Maharashtra is home to a bunch of tasty cuisines in its various districts, but arguably the most popular one of the lot has got to be the Kolhapuri cuisine. The Kolhapuri Cuisine is know to be extremely spicy and (at least according to me) probably has some of the most deliciously spicy dishes in the country, including my favorite spicy snack — the Misal.
Growing up, I had always heard stories from my family about how Kolhapur’s masala is very spicy and the food there is at times unbearable to eat for someone who’s not used to it. While I wasn’t new to it, I grew an immense liking for the Misal during my college years. Just outside my college was a snack house that was known for its delicious serving of Misal with unlimited red gravy for a mere 12 bucks. Needless to say, a fair amount of my pocket money was spent here.
However, I was still oblivious to the taste of Kolhapur’s finest item — The Tambda & Pandhra rassa. Made from the spicy masala, Tambda Rassa or Red Gravy is the spicy gravy while Pandhra Rassa or White Gravy is the tangier, lighter one. These are usually had with Sukkha Mutton (Dry Mutton) and Chapatis (Flat bread). Fortunately, a couple of months ago, I happened to make a quick trip to Kolhapur with some friends and got to taste all of the above. Long story short, these items are one of best food items I’ve tasted.
Based off a few recommendations from friends, the best place to have Tambda Pandhra rassa in Kolhapur is at Hotel Opal. They’ve been in operation since 1968 and are one of the better known hotels in the city, yet you’ll notice the decor and ambience is simple and lively. Once seated, we were being served by an aged gentlemen who was very courteous and willingly wanted us taste what was available there.
All we had to tell him was that we were there to taste their finest foods and that we’d be eating non-vegetarian. Off he went to the kitchen that already looked chaotic trying to keep up with the orders pouring in with the 100 or so customers seated in the room. Uncle Server was back within 15 minutes with bowls of incredibly tasty looking curries, muttons and a stack of about 15-20 chapatis. The four of us on the table pounced on all of it and had the time of our lives.
Believe me when I say this, you’ve got to try Kolhapur’s Misal and Tambda Pandhra Rassa at least once. It’s phenomenal.