Maratha cuisine in Namma Bengaluru, that’s what we’re going to check out in this episode of… … Gourmet On The Road. So, stay tuned till the very end. This is the Chilli Chicken done Karnataka style. The look of happiness, that’s what happiness looks like. You know, sometimes when you are having the Kheema Unde… … you’re also tasting some of the binder that’s gone into it. But out here, all that I taste is the flavour of that meat. They came in first as warriors and since then have settled and integrated into Karnatakas landscape. What they also brought with them were their rich culinary traditions. So, today I’m here to meet one such Maratha family that’s carrying forward the Maratha culinary tradition… … right here at the eatery, Marata Darshan in Namma Bengaluru. So, lets go in and check out what Maratha cuisine is all about. Let’s go. You know, when I look at this wall, this is symbolic of the integration of the Marathas in Karnataka. So, on the wall, of course you have Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. And you have Karnataka’s iconic personality Dr. Rajkumar. I think that speaks of the integration of Marathas into Karnataka’s culture. Hello, how are you? – Nice to see you, sir. Nice to see you too. -Yes, sir. Thank you. So, I’m here with Mr. Naveen Lad. Whose parents, whose father started Marata Darshan -Yes, sir. How many years? -Almost 26 years. – ’91 we started. I am told this restaurant had very humble beginnings. – We started in one small… …again one small restaurant. – Now we get into one big restaurant. So, what is special here about Marata Darshan? – Why, because… Okay. – Mother cooks everything… – You can feel Maratha style. – Anything. – Mutton, Chicken, Kheema, Naati Chicken… … everything Maratha style. And that’s his mother who is in the kitchen even as we shoot this. She is busy there giving the final finishing touches to the dishes. -Yes, Sir. Please. So, let’s go into the kitchen here at Marata Dashan and see what’s cooking. I can see some masalas being ground. I can smell the aroma of the masala in the air. Mutton Kurma Masala. So he says that all the ingredients that go into this are naati, local, country ingredients… … whether it’s the vegetables, whether it’s the herbs that go into it… … and that makes a huge difference when it comes to the flavour. – Naati Chicken Masala . – Like healthy food. – He’s the founder of Maratha Darshan. Mr. Shantharaj. So, I’m with Mr. Shantharaj Lad who began Marata Darshan in a very humble way in 1991. – She is the main cook. – Everything made by mother only here. So, what’s interesting is that they began in 1991… … but they began with the recipes that Mrs. Hemavathi Lad would cook at home. So, I was asking him what led to the beginning of Marata Darshan… … and he said it was nothing but necessity. And they were looking at creating, to do something, to do an enterprise for their livelihood. And that’s when they thought they should set up an eatery. He was 45 then and he had no experience at all in the culinary line. He used to be a driver before that. And because of necessity and to earn a lively hood they began Marata Darshan in a small way… … in a push cart. You know, Marata Darshan is in the heart of Bengaluru, in the heart of Bengaluru’s CBD. He says people come from all the 30 districts of Karnataka for a meal here at Marata Darshan. – Every one, they’ll miss their mother. How beautiful that was! So, he says that everybody longs for food that’s cooked by their mother. When they come here, when they come to Marata Darshan… … and they watch Mrs. Hemavathi Lad here in the kitchen going about, ladling out the dishes.. … they feel like they have come to a mothers home. And that’s really the feel that they get when they come to Marata Harshan. That’s so beautifully said! – Yes. Mutton Fry. – This is actually our main dish. That looks delicious! It looks as tasty as that. – This is Mutton Kurma. Oh, Mutton Kurma. -This is Naati Chicken. – Main dish. So, this is the country chicken, the free rain chicken. – Kheema Balls are ready. I can smell the aroma of that meat wafting out. – There is no… only meat and masala. That’s it. – Nothing else. – So only meat. – Liver. Aah! – Liver Pepper Fry. Mutton Liver Pepper Fry. – Yes. – You don’t feel, not even little smell in this liver. Lovely. So now we’re in the heart of Marata Darshan. We’re in the kitchen, where the cooking happens. What are you cooking? – This is Chilli Chicken. Chilli Chicken Maratha style. – Maratha style. This is not the Chilli Chicken Chinese style. – No no. It is our local style. We’ve taken the Chilli chicken and made it our own. -That’s it. But then we’ve always had chilli, so when was Chilli Chicken ever somebody