Mumbai or Bombay as it was known prior to 1996, is the capital city of the Western Indian State of Maharashtra. While the World celebrates Labor Day, Maharashtra also celebrates its founding day each year on the 1st of May.
I have lived most of my life in Mumbai and have fond memories of the local Maharashtrian food in Mumbai and Pune that goes way beyond the ubiquitous Vada Pav: Amti, Varan Bhat, Thalipeeth, Rassa, Misal, Kothimbir Vadi; so much savour, so little time!
One of the staples of Maharashtrian cuisine is a simple dish made out of chickpeas flour, called Zunka.
It has very few ingredients and is a perfect dish to rustle up when you have no vegetables at home. It is also highly nutritious with all the protein that comes from the chickpeas flour.
In Maharashtra, Zunka is usually teamed with Bhakri, a flatbread made with rice, jowar (sorghum) and bajra (pearl millet). This makes for a very nutritious and tasty meal at a low cost, which makes it a favourite with all classes of society.
In fact, Zunka Bhakri is such a fundamental part of Maharashtrian food culture that the Government of Maharashtra ran a scheme offering Zunka Bhakri at very, very subsidised rates throughout the whole state.
I served the Zunka with Chapati (Indian Flatbread), Taak (spiced buttermilk), tomato slices and Thecha (a fiery chutney made with Red Chillies).
A simple, satisfying and scrumptious dinner.
Here’s the recipe:
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
1 small Onion, finely chopped
4-5 Large Garlic Pods, chopped
1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1/2 teaspoon Ajwain (Carom Seeds)
3 Dried Red Chillies
1 cup Chickpeas Flour
2 teaspoon Oil
1 teaspoon Red Chilli powder (less or more, as per taste)
2 cups Water
A few sprigs Cilantro, chopped
Take the chickpeas flour in a deep bowl, add water and whisk till smooth.
Heat the oil in a large, preferably non-stick saucepan, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, carom seeds, dried red chillies, chopped garlic and cook till garlic gets a light golden color.
Add chopped onion and cook till translucent.
Now add the chickpeas batter and quickly stir.
Add salt, mix, cover and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
Garnish with chopped Cilantro and serve.