One of India’s greatest treasures is its culinary diversity. Every state and city has its own mix and variation of flavours which is just as legendary as the others. And we all know Indian street food – no matter which state it is from is a foodie’s delight. Now imagine a city, with a culinary palate that is a combination of flavours, cooking traditions and an amalgamation of the food styles of various Indian cities. The result is another city which is a culinary gem – Indore. When here, one can experience flavours of cuisines of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab. That’s something stellar in its own!
Let me be very honest, when I first came here, I had no idea of how creative Indoris were about their food. But after that, I just knew I would keep coming back to this colourful city. People here are remarkably rich epicures. They are passionate about food and it shows in their cooking styles too. Not to forget, Indore has always been very graciously hospitable too. Since then, all my visits here have involved food, work and food again. So, to sum it up, Indore has never failed to charm me with its own little culinary world which is ever-evolving.
This time was nothing less and this city was as fabulous with its food, as it had been earlier. When Alyona and I were told we have to attend the ITA Awards in Indore, we were super excited! Because we knew that along with all the entertainment, there’ll be food – loads of it! She suggested we a little earlier so that we get time for a food trail, once again and enjoy a stroll around the city. This, I thought was an amazing plan, I was tempted!
As soon as we landed, I thought of calling up a friend to find some new places, besides the ones that we always visit for gorging on all the lovely things with our hearts out! We called up a close friend Dr Bharat Agarwal – he is a complete foodie and knows all the delectable nooks and corners of Indore. We were luck, he happened to be in town that day and offered to host us on our much-awaited food journey through the city!
But doctor sahab also had some rules. The rule was, we don’t eat much and just taste everything, so that we can try each and every offering that this beautiful city has.
Come, let me take you on a food-filled ride to Indore:
Poha Jalebi at Chappan Dukan
The name signifies a time when there were 56 ‘chappan’ shops here. It is famous for its poha jalebi, an essential part of Indori breakfast, amidst other popular eats.
The khasta kachoris in Indore are made with a moong dal filling, which makes the taste and aroma enticing, and I can absolutely vouch for this! The aroma was so magnetic, that we had to stop and try these before we could make it to other shops for trying other drool-worthy stuff! Don’t miss out on this one on your trip to Indore.
We took a pit stop at ‘Suresh Namkeen and Sweets’ for a kachori again, this one, flavoured with ‘hing’ (asafoetida). These were just as lovely as their counterpart and a must try again. And this store definitely sells the yummiest ones.
Not to forget our time at the famous Sarafa Bazar. Do you know what’s unique about this place? Here, you will be at one of the markets in India which is a heaven for jewellery in the day time and becomes a bustling street-food place in the night. So, summing up with some of the delicacies that I got to try here:
Butte ki Kees
A dish with its origin in Indore – this is nothing but mashed corn cooked in milk, with ghee and spices, finished with a generous topping of fresh coconut and coriander – a true speciality.
These patties are not your regular ones, but crisp, round ones. Spiced potatoes are stuffed with coconut and fried till golden brown. Best had with green chutney.
One of the highlights of our food trail in Sarafa was our halt at ‘Hotel Rajhans,’ known for its ‘bafla’ – the Indori cousin of the famous Rajasthani ‘dal bati.’ A dal, churma, coriander-mint chutney and mango pickle are the typical accompaniments served with this. Yum!
Dr Agarwal later invited us to his home, where we had authentic Indori poha, paani puri and chips with chutney. Our food run couldn’t have a better end! All in all, Indore was a delicious experience, as always. We were contended and how, and I think that I will never miss a chance to travel again to this clean city, in the future too. Indore is definitely a heaven for foodies!