Friday, December 19, 2014


During our recent trip to Mumbai, we had the opportunity to taste some authentic Maharastrian dishes. Since I grew up in Mumbai, I am quite fond of their cuisine and while there, I also bought their famous “goda masala” from one of the popular masala shops. For those of you who are not familiar with this masala, it is a special blend of spices, very aromatic, dark brown in colour and gives that special taste to the dish when added. Different regions in Maharashtra have their own version of goda masala. And “Aamti” is incomplete without the goda masala. This dish is a regular fare in most Maharashtrian  homes. In short, I can say with conviction that what “Dalitoy” is to konkanis, “Aamti” is to maharashtrians.

Well, armed with this masala, I started my search for some Maharashtrian recipes from my collection. I found four varieties but chose “Aamti” as I already had boiled toor dal (the main ingredient in this recipe) in the refrigerator and this halved the cooking time to just 10 mins. When it was finally done, I was very happy with result and so was my spouse. Try it out and see it for yourself.



Toor Dal / Split Pigeon Pea 1 cup
Kokum or Tamarind pulp 3-4 pcs of kokum / 1-2 tsps of tamarind pulp
Jaggery powder 1 tbsp
Green chilies (slit) 2
Goda Masala 2 tsps
Freshly Grated coconut 2 tbsps
Salt As per taste
Ingredients for tempering:

Oil 1tbsp
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Hing/asafoetida A pinch
Curry leaves 1 sprig
For Garnish:

Coriander leaves (chopped) 2 tbsps

  1. Wash and cook the toor dal/split pigeon pea in pressure cooker for 12 mins. Then mash the cooked dal well and keep it aside.
  2. If using kokum, soak the pieces in water for about 15 mins. 
  3. Heat a saucepan. Add oil and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds starts spluttering, lower the flame, add hing/asafoetida and curry leaves. Saute it for awhile.
  4. Next add the mashed dal with a little water, slit green chilies, salt, jaggery powder, goda masala, freshly grated coconut, kokum water/tamarind pulp. Mix well.
  5. Finally add more water for desired thickens. Give it a stir and allow it to boil for a few minutes and then switch off the flame.
  6. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot.

Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time : 20 mins
Serves : 3

  • This is generally eaten with rice. Tastes good with rotis/chapattis too.
  • Goda masala is available in super markets under different brand names.
  • Aamti can also be prepared from Moong dal (split green gram) or Masoor dal (split lentil) too.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Murud-Janjira Beach & Fort

Hello friends, I am back after a short vacation in Mumbai where we had to attend a close relatives wedding. While there, we took this opportunity to meet our old friends and relatives too. We also thought it would be a good idea to spend some quality time with my brother's and cousin's family away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. After a lot of discussions, we unanimously chose Murud-Janjira for our family get-together.

Murud-Janjira is the local name for the fort which is situated on the island off the coastal village of Murud, in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. It is a fishing village and is about 150 kms drive from Mumbai. Once we reach Murud town, we need to take a sail boat from Rajapuri jetty to reach the island fort. The fort is spread across 22 acres and has many cannons. One of the cannons weigh about 12 tons and the unique feature of these cannons is that they do not get heated even though they are exposed to the sunlight throughout the day. We were quite baked in the hot sun (temp around 35 degrees centigrade) but these cannons were very cold to the touch inspite of the heat !
The entrance to the fort is not visible from outside unless and until you are very close it. It also has a few secret escape routes.

We drove from Mumbai to the resort and we stayed at Golden Swan Beach Resort at Murud-Janjira. It is a nice place with cottages and is situated right on the beach itself. The sunset view is quite breathtaking. The beach is very clean and quite picturesque. At the other end of the beach, water sports are conducted. We took the horse-driven carriage along the beach and back as we had to rush back to the sunset point.

The next morning, after a sumptuous breakfast, we headed for the fort. Following are some of the pictures of the beach, fort and the resort.

This is the sight that greeted us as soon as we entered the beach from the resort
A Close-up of the sea-gulls that were there in hundreds
View of the Fort from the beach
Spectacular view of the sunset taken from the Idgah (sunset point)
View of the Fort from the road
Yet another view of the Fort from the road
View of the fort from the jetty
The Big Cannon weighing about 12 tons as was told to us by our guide
The inside of the fort
The Inside of the Fort
One of the escape routes
We were told that once upon a time this was sweet water pond. But now, it has turned green with slime and algae          
The sculpture at the entrance of the wall of the fort
Golden Swan Beach Resort - where we stayed
Couldn't help clicking these beauties where they were happily swimming and waddling around the premises     

We all had a wonderful time together and wished we had one more day to laze around and enjoy some water sports. Maybe next time....

To know more about the history of the ancient Murud-Janjira Fort, see the following links: