). This is interspersed with mythological anecdotes regarding the same.
Once the food was ready, all the dishes were together offered to the Lord. Then we all gathered for the arati. Next we sat down with the family to enjoy the simple and soulful feast. On our plate we had roti, vararanga bhat (rice and lentil), alu vadi, aluchi bhaji (colocasia leaves based curry with corn cob in it), valachi bhaji (sprouted field bean dish), ukadiche modak and koshimbir (cucumber and fresh coconut salad). Every morsel of this wholesome spread was simply divine, especially the ukadiche modak that is Lord's favourite sweet too.
After this delicious affair we departed for a short food tour with some of our friends. First we visited Bhagwati restaurant in Goregaon for some authentic pav bhaji (bun like bread and a spicy veg curry combo). The pav was soft and drenched in butter while the bhaji too was bright reddish orange with a pool of butter on top. This pav bhaji was just spot on.
Next we visited Aswad restaurant in Dadar to dig into some more Maharashtrian dishes. With a modern cum traditional decor and authentic menu, this place is a huge hit with the locals. Here we tired bhakri (sorghum or rice flour flatbread), pitla (gram flour curry), dalimbi usal (sprouted field bean curry), thalipeeth (multigrain flatbread) and misal pav (sprouted moth curry with bread).
After this we went to our final stop which was Prakash restaurant in Dadar itself. It was brimming with people from all age groups. The interior was old style and the menu had traditional dishes only. Our pick included piyush (shrikhand based drink), matar pattice (peas patties), sabudana vada (tapioca pearl fritters) and masale bhat (spicy aromatic rice). Food was really good and so was the vibe.
Overall it was a busy yet heartening day all because of the festive fervour around.