Masale Bhaat in our home was made on special occasions such as Gudi Padwa or when we had large crowds to feed. It is a classic dish from Maharashtra and is often confused with Phodni Bhaat or tempered rice, which is a simpler dish made with leftover cooked rice. Masale Bhaat is prepared in the strictest tradition with ivy gourd, coconut and a dark sweet masala known as Goda masala but there are several variations depending on the season or occasion for which it is prepared. Some use baby eggplants, others add peas and more common vegetables like carrots.
At Pune weddings it is always made without onions and the same applies to Gudi Padwa. In cashew season we use Bibbe or tender cashews but these can be expensive so peanuts are often used as a substitute. In our home we used a variety of vegetables, onions for non religious occasions and a homemade Goda masala. If you dont have good masala you can substitute with a Kaala masala, Kumta even Garam Masala- while the flavours do change you will still get a very tasty one pot meal with all the nutrients you need. Indrayani is a slightly sticky and aromatic rice, popular in Maharashtra that is used to make this dish but if you don’t have it use Ambemohar, Kali jeera (mistakenly called Baby Basmati) or Kolam. A short grained Mexican rice is also a good option but a Japanese and Thai rice would be too sticky. You can use Basmati if you have no other options as well.
2 cups rice washed and drained in a sieve
2 cups ivy gourd slice in half lengthwise or use 2 cups of carrots, peas and cauliflower. Baby Eggplant is also an option
1/2 cup finely sliced onions (on non religious occasions)
3 Indian green chillies slit lengthwise
1.5 tbspns peeled and julienned ginger root
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder (to taste)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons ghee
Spices for tempering
1 star anise or chakra magi (seeds removed)
1 dried bay leaf or tamalpatra
4 whole black cloves
1 inch cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
jaggery and salt to taste
For the spice mix
2 tablespoons goda masala
3 tablespoons fresh young peeled cashews or Bibbe otherwise toasted cashew pieces
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
1/4 cup fresh grated white meat of coconut
Heat large pressure cooker pan on a high flame. Add oil and ghee and all the whole spices except cumin seeds. Saute 1-2 minutes.
Then add cumin seeds and saute until golden and aromatic.
Add green chillies and julienned ginger. Saute 30 seconds.
Add vegetables. Add salt, turmeric and Goda masala and stir well.
Add rice and stir gently to ensure rice is evenly coated with spices. If using tender raw cashews add them in now.
Add water to just cover the rice. Pressure cooker 1-2 whistles about 10-15 minutes on a medium flame until tender.
Open pressure cooker after releasing the whistle. Fluff up the rice. Taste for salt and jaggery and adjust to taste. Spoon onto a plate and top with toasted cashews, coriander leaves, coconut and squeeze lime to taste.
Serve hot with yoghurt and papads.