April starts with thalis full of deliciousness ringing in regional New Year celebrations. Shrikhand is churned for Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, and Ugadi Pachadi is concocted in Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Cooling shrikhand contains hung curd sweetened with sugar, spiced with cardamom, and served with warm puris. Ugadi Pachadi is a thick chutney-like preparation with a melange of flavours, such as sweet, bitter, acidic, sour, salty and pungent with ingredients like raw mango, neem flowers, tamarind, pepper and jaggery. It is regarded as auspicious, and the different flavours are believed to symbolise emotions like joy, sadness, anger, fear and surprise. A taste of each of these flavours is considered as a pre-prep for whatever life has to offer in the new year.
Restaurants in Bengaluru have Ugadi thalis just for the weekend. In Mumbai, shrikhand-puri is popular through the year, but a festival is just another excuse to have some more.
The Ugadi festive thali, with about seven items, will begin with the traditional drink Ugadi panaka. Then the meal proceeds to include vadas, bhajjis and avarakkai (flat beans) tomato bhaat. It ends with the stuffed sweet roti, known as carrot holige, that filled with dry fruits, shredded carrot and coconut. The thali is available for lunch on April 2. Wear stretchy pants.
Ssaffron, Shangri-La Bengaluru
Mango dal, vegetable stew, curd rice and coconut payasam, are among a host of other delicious food items, that fill the plate at the Ugadi feast in Ssaffron. The festive-special thali is available for lunch on April 2.
Soam in Mumbai
Soam was awarded the best vegetarian restaurant for casual dining at the Times Food and Nightlife Awards in Mumbai this month. It’s not the first time they have received it, and it’s not the last. Almost each item on the menu is memorable. Their shrikhand has the delicate balance of sweet combined with a hint of elaichi and elevated with a mild souring kick derived from the curd. The chaats are addictive and juices are as fresh as they come. This weekend marks the start of aamras-puri and Navratri fasting specials. While you might visit for the spectacular shrikhand, as a nod to Gudi Padwa, try the aamras and dig into extra helpings of chaats too.
Aaswad in Dadar
It’s not a restaurant; it’s an institution of Marathi foods like vadas, usal and misal. For Gudi Padwa, they have a lip-puckering mango dal and to sweeten the deal there’s the season favourite aamras-puri which will last beyond the weekend. Visit with enough time on hand for the hoards of people waiting for a table would be longer this weekend.
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