else’s? Its always been our own. – This is just tomato – We don’t use sauces, we don’t use colour, we don’t use ajinomoto. So everything is natural, everything is fresh… … and everything is homemade. So, even the spices are ground fresh at home. – Pepper Chicken. – Pepper Chicken means it is 100 percent Pepper Chicken. – You should feel that pepper flavour. So that is the popular Raggi Mudde. So this is only the millet and the water. So there is a lot of work that goes into making that Raggi Mudde. – Yes, sir. – One hour. So, one hour you have to keep doing this. – Yes. -That’s why it is very soft. My goodness. So, Naveen says that everybody who comes here to Marata Darshan… … comes here for that Raggi Mudde. But it’s interesting to know that the Marathas, centuries ago never had Raggi Mudde as part of the diet. So, they’ve come into Karnataka and made that Raggi Mudde their own. And that is what has become the iconic staple here at Marata Darshan… … along with their Naati Chicken. – Yes. So, when the Raggi Mudde is finally ready it becomes extremely soft and pliable like this. So, you can actually smell the roasting of the raggi, the millet at the bottom of this vessel. And that’s the reason why they need to keep mixing it up to bring that to the top… …. and mix the top to the bottom. So you get uniform heat overall. I can smell the toasty notes od this Raggi as it’s being cooked. As it’s being coaxed, as it’s being muscled to make that soft Raggi Mudde. So the RaggI Mudde is ready but it’s now being portioned into smaller roundels. – That’s it, Sir. You know, it’s the simplest of foods but there is so much of work… … there is so much of effort that goes into creating that. And I think that’s what we taste… … on the plate. And that’s what we call deliciousness! So, we’ve just finished our kitchen tour and I’m waiting to get to the table and eat. It’s very organized, as you can see, at Marata Darshan. On the ground floor you stand and eat, so you come here, you pay for you food… … you collect your food and you eat. And upstairs is the area with service. So, what I’m going to do is, although I can pay upstairs… … but I’m going to order my dishes here and pay for them right here. One Mutton Chops, one Naati Chicken. You know, we’ve come here to Marata Darshan we have to taste the dishes that are being offered. Let’s go upstairs and eat some Maratha meals. From here you have a birds eye view… … of the service area in the kitchen as the food is being dished out. You see the father at work, you also see the lady of the house dishing out portions. You know, it’s such a happy atmosphere. It just gets your appetite going. There is even some hot water to wash your hands… … like you would step into someone’s home. So, this is a small, cozy service area here… … and I’ve got my receipt with all the dishes. So, we’ve got the Mutton Fry meals, we’ve got the Naati Chicken Curry, the Mutton liver… … the Mutton Kheema that’s the Kheema Unde. The Meat balls. The Chicken Chilli and the Pepper Chicken. So ordinarily you order one of these dishes in a Thali and that’s good enough… … but we are here to taste the offerings at Marata Darshan… …. so we’ve obviously gone overboard. Thank you. It is always wonderful when you’re sitting, waiting for your food… … and around you, you watch people happily… … tucking into their meal. It’s always a good sign. If you want to know what’s good in a restaurant always speak to the locals… … speak to the people who are eating there, who are, who are eating there as habit. They will tell you what to order in those restaurants. Mutton Chops. So, we’ve made a beginning. I’ve got my Mutton Chops Thali. Buttermilk. I certainly need this Buttermilk after all of this. This is vegetarian Sambar. For vegetarian people. Vegetarian Sambar. So vegetarians are very easy to feed. – Yes. So he says all that you do is you take this Chops out, you put the Soppina Saaru here… …which basically has all the greens. And you put some pickle and some papad and… … their happy. And some Butter Milk But that’s not going to happen here. We are going to taste the Soppina Saaru, of course but we’re going to taste the Chops first. What I am interested in tasting first is that soft… … Raggi Mudde. This Raggi Mudde is so soft. It kind of… … it’s sagging under its own weight. That’s how soft this Raggi Mudde is. And it’s hot. My fingers are burning. When eating Raggi Mudde you dunk it into some gravy. And I’m going to dunk it into this… … Naati Chicken Gravy. Get that Mudde to absorb all the gravy. And then just… Mmmh! That Raggi Mudde melts in the mouth. But this… … Naati Koli Saaru certainly has some spice. You can taste the Garam Masala, you can taste the chillies… … in