Thursday, June 21, 2012

Search for Mughlai food in Vegetarian Land: Indore Travelogue-Part III

Think of Indore and the thought that comes to mind is 'poha' and 'sev'.

People from Malwa are known for even preparing curry of 'sev' for their meals.

No doubt, Indore is known as a City of vegetarian delicacies. But it does have a culture of authentic Mughlai food as well.

Of course, the die-hard non-vegetarians may not find the kebabs and koftas with as much ease, but the city has certain wonderful eateries for non-vegetarians also.

Due to the strong vegetarian influence, there is no slaughter of buffalo in this region of Madhya Pradesh. Hence the cheap 'bada' [baraa] meat is not available here, which is a problem for poor sections. However, there are some nice hotels including sophisticated non-veg restaurants where you get the Indori mutton and chicken dishes.

Ratlami 'sev' are famous in Malwa
The visit to Hotel Madani Darbar was an experience. I asked for their specialty and the reply was, 'Saalan wala ya rookha'. In the end, I settled for the basic mutton grevy and biryani.

The biryani was superb. Not the kind one gets in UP or even in Bhopal. The grevy was also nice. I was told that Nafees Hotel has certain good dishes like Mutton Angara.

But I couldn't get time to visit the hotel during this tour. I was invited for the famous Bohra Biryani at a house but once again I couldn't make it due to the tight schedule. Some other good eateries are in Ranipura and Bombay Bazar.

Veggies can of course have endless places to go. The 'Chhappan Dukaans' [56] shops near Rajwada are well-known. But sev [termed as senv here] are stuffed into everything, even the famous Indori patties, which are a favourite among lot of people.

Indore's proximity with Gujarat and Rajasthan, and the influence of trading communities, is reason for the image that the town has. Even in hotels and guest houses, it is common to see the message that 'please don't bring non-vegetarian food in hotel rooms'.

Outsiders may find it strange but then everyplace has its uniqueness. Jains, Maheshwaris and Agarwals have a strong presence in Indore. In fact, Indore figures among the top five districts in terms of Jain population and concentration.

So one can understand the reason for the [shakahari] vegetarian culture here. However, non-vegetarians need not lose heart. The scenario is not as bleak, you can find good non-vegetarian food joints and can eat your heart's content.

The first two parts of my travelogue on Indore:

1. The story of Indore: City of Cricketers, dreamers & dons, mafia & mavericks, rags to riches stories

2. Holkar's Hallmark: Rajwada, the symbol of cultural heritage of Malwa