Marriages and Masale Bhaat

Masale Bhaat is inextricably linked with Maharashtrian weddings. It is a spicy, Marathi version of the vegetable pulao and is usually served after the first course of varan-bhaat. Once the wedding rituals are done with, guests head for lunch in a shaded 'mandap', sitting in long, orderly lines that extend from one end to the other. Servers run along these 'pangats', balancing trays of food and plopping it on a plate with amazing speed and dexterity.

First come the salt, lemon, and pickle/ chutney, followed by the glorious trinity of varan-bhaat-toop (dal-rice-ghee). Once your tastebuds have reveled in this comfort food, they are taken on a gastronomic journey that might begin with puris and batata bhaji, make a short stop at alu or kothimbir wadi, take a breather with mattha, get a fresh start with masale bhaat and finally end in the sunset of a jalebi or shrikhand.

It is hardly necessary to persuade a person to eat well when the spread is this delicious but it is the done thing. "Lazoo naka" (don't be shy), the father of the bride or groom will tell the guests as he walks by their table. When they can finally eat no more, the guests make way for the next 'pangat', basking in the warm vibes of this glorious meal and blessing the new union as they leave.

Back to the dish at hand, it is a fairly simple preparation, relying on roasted spices for flavor. The recipe comes from Wadke 'kaku' (aunty), our lovely neighbour for a few years, who is responsible for most of the authentic Mahasrashtrian dishes in my mother's repertoire. Though the authentic version is made with the short grained but fragrant 'ambe mohar' rice, sona masuri makes a good substitute too.


MASALE BHAAT (Spicy pulao with ivy gourds)
(serves 2-3)
1 cup Basmati rice
1 cup ivy gourds (tondli/ tindora), quartered
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
a few curry leaves
a pinch of asafoetida
3-4 green chillies, slit
5-6 cashewnuts, broken
3 tbsp oil
salt to taste
Masala -
heaped 1/3 cup dry, shredded coconut (copra)
4 cloves
2 (2cms) cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
Garnish -
fresh coconut and cilantro

Wash the rice in two to three changes of water. Drain and keep aside. On moderate heat, roast the copra, coriander seeds, cumin, sesame, cloves and cinnamon till the coconut turns golden. Let cool. Put in a spice/ coffee grinder and grind into a powder. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add curry leaves, asafoetida and chillies and saute for a few minutes. Next add gourds and saute some more. Add rice and mix well. Add the powdered spices and mix until the rice is well coated. Add cashews and season to taste. Add two cups of water, cover pan with a lid and cook until rice is done.

Garnish with fresh coconut and cilantro. Serve hot with a raita.


* Brinjals, bell peppers, peas or a combination of vegetables works just as well as ivy gourds in masale bhaat.

Here are some great recipes from fellow bloggers if you feel like making a 'wedding lunch' -
Nupur's waran-bhaat
Priya's alu wadi
Vaishali's flower-matar cha rassa
My strawberry shrikhand and mattha



Blogger Vineela said...

Hi Ashwini,
Masala Bhat looks delicious.
Without gherkin my little grandmom used to do by adding cloves and it was heavenly tasty.thanks for sharing authentic food.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Neelu said...

Ashwini what a maharashtrian writing :) This is how exactly each and every maharashtrian wedding takes place :) I just love the marathi shadi food with typical waran bhat then masale bhat with aloo chi bhaji, or vanga batata rassa and jalebi. HAvent attended any wedding in yers now...I miss all that food. I remember thoda thoda karke I use to stuff my self soo much tht there would b no place for Paan lol Thanks for sharing the recipe. Tondli or gherkins are main veg in this rice !

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ashwini, your masala bhath looks superb. I loved reading thr' your post. I have tasted it in few weddings and I always loved it. Thanks for sharing.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

That is as Maharashtrian as one can get! Nice authentic recipe Ashwini-hope you are sending me another such authentic breakfast idea for the breakfast blogging event.

12:28 AM  
Blogger Vaishali said...

