Mumbai (IANS) The all-time favourite snack of Maharashtra, ‘Misal Pav’, has entered the TasteAtlas’ 100 Best Rated Snacks in the World, as per the rankings for 2023 released recently.
It rubs shoulders with another Maharashtra light food, the yummy ‘Vada Pav’, ‘Pav Bhaji’ and other Indian favourites like ‘Pani Puri’ and ‘Chaat’.
Standing at No. 95, ‘Misal Pav’ is a traditional dish of the state, quick to prepare, easy to digest and can be eaten practically 24X7, and savoured by one and all.
It comprises a spicy curry of sprouted moth beans, topped with onions, raw green chillies, potatoes and chivda, dipped and eaten with the baker’s pav (small bread loaf).
“Its available in practically every eatery across the state, as a breakfast, mid-morning filler, lunch, afternoon bite, dinner or even a midnight snack,” said a Mumbai Marathi housewife Priyanka K. G., who makes it for her family at least twice a week, or on lazy Sundays.
TasteAtlas describes ‘Misal’ – literally translated as aa mixture of everything’, so the ingredients vary as per the cook, and apart from the ingredients, it must be spicy while the base must be crunchy and the overall look should be like a colourful work of art, and essentially not hard on the domestic budgets.
Another featuring at No. 74 is ‘Vada Pav’ on which Mumbai and other parts of the state virtually survive, even while on the go, and is a common feature at every street corner stalls, eaters and even topnotch eateries in recent years.
Featuring in the category of ‘sandwiches’, the dish comprises ‘Vada’ made of mashed potatoes garnished with spices and deep-fried in chickpea batter, and stuffed with red, green and dry chilli powder-garlic chutney in a sliced loaf of bread.
TasteAtlas attributes its origins to a Dadar street-vendor Ashok Vaidya who used to whip up piping hot vada-pavs that started a rage in the 1960s and is now a household staple, especially favourite during monsoons.
Later, the Shiv Sena founded by the late Balasaheb Thackeray promoted and patronised the traditional Mumbai working-class snack through portable stalls and as a means of easy, low-investment self-employment mode for youth.
Another Maharashtra dish, the ‘Pav Bhaji’ figures at No. 83, and its fame has now transcended the boundaries with availability in several other states or major cities in India.
Said to be around 175 years old, the dish is a mixed vegetable curry with its special spicy flavours, served hot, topped with some grated cheese and butter, along with dry or butter-fried ‘pav’.
Its originals are believed to be the brainwave of some vendors left with several unsold vegetables of the day who mixed and mashed them with spices and butter, and consumed it with bread rolls.
Later, it became a favourite with Mumbai’s hordes of office-goers commuting long distances and the mill-workers in the 1950-1980s, even as the dish acquired several ‘avatars’ in its long culinary journey to satisfy changing tastes and discerning palates.
The mouth-watering ‘Pani Puri’ is listed at No. 73, and is extremely popular not only in India but the neighbourhood of Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.
The snack is a hollow crisp fried puri, stuffed with some ‘ragda’ or potatoes, onions, chillies and chickpeas and dunked into a spicy water, becoming the anytime snack ‘Pani Puri’.
Though its origins are said to be in Uttar Pradesh, it quickly gained in popularity all over the country and the nearby South Asian nations.
One more UP-origin speciality, the lip-smacking ‘Chaat’ is on No. 71, signifying a huge variety of Indian street foods, snacks, quick light meals with a perfect combination of salty, spicy, sweet and sour flavours.
‘Chaat’ is consumed as an independent meal or combined with other dishes and is available in every street and even at specialised outlets, in all seasons.
TasteAtlas said that till April 2023, it recorded nearly 10,000 global ratings of which a little over 7,000 were recognised as legitimate for the world 100 list.
Several other popular Indian dishes or snacks are ranked in other sections of the TasteAtlas 2023 list.