Pangat, a Feast
Maharashtra is one of India’s largest states, flanked by the Arabian sea (think fried fish and coconut-based curries) to the west and stretching out to the middle of drought-prone central India (millets and sun-dried vegetables are a staple here). With about 43,000 villages, Maharashtra has a varied cuisine to say the least. Food writer and culinary consultant Saee Koranne-Khandekar knew it was impossible to have an all-in-one Marathi cookbook, but with over 200 recipes, she attempts to lay out a pangat, or feast. From quick, fresh salads like draakshaachi koshimbeer (grape salad with chiles and lime) to an elaborate dumpokta (baby onions, potato, and eggplant in a rich spicy sauce), recipes in Pangat, a Feast come with insights into local history, geography, and customs. An endearing chapter titled “A Few Morsels More” merges food with Marathi nursery rhymes. While introducing nourishing meals, a mother lists out the ingredients of a chutney or even the “life cycle of milk” in a playful meter to her child learning the language. A perfect example of how food is our first teacher.