your throat. I love that… … grainy softness of this Raggi Mudde. I don’t think I’ve eaten Raggi Mudde this soft. I’m going to taste this Raggi Mudde next with this Mutton Chops Saaru. In this Mutton Chops, you can taste the freshness of the green masala that’s gone into this. There’s a fair bit of garlic. So garlic is an integral part of Maratha cuisine. And then all the spices that have gone into this. What I like is a good distribution of fat in the meat… … because ultimately it’s the fat that conveys all the flavours of the meat. Mmmh! I love the flavour of the masala! This masala also has cloves and cinnamon. And you can taste the warm, mellow lingering heat of the spices in the masala. That meat is just cooked perfectly. Naati Koli Saaru. This is another popular dish here at Marata Darshan. This is not your broiler chicken. This is your Naati Chicken or your country chicken. And you can tell that by the colour of the meat. The meat almost looks like red meat. And this chicken here is also cooked with that skin. It’s the skin of the chicken that gives it that flavour. I think I’m going to make a beginning with the Chicken Pepper Dry here. So, this is the Chicken Pepper Dry with copious amounts of pepper… … and the reason why you have this dark, almost black colour. This, of course is the broiler chicken, so I’m expecting this chicken to be soft. I’m going to have it with that curry leaf. Mmmh! I love that… … toasty, pepper tones of this Pepper Dry. Oh, this is delicious! You know, all that you taste in this chicken is of course, the juiciness of the meat… … and that mellow, lingering bite of that fresh pepper. You can… … taste the fact that this peppercorns have just been ground… … and incorporated into this dish. That’s what gives it that fresh bite. This chicken is just cooked perfectly well. You know, I can feel that… … graininess of that.. This is the Chilli Chicken which is done Karnataka style. Plenty of tomatoes which gives it that colour. And that green chilli, which gives it that… …. raw, spicy green chilli heat. This chicken just parts… …. away from the bone so gently. It’s cooked as beautifully as that! You know, I’ve tasted many a Chilli Chicken in Namma Bengaluru… … but this Chilli Chicken here is next level. You know, many places you’re tasting the Chilli Chicken and you really can’t get past the green chilli because… … that’s all that you taste. The mind numbing pain of the green chilli on your palate and you taste little else. In this Chilli Chicken, you definitely taste the chilli… … but you also taste the chicken. You taste the rest of the dish. You taste that mild, sweet acidity of that tomato. It’s such a well balanced Chilli Chicken. This, certainly has to rate as one of the best Chilli Chickens that I have tasted here in Karnataka! Mmmh! So, usually when I’m tasting, I’m going bit by bit, dish by dish. But the last few dishes, actually all the dishes that I have tasted here… … have been so tasty that I’m going back for a second bite even before tasting the other dishes. That’s how seriously good this dish is. You can see that green chilli that’s napping the spoon. You can see the tomatoes and that lush sauce. That thickness in that gravy. I split some of my chilli there! That lush gravy makes the chicken, cocoons the chicken so well. When you’re eating chicken you need a sauce, you need a gravy that’s as delicious, as flavourful… The look of happiness, that’s what happiness looks like. We’re going to go to our last chicken dish here. And this is the Chicken 65. So, this is a colourful… … Chicken 65 and it is not at all the Kebab I was expecting or that most would expect. So this is actually a dry chicken preparation that is almost kebab like. And is tossed in a thick masala with yoghurt, some Kashmiri chillies and plenty of curry leaves. There is also a fair bit of lime that goes into it. You can taste the acidity, the sourness of the lime that’s probably gone into this Chicken 65. Next. I’m going to taste the Kheema Curry. And the Kheema Curry here is the Kheema Unde or the Mutton Minced Balls. I love that Rogan, the fat… … from the meat as the meat’s cooked. That’s skinning the gravy on top. I’m going to take some more of that gravy and ladle it over my Kheema Unde. That’s one soft, crumbly Mutton Minced Balls. All that you taste in that Kheema Unde is the meat. You know, sometimes when you’re having the Kheema Unde… … you’re also tasting some of the binder that’s gone into it. Maybe some gram flour, maybe something else that gone into binding it together. But out here… … all that I taste is the flavour of that meat. And that gravy is so gentle, it merely straddles the Kheema Unde without… … overpowering it’s delicate nuanced