What a wonderful post, Ashwini! A great idea to begin with. Then a great write-up about Maharashtrian weddings and a fabulous presentation of the recipe. That post brought back a lot of memories, Girl. And thanks for all those links. Just in case one wants to prepare a full wedding feat.
Btw, a restaurant in Pune called 'Suvarnarekha' specialises in wedding lunch. It offers it as a 'Thali'. For all those, who have not attended weddings in a long time and/or miss the wedding feast.

2:46 AM  
Blogger Krithika said...

What a writing ! I actually felt I was in a wedding. I remember I was once reading about the feast served at Madhuri Dixit's wedding and my mouth was watering. Since then I have been trying to look for an authentic Masale bhath recipe. Thank you so much for posting this.

7:26 AM  
Blogger KA said...

Masala bath looks scrumptious! Rice with tindora is quite an innovative idea, this is a great recipe.
great pictures Ashwini!

8:42 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Thanks Vineela. Yes the roasted spices in this dish make all the difference.
Neelu - Its hard not to stuff yourself :-) I miss that food too
Thanks Shilpa & Nandita. PS - N, I will try
Vaish - Thanks buddy. And I am def going to make a trip to Pune during my next visit :-) Maharashtrian thali is my all time favorite
Krithika - Madhuri Dixit? :-D Now you can recreate that feast!!
KA - thanks buddy. Its the gherkins that make this dish unique - not like the eggplant rice or pulao.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Nabeela said...

that looks darn easy, bookmarking it to make some day

12:27 PM  
Blogger Rajesh &Shankari said...

Aswini, i liked your style of writing and ofcourse the food. when i lived in pune, we used to go this thali place , i forget the name, but it was a hole in the wall place...

12:43 PM  
Blogger Sumitha said...

It feels so nice to learn authentic dishes and to top it the culture of different states in our country!Never attended a Maharashtrian wedding:(
Very good post Ashwini and a must try recipe!

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ashwini,

Masale Bhaat...been a long time since I made that mouths watering looking at it...great one!!

8:37 PM  
Blogger Priya said...

Hi Ashwini,
That was a wonderful write-up. I have a Marathi frnd and have hrd him talk af al these dishes in different contexts. Now I have a better picture of the cuisine. The Masale bath looks yummy, will surely try it soon. And wonderful additions to the readymade template...I know its been quite sometime since u did it but I got arnd to mentioning it today..nice persnolisation

1:13 AM  
Blogger indianadoc said...

Feel like having been to a Marathi wedding and stomach is now filled with a sumptuous lunch!Brilliant write up and thanx for sharing the recipe too...'s baat me zaroor kuch baat hey'!

6:10 AM  
Blogger Nupur said...

What a great post! Love your description of a traditional wedding lunch. I too associate masale bhat with "lagnachi pangat". I love the koshimbir that goes with masale bhat. with crushed fried papad :)

6:22 AM  
Blogger Menu Today said...

Hi Ashwini,
I love masala Bhat.I follow your recipe and try it out soon. Thanx for sharing.

6:25 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Shankari, Sumitha, Vee - thanks
Nabeela, MT - let me know how you like it
Nupur - I dont care what else is on the plate usually, I will eat less of everything else just so I can eat more of masale bhaath (and jalebi of course)!!
Shynee - so imagine what you will feel once you actually eat it :-D..thanks
Priya - thanks for your kind words

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm... nice spicy recipe to enjoy Gherkins

7:49 PM  
Blogger Latha said...

Hi Ashwini,

This is my first time on my blog. I love your blog! Everytime I visit a blog, I am amazed at the time and the effort that has gone into it.
Lovely, delicious pictures too!
I love Maharashtrian food. I have tried a different version on Masale Bhaat, but yours looks extra appetizing. Will give it a try and let you know when I do. In the meanwhile, I have a request.
Would you be able to share with us an authentic recipe for Goda Masala. I tried lookign for it in stores here, but none was available. I tried making some at home but it did nto taste as good as what is available in India..
Or is there some place in the US I can buy it from..
Cheers and Thanks,

9:46 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Thanks for your sweet words Latha. Sorry but I don't have a recipe for goda masala. I get mine from this lady in India who has been supplying us for years.
I have seen it in the stores here in U.S. (in San Jose/ LA/ Chicago etc) and it was pretty good. Maybe you could try your luck if you stay nearby? Good luck

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmmm...This one looks delicious!!

