Madhya Pradesh located in the heart of India will surely steal your heart with its delectable cuisine that has a Mughal and regional influence. In addition, the street food culture of Bhopal and some of the other cities is vibrant and a sensory explosion. Here is a list of some of the must-have foods in Madhya Pradesh that will tingle your tastebuds for sure.
Jalebi and its larger sibling Imarti are made with maida/refined flour and then deep-fried after which they’re dunked in sugar syrup. Just as the Gujaratis like to eat Jalebi with Fafda in Bhopal they like to eat Jalebi with poha. These sweet and crunchy pretzels are hard to resist especially if you are calorie-conscious.
This is a breakfast special which is almost always eaten with jalebi. Flattened rice is cooked with onions, peanuts and spices and garnished with sev, pomegranate and chopped tomato, coriander. You will find Jalebi Poha shops and carts in almost every corner and street of Bhopal.
Making Biryani that is flavourful, aromatic and where the identity of the rice grain is maintained requires skill which the locals of Madhya Pradesh have mastered. Pieces of red meat and sometimes chicken are marinated in yoghurt, spices, saffron and then a layer of precooked rice is put over the meat. The dish is then put on a low flame (dum) so that the flavours from the meat are gradually released as the meat is cooked. It’s best eaten with your hands and you’re sure to lick your fingers after finishing the last morsel.
If you like your meat succulent and tender and well marinated, then the kebabs are a must-have. From seekh to shammi to nargesi to reshmi the Nawabs of Bhopal relished them all and so do the Bhopalis. The minced meat is marinated with aromatic spices and then depending on the recipe are barbecued in a tandoor on skewers or shallow fried. Onion rings, lemon and slivers and mint chutney make for the perfect accompaniments to savour these melt in your mouth kebabs.
The counterpart of Maharashtra’s Karanji is the Ghujiya of Madhya Pradesh. These crescent-shaped dumplings have an outer crisp layer made of maida/refined flour, rava/semolina and are stuffed with a medley of coconut, dry fruit, and sugar. Often the ghujiya after deep frying is dipped in sugar syrup. You will see these sweet temptations being sold on roadside carts along with other snacks and sweets.
Some of the other foods you can try in Madhya Pradesh are the assorted namkeens like the sev from Ratlam. If you like gravies then do relish the rogan josh and kormas which are best eaten with naan. Bhutte ki Kees is made with grated fresh corn, coconut and spices. If you are a fan of Rajasthan’s Daal Baati then you must try the Daal Bafla in Madhya Pradesh. Don’t forget to end your meal with the Bhopali Paan which will not only aid digestion but also redden your lips.