Maharashtrian Mutton Cravings!
As I had just returned from a trip to Kolhapur last weekend, I was seriously craving for some spicy rassa, and some well cooked mutton, the likes of which I had eaten there at Parakh and Opal. As I received a call inviting me for a tasting at Mavala Durbar, Balewadi, I leaped at the opportunity – something right behind my home, had to be tried out!
We started off with Solkadi – the perfect drink to cool off on a hot summer day (or to cool off your palate after a plate of spicy food!). The solkadi at Mavala Durbar was chilled (full points for that!) but it was a bit too spicy.
The Vegetarian Dishes
Pithla Bhakri is pretty much the cornerstone of Maharashtrian home cooking. The Pithla here is delicious, and as authentic as they get. The bhakris could use some improvement – they were a bit too crisp for my liking. I prefer my bhakris to be softer.
Another flagship Kolhapuri vegetarian item, the akkha masoor at Mavala Durbar is rich, thick and packed full of the flavor of ghee. The addition of green chilly gives it just the right amount of kick.
The Mutton Dishes
Kolhapuri Mutton Fry
Mutton in a ‘kaala masala’ base. Very very yummy. The dry-ish masala would go perfectly with a chapati or bhakri. Some of the mutton bits were a bit chewy.
Mutton Alani Fry
This is made from the mutton stock, with a light ‘tadka’ of garlic, chilly and curry leaves. Extremely delicious, without being over-the-top spicy.
This took the cake for me. Kharda (more popularly known as Thecha in Maarashtra) is a green chilly based sauce. Surprisingly, this didn’t burn a hole in the roof of my mouth!
Mutton Thali with Indrayani Rice
The coup-de-grace of the meal, the thali comes fully loaded with a mutton masala, mutton kheema, tambda/pandhra rassa, Indrayani rice, dahi kanda, thecha and chapatis/bhakris. The Mutton masala and the kheema were cooked in the same kaala masala base as the kolhapuri mutton masala tasted above. While it was a bit monotonous, it was absolutely delicious. The mutton bits were still a bit chewy.
The rassas missed the mark. While they were tasty, and I happily gulped them down, they missed the trademark flavors I expected. The Pandhra rassa missed the coconut flavor, while the tambda rasssa didn’t have the typical mutton stock/fat flavors.
The Indrayani rice, as always, was fragrant, and went beautifully with the rassa.
They do serve chicken and vegetarian versions of the above thali, as well as a version with biryani instead of Indrayani rice.
The Mutton Biryani was quite tasty, and surprisingly light. The sprinkling of fried onions over the top gave it a nice bit of texture.
As the kulhad of basundi came to our table, we saw a thick layer of malai and dry fruits on top. Our first impression was that this was over-set – you would expect a basundi to be more liquid, rather than an almost custard texture. However, as we dug into it, from beneath the top layer was this lovely, flavorful basundi.
Hot, delicious, topped with dry fruits – bliss!
Gajar / Dudhi Halwa
Both the halwas were lovely, neither being too sweet. The presence of food coloring was a bit of a turn off. Tasty, nonetheless.
Overall, Mavala Durbar definitely hits the mark in terms of serving authentic Maharashtrian food. the kaala masala used in multiple preparations is right up there with the best in the business, and the desserts hit the spot to close of a great meal.
I was invited for the tasting event. The Usual Disclaimer applies.