From the streets of Indore to Delhi

- May 14, 2024
| By : Ahona Sengupta |

The festival has kicked off with Poha Jalebi, the quintessential Indore street food staple, and other local favourites like Bhutte Ka Kees and Johnny Hot Dog

Iconic Dal bafla

Indore, the bustling metropolis of Madhya Pradesh, isn’t just known for its rich cultural heritage and historical landmarks but also for its vibrant street food scene. 

Often hailed as the ‘street food heaven’, Indore boasts a diverse and mouthwatering array of street delicacies that tantalise the taste buds of locals and tourists alike. From savoury snacks to indulgent desserts, the city’s street food offerings reflect its culinary heritage and multicultural influences.

The Edesia restaurant at Crowne Plaza New Delhi-Okhla, in its latest food festival, has undertaken the task of bringing out the Indori flavour to the best of its capacity.

The spread begins with one of the quintessential street foods that define Indore’s gastronomic landscape — Poha Jalebi. A breakfast staple for many Indoreans, Poha Jalebi is a delightful combination of flattened rice (poha) cooked with spices, onions, and peanuts, served alongside crispy, golden jalebis. The contrasting flavours and textures of the items comprising this dish make it a must-try for even those detesting this flattened rice dish.

Poha jalebi

“In Indore, the craze for Poha is such that stalls open at 3am and people start pouring in at 4am onwards. People are rather emotional about their plate of Poha Jalebi. There is a running joke there that Indoris eat Poha Jalebi first and brush their teeth later,” said chef Umesh, who has spent five years of his life in the city, chuckling.

“They give a slight anise flavour that is quite interesting. The dish is usually topped with sev, pomegranate for some crunch and flavour. Jeeravan masala is typically added to Indore style poha,” he added.

A variety of sev

Adjacent to the Poha Jalebi station, is an exhaustive chaat counter with an infinite range of sev, a crunchy fried snack made from chickpea flour. Sev is a ubiquitous ingredient in Indore’s street food and is featured prominently in dishes like Poha and Bhutte Ka Kees.

“People in Indore cannot have enough sev. They need it in every meal and the quality of sev you get there is unmatched. In fact, poha is also topped with Ratlami sev and khatta meetha sev to accentuate the flavours,” said the chef.

Another popular street food that has become synonymous with Indore is the Indori Bhutte Ka Kees. “It can be enjoyed on its own or paired with a piping hot cup of tea,” he said.

Made from grated corn kernels cooked with spices, green chilies, and garnished with coriander leaves, this savoury snack is a favourite among locals.

“We decided to do a food festival on the culinary excellence of Indore because it is unfair that people here are unaware of what it has to offer. It has a variety of flavours, typically different from what you get here up north,” the chef said.

Indori food, which is actually street food, is a combination of local Malwa cuisine and influences from Marwari and Gujarati communities that were settled in the region.

Bhutte ke kees and Sabudana Khichdi

One standout dish is Dal Bafla. Consisting of baked dough balls (bafla) and ghee, it provides a wholesome and satisfying meal.

Alongside snacks is a live counter serving the famous Egg Banjo of Johnny Hot Dog, which is popular for its mutton burgers.

Interestingly, Johnny Hot Dog won the ‘Most Popular Menu Item in Asia Pacific’ in 2019 by Uber Eats.

The Johnny Hot Dog (JHD)—a 120-sq-ft stall in the small city of Indore, is run by a 60-year-old, unassuming man who had stepped on his first international flight to accept the global recognition.

Chaat corner

In addition, the food festival had a variety of mouthwatering treats, including Sabudana Khichdi, Aloo Tikki, Samosa, Kachori.

The restaurant was decked up to duplicate the streets of Indore, especially the Sarafa Bazaar and Chhappan Dukaan that are known for their food.

“Earlier, there were only 56 shops selling street food at the market, hence it got the name Chhappan Dukaan. Now, obviously the number of shops has gone up over 150. Whether you’re exploring the bustling markets of Sarafa Bazaar or strolling through the Chhappan Dukan, you’re sure to encounter an endless array of street food stalls and carts, each offering its own unique take on Indore’s culinary delights,” chef Umesh said.

Keema gosht

Indore’s street food scene is renowned for its chaat offerings, with “Indori Namkeen” being a beloved local favourite. This tangy and spicy snack comprises a mix of savoury ingredients such as sev, peanuts, puffed rice, and fried lentils, tossed together with chopped onions, tomatoes, and green chilies. A generous drizzle of tangy tamarind chutney and spicy green chutney adds the perfect finishing touch to this lip-smacking dish.

In the main course, there was an array of meat and fish dishes that stood out. The subtle flavours of the chicken curry and Keema gosht left a lasting effect on the taste buds. The chicken pulao, which smelt like a biryani, was delicious. “The masalas are the same as biryani, but it is not prepared in the dum method,” the chef said.

Chicken pulao

For those with a sweet tooth, Indore offers an abundance of delectable desserts, with Malpua Rabdi and creamy shrikhand being standout favourites.

The festival will end on May 19.

Patriot was invited by Edesia for a visit, however, this is not a paid piece.