The love affair between Madhya Pradesh and food is one that has lasted for decades. Placed smack in the centre of the country, the food habits in this state are varied, unique and memorable. This is mainly due to the fact that over the years, migration, wars and empires have left an indelible mark on the eating traditions of the state.
So whether it is the poha that is influenced from Maharashtra or Nawabi cuisine of Bhopal that is inspired from Lucknow, there are innumerable food outlets here, some of which stay open all day and night, fuelling and satiating the appetite of the city. Here are 10 dishes that deserve a definite place on your plate, next time you visit this state.
A popular breakfast delicacy even in North India (even the entire country), there are many variations of poha that are consumed in different parts of the country. In Madhya Pradesh however, a lot of locals serve tangy poha along with namkeen, jalebi and Bhopali sulaimani chai, a breakfast combination that is truly unmissable. Some places that serve this dish in Bhopal include swaad bhandar on Itwara road and Raju tea stall near Peer Gate.
Made with grated corn (keesna means to ‘grate’), roasted in ghee and cooked in milk with spices, bhuttey ke kees is a unique speciality of Madhya Pradesh. Although, it is really popular in Indore, it is now available in almost every corner of the state. Joshi Dahi Bada House in Safara bazaar, Indore is the place to have it.
Bhopali Ghosht Korma
Madhya Pradesh has had a great influence of Mughlai cuisine and this is truly reflected in the Bhopali Ghosht korma. An integral part of the Nawabi cuisine, it is made by cooking mutton chunks slowly in rich spicy gravy. Typically eaten with rice or roti, the mutton literally melts in your mouth. Each ingredient is the hero and Chatori Gali in Bhopal is the best place to try this incredible dish.
A wooden serving dish filled with lamb curry and rootis, a heartwarming and fragrant traditionally Indian meal. This is a Persian originated lamb dish. Filfora restaurant in Bhopal serves the best spice enriched Rogan Josh. This restaurant also offers dishes like Murgh rezala and keccha kebab.
Every state has their own way of preparing a biryani. In the biryani pilaf served in Bhopal, mutton is the main ingredient, though there are many places that also make chicken pilaf as well. Served with a lot of dry fruits like pistachios, cashews and raisins, this is one dish that is high on both flavour, taste and spice. The rice is prepared or rather boiled with milk and sugar, giving it a totally unique twist. Chatori Gali is the place where you enjoy this dish.
Deliciously soft, yet crisp at the same time, with a tangy lingering spice, kebabs are a fine mixture of tender lamb mince that are further enhanced by roasted spices and seasonings. In Bhopal, kebabs are slow cooked in an open oven to add the final finishing touches and serve as great appetizers. We recommend you start with a double order.
Fried Dhokla is a specialty of MP. While everyone loves khaman (or dokhla as it is known), in western Madhya Pradesh, another version of the dish is also popular where it is fried and sprinkled with chaat masala. So, while the regular dhokla is generally made from besan, in MP the fried version is made from chana dal, as it is firmer and can be deep fried in a simpler manner.
Mawa Baati is similar to a stuffed gulab jamun, the mawa-based dough is filled with mawa, dry fruits and nuts, deep-fried till brown and lightly soaked in sugar syrup. Sometimes, it is dusted with desiccated coconut powder. There are a lot of stalls in old Bhopal that serve this dish along with other sweets like Malpua, Kopra Pak, and Imarti.
A local favourite throughout MP, namkeen is enjoyed in almost every corner of the state. However sev is one form of namkeen that remains a constant favourite among the locals. A savoury noodle-shaped snack made from chickpea flour paste, sev is seasoned with spices, sieved and deep-fried in oil. It is of varied thickness and is consumed as a stand-alone snack or as a garnish on poha, mixtures or chaats like bhel puri and sev puri. Each region has its flavour variants–from Ratlami sev to finer Ujjaini sev.
