Madhya Pradesh’s business capital, it might as well be called the food capital too. Indore’s street food is a much-discussed and drooled over topic in foodie circles. It is not unusual to find foodies heading to this city for the delicious local food on offer, most of which comes to life after 8:30 PM at night. From a night street food market at Sarafa to Chappan, a string of 56 shops serving crispy jalebis and soft poha for breakfast, Indore has a lot to offer for the gastronomically inclined. Read on!
Where to go
Perhaps the most celebrated foodie landmark of the city of Indore, Sarafa Bazaar is a must-visit. For a place which opens after 9 PM, the crowd is unbelievable. But one look at the goodies on offer and it’s easy to understand why it is placed on a high foodie pedestal. The tick off list for Sarafa must include dishes such as Garadu, Khopra Pattice, Batla Kachori, Bhutte ki kees and the best of north-indian sweets such as malpua, moong daal halwa, rabri, kulfi, kesariya doodh and gulab jamun. Do not mis Joshi ke dahi bade (since 1977), Nagori ki chikanji, Rajhans ka daal bafla before closing the night’s gluttony with Anna ka paan.
At some time, this market consisted of 56 shops which is where the word chappan comes from. A must-visit for the legendary poha jalebi breakfast that is an integral part of Indore’s food culture. Vijay’s chaat (khopra patties), Young Tarang’s poha-jalebi and the good old Indian expresso coffee is a must try here.
Well known for its decades-old chaat joints serving sinfully delicious chaat. Most popular: Sri Shiv Chat, Sundaram, Geleda chaat.
Sitla Mata Bazar
A clothing market located just beside a famous temple which transforms into a night chaat lane after 9 P.M. when all the general shops are replaced by chat outlets.
Other popular joints:
Nakhrali Dhani & Chokhi Dhani for Rajasthani food
Kothari Market / Madhuram (Chappan dukan) for shikanji (a dry-fruit version of the usual lemon drink)
Ghamandi Lassi (Sarvate) for lassi
Apna Sweets for daal bafla
Prashant’s for sabudana khichdi and pyaaz kachori
Rambabu ke parathe (near Vijay Nagar)
Guru Krupa for north indian food
What to eat
0. All types of decadent, irresistible sweets
Malpua, gulab jamun (also known as maava bati in Indore), jalebis, rabri, moong dal halwa, kulfi falooda … this is one long list that’s bound to ensure bliss (and a slight increase in girth) by the end of a round of gorging. Don’t miss these craving-inducing delights for anything.
Indori poha (flattened rice) is a specialty that is served with a mountain of sev and pomegranate seeds as breakfast, along with jalebi. The jalebi in Indore is also a lighter version of the one available in Delhi, sans the colour and essence and made with a lighter sugar syrup. The poha-jalebi combination is unique to Indore and many shops in Chappan Dukan (a row of 56 shops) in New Palasia serve it early in the morning. Young Tarang, a shop at the end of the market is especially popular with the college crowd.
Given Indore’s proximity to Rajasthan, some of it’s cuisine is quite similar to the marwari cuisine. Dal Bafle is a close cousin of the Rajasthani dal baati churma. The Bafla is a oven baked ball made with wheat and semolina. It is crushed and dipped in ghee before being served. A light dal, churma (a powdered sweet), ladoos (made of rava or semolina), coriander-mint chutney and mango pickle are what accompany the bafla.
3.Bhutte Ka Kees
Bhutte ki kees is an Indori delicacy, made with grated corn that is roasted in ghee, mixed with mild spices and garnished with coriander leaves and lemon juice before serving.
Kachoris are round dough balls stuffed with potatoes, onion, daal and served with coriander/mint chutney and sweet tamarind chutney. Best had at Vijay’s outlet at Chappan chowk.
Another popular local favourite, made of soaked tapioca. Especially eaten during festivals and fasting. Saawariya and Prashant’s shops are famous for their sabudana khichdi.
Deep-fried, savoury doughnuts dunked in curd till they become soft enough to melt in the mouth. Best sampled at Joshiji ke dahivade at Sarafa.
Khopra Patties or Aloo Patties are potato balls, filled with coconut and deep fried. Vijay Chaat Bhandaar in Chappan is especially known for these.
Garadu is a root that is cut into cubes, deep-fried, almost doused in lemon juice and served with a garnish of fresh coriander leaves and a special chat masala. This is an Indori specialty – unlikely to be found elsewhere.
A rich gravy made with cashew paste, roasted onions and tomato puree which are combined with whole spices such as cloves and cinnamon, Kaju Curry is quite irresistible. Tastes best when combined with naan or tandoori rotis.
10.Moong Dal ki pakori
Moong dal is soaked and ground along with mild spices, before being released as bite-sized balls into a pan of hot oil. The resultant pakodis are served with a fresh coriander-mint chutney. Perfect for an evening snack coupled with tea in an earthen kulhad.
Indore’s large variety of namkeens are almost as famous as the local food. Hing (asafoetida) sev and Laung (clove) sev are especially popular.
12.Bina Tala Samosa
Indore is famous for its own version of samosas that are baked rather than fried.
Mildly spiced, mashed potatoes are rolled into a ball, stuffed with a filling of daal, and then pan-fried. This aloo tikki is topped with curd and chutneys to make one of the most craving-worthy snacks that’s served across most cities in the north of India.
Another common north-Indian chat item, papdi chaat is quite famous in Indore too. Crispy flour disks called papdis are combined with potatoes and chutneys to make a delectable dish.