Welcome to the "Foodies
city – Indore" or "Abode of Gourmets - Indore"
We would have loved to
see such welcome board while entering Indore during our Great Central India Road Trip. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any.
But that didn’t reduce our enthusiasm for culinary adventure in the Holkar
One of memories of my stay in MHOW in 86 was the delicious and sinful Kulfi an old man
used to bring to our barracks on his Lamby immediately after we returned from
lunch. I am not sure if he is still alive or if his family still continue in that
business. Entering Indore kindled my memories of roaming around in Rajwada/Sarafa snapping
up gol guppas, tikkis etc.
We both believe in "eating local” wherever we go. We love local cuisine and believe that it does not
make sense to eat Masale Dose in Delhi but Paratha in Paratha Wale galli. We
had done some research on what was to expect on our plate in Indore – unfortunately we had only one evening – and
wanted to make best us of our time. Sarafa Bazar and its mouth watering chats, was
to be our destination for the evening.
We checked into the hotel, freshened up and got into an auto rickshaw. I don’t want to take out the Scorpio after seeing the traffic
and also for the fact that Sarafa bazaar has narrow lanes which will not help
either. Also, driving in city by asking locals for directions
is a painful exercise.
The hotel security got us a rick and our
journey to “Gourmet land of Indore” starts.
We had already
prepared the list to savour while in Indore.
patties at Vijay Chaat
- Bhutte ki
- Gulab Jamuns
- Yam chaat
- Poha –
- Egg banjo
A short drive
from the Lemon Tree hotel brings us to Sarafa Bazar. It is 8 PM. Eateries are getting set up. The legendary food streets
of Sarafa Bazar become alive after 8.30 PM when eateries are set up on the road
after the jewelry shops are closed. These eateries continue till wee hours in the morning.
To give a perspective, this possibly rivals Paratha Wala gulli and surroundings
in Old Delhi.
|The evening scene in Sarafa Bazar|
The variety on the plate is mind-blowing – all
kinds of chaats, kachoris, dahi vada, hot jalebis, Gulab jamuns, malpuas etc
etc….. But there is already action and the aroma of kachoris is inviting. I
look at my list and see Vijay Chaats in the Chouraha of Sarafa bazaar. Our
journey begins here.
|Vijay Chaat House|
I ask the cook who is
frying a small ball sized item. It is deep fired like “Pakodas”. He says it is
“Coconut patties”. Yes! This was the one we wanted. We ask for two plates of
patties. Served in leaf bowls with
mirchi and sweet chutney, it melts in your mouth. Brinda wants another plate
and I go in for hot kachoris. The kachoris are crisp and taste good with
We strike conversation
with Vijay Sharma standing next to us, He is an Indori but who has business
interests in Bangalore. He travels to Bangalore every month and loves Masale Dosey
in Udupi Krishna Bhavan in Balepet. We tell him what we are after. He asks us
to try Dahi vada at “Joshi Dahi vada” which is possibly the best. This is the
season of Bhutta, the fresh corn. Indore is famous for Bhutte Ki Kees and Vijay
ask us to taste it in Joshi Dahi vada. This is the intelligence we gather from
locals which could not be found in our research or on “Highway on Plate” book.
Thanks to Vijay, lest we would have missed out the famous Dahi Vadas of Indore.
Joshi dahi Vada is few
steps away from Vijay chaats. We walk down the road and see eateries being set
up. We notice a halwai and ask what halwa is in kadai. He answers “Moong
dal” and we order a serving! Prepared
in “Desi ghee”, it is sinful.
|Moong Dal halwa flanked by Rabdi on the left and Gulab Jamuns on the right|
|Another busy stall|
We reach Joshi dahi
vada and Joshi saab is sitting in the middle and distributing dahi vada like an
assembly line. There is already a crowd. We tell him that we are from Bangalore.
He welcomes us in Kannada! I am surprised and ask him how does he Kannada and he says he has picked few words from friends.
He explains why his
“Dahi vada” is not like others. The vada is not oily, soaked in water and dahi
is really thick. To top it all he has a secret Masala powder which he sprinkles
on the vada adding to the taste. He throws the dahi vada bowl in air to prove
how thick the dahi is and ask us to watch if there is any dahi spills over.
We don’t notice any. He
gives us two plates of Dahi vada and it is delicious. It is also very filling.
We then ask for Bhutta Ki Kees and finish off that as well. This is the first
time we are eating it and it tastes good. The sweetness of fresh corn mixed
with mirchi and lemon gives a sort of Katta – Meeta taste which leaving a tangy feeling in the mouth. We bid good bye to Joshi saab – an amiable and talkative
man –who will gift us a packet of his secret Masala to be carried back home!!
|Joshi Dahi Vada stall|
|Joshi saab demonstrating|
We are now on the lookout
for the famous Shikanji of Nagori sweets . We meet the owners of the stall and
they say that this is not the season for Shikanji and is prepared in Summers.
Bad luck. We gulp couple of Gulab jamuns and jalebis on the way and now on the lookout
for famous “Ghamandi Lassi” of Indore. We check with people around and they
suggest us to go to the outlet near railway station. We catch an auto and move
towards railway station and there we are in front of the famous shop. The menu
is varied but we settle for special Lassi.
|The famous Ghamandi Lassi|
The Lassi is served – thick with
malai. The quantity is huge and Brinda could drink only half.
“What next ?” I ask
“I am full, let us go
back to Hotel”
“What about Egg Banjo
and Badam milk”
“No space baba, let us
“Let us try “Poha
–Jalebi” for breakfast tomorrow”
We don’t do justice to
We don’t have time to go to “Chappan Dukan” another foodie area. We may
have to come back for completing the unfinished task. I am not sure how
famous is Indore for Non veg items. Being veggies, we did not explore on this.
For veggies and lovers of chaats, Indore is THE CITY.