Indulge in Ajab Bhopal’s Gazab food experience
Occupying a place of pride in the heart of incredible India, Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh is also famously known as the city of lakes. Founded by Raja Bhoj, the original name of the city was then Bhojpal. Bhopal later came into prominence when Dost Mohammad Khan, an Aghan soldier in the Mughal Army usurped the kingdom from Gond queen Rani Kamlapati after her death and built Fatehgarh fort here.
Not just rich in history and culture, the food offered in city of lakes is a real delight. The city is known for its modern metropolitan development, historic culture, exquisiteness and above all availability of a large variety of lip-smacking cuisine. The food speaks volumes of the ethnic culture that is vibrant here. Famous for its meat dishes – the curries and kebabs are the most acknowledged and preferred dishes here.
While Bhopali cuisine has many vegetarian dishes, the highlight of the culinary culture here in the city is the wide variety of meat delicacies that have been mastered through the centuries.
Bhopal’s cuisine has a strong Muslim influence as well as adaptations from the Marwari culinary culture. Non-vegetarian lovers can have a gala treat in the city of lakes with rich food prepared in an array of spices and seasonings.
Do not miss the mutton dish Achari gosht to experience the royal nature of the city. Old city area of Bhopal offers traditional Muslim dishes such as Paya soup, Bun Kebab, Nalli Nihari etc. Do not leave the city of lakes without having the exotic Bhopali Paan, believed to aid digestion after the heavy treats.
A special mention here are the locals who exude warmth and that is what makes the city charming and appealing at all levels. Here’s presenting to you some of the best places in Bhopal where you can satisfy your hunger pangs not just with the street food but also some of the authentic cuisines that will delight your foodie soul.
Places to visit in Bhopal
The entire old city area can offer you some amazing varieties of snacks. The city of lakes wakes up slow but as the shops open till 7am, the old city area will not disappoint you to have stomach filling breakfast.
Poha- Jalebi: You can start your day with tempting Poha-Jalebi combination. If you are someone who loves to gorge on something sweet, then you can even opt for Rabdi-Jalebi combination that will keep you going until your lunch time. Once you are done with having light snacks you can then head to sipping on ‘Sulemani Chai’, a tea which is sweet and salty served with dollops of cream!
For Heavy meals (lunch and dinner):
For a fuller meal at lunch (or dinner) Hakeem’s, Bapu ki kutiya are places one can head to. Mecca for the non-vegetarians, Hakeem hotel serves delicious non-vegetarian delicacies throughout its multiple outlets in Bhopal. The aromatic gravies, the tikkas and kebabs here are among the best in the city. Order anything on the menu and be assured of delight in every bite. Head to either Tatya Tope Nagar (TT Nagar) or Maharana Pratap Nagar (MP Nagar) for a hearty meal at Hakeem. If you’re looking for a more upmarket, ambience-laden experience Jehan Numah Palace or Noor us Sabah are popular restaurants for authentic Mughal, Italian and continental dishes.
There’s more for vegetarians too:
Sagar Gaire: An outlet to head for some vegetarian delights is Sagar Gaire at 7 no stop. If you crave for soup, sandwiches, cold coffee, pasta or even south Indian then this can turn out to be a one stop solution for you.
New Market: This is the place where you can gorge on a plate full of Chole Bhature. Other than getting an amazing shopping experience this place is worth visiting for a yummylicious chole Bhature. The gravy served with Chole will leave you asking for more.
Shahpura: The entire stretch at Shahpura tuns into foodie’s heaven during evening. At Shahpura you can have the street food experience with stalls offering some amazing snacks. You can also spot food trucks selling mouthwatering snacks to stratify your cravings for something spicy.
As evening falls, Manohar Dairy and Restaurant (Hamidia Road or MP Nagar) is a good choice for its chaats, light snacks and sweet dishes.
With dusk an interesting part of Bhopal beckons. Among twinkling lights from street-side stalls and wafting aromas of sizzling kebabs, Bhopal’s nawabi cuisines come alive in old city.
Bhopali Paan To top it all, there is yet another famous Bhopali Paan which is relished by the locals and visitors alike. This special paan has wide ranging toppings which vary from distinct types of