11:46 PM  
Blogger appalam vadaam said...

I kept on staring at it whole of yesterday and made it today, even if it meant trying your recipes back to back!!! :-) I love its taste! Thanks for sharing!

3:28 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

V just checked your blog. I am glad you liked it. And even better to know it tastes just as good with bell peppers (since gherkins arent that common here)!

3:44 PM  
Blogger saakshi said...

Hi Ashwini,
yumm........masale bhaat looks delicious. You have a very good collection of recipes. Thanks for sharing authentic recipes. I would like to do the same too....please visit my blog at
Your comments, suggestions are valuable.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Praveena said...

This looks yummy! I have to try it!

12:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just tried this dish today - was a bit time consuming but it was absolutely delicious ( even though I left out the cashews). Thanks for the great recipe!

9:56 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Glad you liked it Aparna

12:40 AM  
Blogger Nupur said...

Ashwini: I followed your recipe exactly, except that I used some tender green beans instead of gherkins (for reasons of availability!)...and it was *wonderful*. Total authentic flavor and a heavenly aroma. Thanks for sharing a wonderful recipe. It is truly a keeper!

8:29 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Nupur did it transport you to a wedding of some 'tai' where all you did was eat? ;-)

4:11 PM  
Blogger OMO said...

Hi Ashwini,

I prepared this for my mum's b'day and she loved it.


1:42 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Glad you and your family enjoyed masale bhath. Lucky mom btw :-)

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ashwini,

I tried this on the weekend & it came out great! We all loved it. Thanks for sharing.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got the link from Nabeela's site.And tried it today it is so tasty.Now it will be one of staple food in our home.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Suma - thanks for dropping by. I am so glad your family enjoyed masale bhaat.

Anon - Nabby has become my PR exec :-D Glad you enjoyed the dish

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for the authentic recipe. We would recommend it with Khamnag kaakdi and Taak to accompany it. We substituted tondli with cauliflower and potato combination. We had a great Sunday dinner!

11:36 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Sameer/ Meghana - that sounds like a fabulus Sunday dinner. Glad you liked masale bhaat.
I love khamang kakdi... reminds me of the simple khanavals I used to visit when traveling in Mahrashtra.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi ashwini....your recipie looks great and i am going to try it today as my husband has a dabba party in his office. his europeon pals want a taste from his thought masale bhat would be a good idea! thanks for sharing your recepie!


7:47 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Ashwini,
I think this is the authentic recipe. i'm going to try it today..
I will surely let u know the outcome.
thanks for sharing "masale bhat"

11:39 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

can you plse send it in marathi to my email e i

1:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ashwini,
I was inspired by your recipe of masale bhath and made it today exactly as your recipe with gherkins,I must say, my husband and I both loved it. It is an absolutely tasty dish yet so easy to make.We had never tried it before but I am sure we will be making this dish very often in our home now onwards...thank you for sharing the recipe.

3:19 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Ruchi - let me know what his colleagues thought of it.

Bhakti - thanks

Meera - thanks, I am glad you enjoyed it.

12:56 AM  
Anonymous Shilpa said...

kharach best. keep it up. yours is the real recipe.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Medha Atre said...

This is one of the ONLY few AUTHENTIC Masale Bhaat recipes out there on the web.

Rest all are some "medley" recipes with the cook's own items of choice.

E.g., I saw some Youtube videos and blogs of a Marathi lady demonstrating Masale Bhaat with TOMATO in it!! Well, she definitely hasn't eaten the Masale Bhaat that is there in typical Maharashtrian weddings!

Thanks for this recipe. I add little bit of turmeric too, and it turns out very close to what I used to eat passionately in my family weddings. :)

10:58 PM  

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