An exciting preparation, a unique cultural feature and a delicious treat: the popti party!
It is party time! Popti Party!
Popti is a winter delicacy from North Konkan (Maharashtra, India). What sets this dish apart is the fascinating manner in which it is cooked, which is in an inverted clay pot... inside a pit in the ground!
A clay pot is first lined with banana leaves and bhamburdi leaves (a herb that has high water content).
Placed inside are seasonal vegetables like:
val papdi / वाल पापडी (broad beans),
vangi / वांगी (brinjal),
shevaga/ शेवगा (drumsticks),
ola khobra ओलं खोबरं (grated coconut)
kothimbeer कोथिंबीर (coriander)
- along with with various tubers like batate / बटाटे (potato),
ratale / रताळं (sweet potato),
suran सुरण (yam)
konphal कोनफळ (purple yam)
They are rubbed with seasoning and mixed together in the pot. As you can guess, this is a dish that celebrates the fresh harvest! Soaked and seasoned peanuts are tied in banana leaves and added to the mixture. The pot is topped up with some more banana and bhamburdi leaves and then sealed with banana leaves.
Meanwhile, a pit in the ground is prepared and filled with some grass and wood. The sealed pot is placed inside and the wood is set on fire. The mixture is allowed to cook for around an hour.
The open fire and the bhamburdi juice bring a wonderful flavour to the popti. For those who like non-vegetarian meals, this dish can also be prepared with eggs, chicken and mutton. The dish works just as well as a winter campfire dish.
Around the end of November, people start getting invites to the upcoming Popti parties and events, and everyone looks forward to them with enthusiasm! Understandably it is a much-loved winter special in Maharashtra.