NH65 – connecting two major cities, Pune and Hyderabad- is lined by plenty of hotels and dhabas on both sides. Surprisingly many of them are vegetarian. And Nisarg, 16 km away from Solapur simply outshines the others. It’s insanely popular among regular travelers and folks in the region. Its huge parking space, hosting scores of traveler cars and trucks opens into an equally huge dining area. Here staff strength sometimes appears more than that of an average hotel’s daily customers. :d So you will already be super excited by the time you reach your table.
Skip the usual masala papad and go for a khakhra here. A thin cracker made of wheat flour and lentils. This #Gujarati item when tweaked with finely chopped onion, tomatoes, corriandar leaves, sev and chat masala tastes brilliant. They also have some Chinese starters on the menu but let us stay relevant to native cuisine.
Solapur is cradle for jowar and bajra, hence bhakaris (kindoff pancakes from these cereals) are a staple. The specility being kadak bhakari which is much thinner version of the same, made crisp and cracking by drying it overnight.
It can be eaten with indigenous vegetables such as shev bhaji and sheng bhaji. Sheng bhaji is reddish brown thick gravy made of grinded peanuts seasoned in mustard seeds, cardamom and special masala prepared by roasting and grinding all the known spices in the world. When added with gram flour sticks makes it shev bhaji. Both are sharp in flavour and go well with bhakari.
Meat lovers if you are still not happy then go for Ghati Sherawa. Quite dark and hot gravy with a layer of oil and mixed condiments will make you forget the chicken gravy -Rassa.
But the real show stealer is shenga chutney, for which Solapur has been traditionally famous. Peanuts roughly grinded with red chilly powder, garlic, salt and bit of oil make for this # chutney. Add some curd to it and slurp the goodness with bhakari. Too good to be a side dish. Should be eaten like main course… :p
Other favorites are thalipeeth, dhapate along with thecha or kharda. Soft and savoury, best of its kind. But if its kinda spice overdose for you then wash it down with cold buttermilk. Or ask for Khava Poli. Kind of kulcha stuffed with khava,( often called Mava in Hindi) roasted with sugar. Its Sweet, soft and delicious. Loads of pure ghee on it makes it simply irresistible. Cant ask for any more. May be a bill.
Bill too isn’t so harsh on pocket and you might come out thinking, At Nisarg all is well…