flavour. Mmmh! So, I am going to taste that rice first with that Kheema Unde Saaru. That Kheema Curry here. The rice is warm, just the sort of happy feeling… … that gets your appetite going. That gravy is gentle. That gravy is a supporting act to the hero of the dish which is that meaty, delicately flavoured… … Kheema Unde. There is some green chilli, there is perhaps some… … a littte bit of garlic, perhaps a little bit of ginger. But those ingredients serve just to help the flavour of the meat… Let’s taste some of that Mutton Liver Pepper Fry next. You can see this is the Pepper Chicken cooked in pepper. And this is the Mutton Pepper Dry again cooked in pepper. But you can see the difference in the colour which comes from a deep… … meaty brown colour of that Mutton liver as it gets cooked. Typically, when you’re tasting Mutton Liver, at times it can be very hard. But this Mutton Liver… … is quite yielding to the bite. What I also find in this Mutton Liver is that the pepper… … the strength of the pepper is a lot more apparent on the palate. Because I guess, it has to hold itself up to that meatiness to that savory meatiness of that Mutton Liver. So you could taste the pepper in the Pepper Chicken but you can also taste the chicken. But in this, the pepper too makes it’s assertiveness felt on the palate. The flavour of the pepper here stands shoulder to shoulder… Mmmh! I think I’m gonna take a… … a brief break or an interlude to taste the two vegetarian dishes here. And this is the Soppina Saaru which is a nourishing gravy that’s made with all manner of greens. That Soppina Saaru is hot. You know, I love the earthy flavours of this Soppina Saaru. To be honest, when I first looked at it, I thought it felt a little out of place. You know, what’s a… … what’s a vegetable curry doing in the middle of all this meat? But when I inquired, I’m told people come here also for the vegetarian Soppina Saaru… …and that Rasam I’m about to taste next. And having tasted this Soppina Saaru… … I can believe the establishment when they say… … we have vegetarians too here who come in for the Soppina Saaru Thali. Mmmh! So, you’ve got the spinach, you’ve got the dill, the sabbasige sappu. And you’ve got a bunch of greens that have gone into it. You can’t really pick on the individual flavours. But what you can certinly pick on is the nourishment… So, typically most meals on the plate end with some Rasam. You can certainly taste the tartness that perhaps comes from some tamarind that’s gone in. And you can definitely taste some cumin. Now while that’s typically how most meals end here… … that I got right at the beginning of my meal. So I’m going to get some of my rice onto the plate. Get some mutton as well. And drop that thick gravy on my rice. Break some onion, mix the gravy into that rice with some onion… … and savour a hearty mouthful of that Mutton Chops. I’m going to mix some more of that gravy on top of the meat. Mmmh! That’s such a happy bite there. Happy Mutton Curry bliss… … here at Marata Darshan! As I near the end of my meal here, I think some Buttermilk would be just apt. You know, having tasted all these Maratha dishes, I feel like an honorary Maratha! But jokes aside… … I think this has been such a delicious meal. I think what’s interesting about a meal at Marata Darshan is of course… … you have all these Maratha flavours that you taste. But what sets this eatery apart is the fact that there is a family involved … … there is a lady of the house who’s down in the kitchen ensuring… …that the dishes are cooked to recipes that she’s been following for decades. And that gives it a touch of home. So when you come into Marata Darshan, when you dine here at Marata Darshan… … when you see the family at work, when you see the lady of the house, when you see the father… … and you see the son all working together… … to serve their customers it truly feels special. So if you’re looking for some brilliant Maratha flavours right here in Namma Bengaluru… … make sure you come to Marata Darshan and enjoy all that’s on offer. Come with some friends, come with family cause there are plenty of dishes here for you to taste. Until the next episode of Gourmet On The Road, happy eating! I’m going to go back to that Kheema Unde. At Food Lovers TV, my team and I work hard to produce engaging food and travel videos. If you like our work, do check out our Patreon page where you can pledge a nominal sum in lieu of special privileges… …like behind the scenes footage, early video releases, exclusive q&a’s, merch and much more! For more info, check out the links in the description below. Also, if you enjoyed this video, don’t forget to subscribe, share, like and leave a comment here. Happy eating!