Wholesome Rustic Meals and Homemade Taste. #Regional Varadi Cuisine:Welcome to The Gateway Hotel,Pune

By Harshada Sandhan

The Cuisine of Maharashtra is as Diverse as India. Until now, a Maharashtrian Food was synonymous to a Puneri Poori Bhaji,Shrikhand,subjee Thali or a Malvani fish,Solkadhi or a Kolhapuri Tambda Pandhara Rassa. And that was because most Mumbaikars like me were exposed to these limited tastes. Travel was limited and so was the culinary adventure. But with the digital boom, communication is faster,so is the information exchange. With social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, oral and text conversations are limited, but hashtags seal the gaps and makes search easier. Pictures speak a million words, reach a million people. And all this gives way to a Culinary exchange and Food revolution. Easier travel and disposable incomes has given rise to a trend of weekend getaways and for the food enthusiasts a packaged culinary outing like foodie trials, food and Wine tours and so on.

Khandeshi Food got a recognition thanks to the wine revolution in Nasik boosted by a better road connectivity with Mumbai. Eager foodies now want to explore different regional cuisines with distinct flavors. We all are spoilt for choice since our country has a variety of cuisines and tastes. And Elite Hotel chains like The Gateway Hotels are quick to act. Most of their chains have a section of unique local flavor on menu. And they stick to the original recipe and try to maintain the authenticity as much as possible.
Our recent stay at The Gateway Hotel, Hinjewadi,Pune was a culinary delight. Apart from the hospitality and the homeliness of the place, it was the Local Varadi Food that both surprised us and impressed us!
Most of us Indians are addicted to Homemade Food. We re simply not wired for daily takeaway survival. Thats why,even on a vacation, there comes a time when all you crave is a simple WaranBhat/DalChawal. But even the menus offering dal rice are tadka dominated, in short restauranterised.  Who wants to eat a full red oil laced dal tadka with chillies garlic floating on top, when all u want is plain dal devoid of all the fancies. . Happened to us too. We noticed a unique offering on The Gateway menu,. A Tiffin meal.. and out of options, we decided to try. The order arrived with the staff carrying fine crockery cutlery and a 5 layered Steel Tiffin, like the Mumbai Dabbawalas...literally. Each layer was a culinary surprise and delight. Imagine a spread consisting of ghee laced choorma with homemade style kadhi, an optimally spiced red saoji chicken curry, and a fragrant masale bhat,that wasnt crowded with vegetables seeking attention, but earthy peanuts and chunks of coconut in perfect medley. An earthen pot of homemade dahi, light porous with just the light tang . A platter of bhakris served with a spicy thecha, and a sweet tangy murrabba to the rescue incase you underestimated the spice of the thecha. It was the first rustic meal I had away from home in a plush setting.
On the breakfast buffet, were the delightfull bakery which kids indulged. A variety which will make you believe in what Grandmoms said “Eat breakfast like a King" the remaining part of the statements, most of us foodies ignore..isnt it?
Just like the generous breakfast spread was the generosity of the executive Chef Dinesh Dadlani. We were honored to have gotten a chance to meet him. And when quizzed about the Varadi Food, he fondly replied" We dont take a chance with regional recipes" The homemakers who cook it daily are employed to help us cook them to perfection" . He sensed my curiosity and agreed to part with the hotels own recipes for Varadi Food. And as a gesture and of course his permit ,I promised to publish these rustic recipes on our blog!
Touched by the hospitality, food and a delightful gingerbread house with a plum cake as a parting gift from the Chef, I promised myself to return to my newly found home in Pune!
And the next time you want to eat local, head to The Gateway Hotel
And if you wish to cook local, think Namakshamak.com.
Recipes from Varadi Cuisine by Chef Dinesh Dadlani,Courtesy The GatewayHotel Pune.:
We have posted each recipe individually. Click the links below to be redirected to each recipe.

  1. Varadi Bharli Vangi
  2. Varadi Muttton Sukka
  3. Varadi Bharli Bhindi
  4. Varadi Sev Bhaji
  5. Varadi Zunka
  6. Varadi Masale Bhat
  7. Varadi Dal Amti
  8. Varadi Usal
  9. Bajari/Jwarai Chi Bhakari
  10. Varadi Kombadi/Chicken


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Author Sonali sonali@namakshamak.com

Hi! I am Sonali, mom to a fast growing teenager and a homemaker.I love to cook, read and travel ( and in that order). I believe that travel keeps the cook ever so innovative. Each time I travel, I scourge the market places and eateries for some new ingredient or recipies. I believe that every type of cuisine has its own story to relate……One that’s fascinating.Being born and brought up in Mumbai which is often called “a melting pot of culinary delights” helped me explore and experiment with a wide range of cuisines.So come share with me the tang of lime, the bite of chilli, the fresh herbs, the crunch of raw veggies and experience the wide spectrum of textures and sharp flavours of different cusines.

Author Harshada harshada@namakshamak.com

I’m Harshada Sandhan and welcome to NamakShamak.com..my little world of culinary adventure ,where I pour my successful kitchen experiments,rustic learnings and travelogues into systematic ,easy to follow recipes and fun to read blogs.

I hope you find my recipes helpful and my blogs as interesting as much as I ve enjoyed Cooking ,Clicking and Writing them.

Happy Cooking!

About Harshada:

Working professional turned Food Blogger, Harshada Sandhan discovered her passion towards cooking after the birth of her son. The numerous recipes, tried and tested in her kitchen soon found their way on her food blog NamakShamak.com, run by Harshada and her sister Sonali. Mumbai born Harshada is Married into a Maratha Family, and is known for her unique Khandeshi Recipes and Rustic Mumbai Vadvaali Cuisine. She was also featured in online magazines like Salt(Ezine by Food Bloggers Association of India), in editions of Pune and Mumbai Mirror (Times of India). Namakshamak.com and has also won an award for Regional Blog (Awards by the Food Blogger Association of India) in 2016.

Harshada is a self-confessed bakeaholic and enjoys baking treats for her kids and fmaily. She also retails her Baking ,Gourmet Chocolates and Confectionery under “Angel Delicacies”, a venture she started with her friend Sangeeta and Sister Sonali. Angel Delicacies currently operates in Thane and Mumbai and works with individuals and corporates on customised gifting solutions.

Harshada also likes developing fusion recipes with nutritious Indian ingredients in her kitchen.

She’s a kitchen gadget freak, and loves working with modern kitchen tools and gadgets. She’s always on a look out for online websites offering gourmet food ingredients and learning newer kitchen trends. An avid reader, Harshada also loves writing about food and culinary travel. Harshada is currently based in Thane ,Mumbai with her husband and two Sons.






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