Dishes that appear simple but have a distinct flavor are what make up a typical Bagheli thali. The royal cuisine of Rewa is distinguished by the fusion of Rajputana, Gujarati, and Afghani influences. Bagheli Chicken is filled with whole spices, also known as khada masala.
Madhya Pradesh, also known as the "Heart of India," is a state known for its rich culture and diverse culinary traditions. The state is home to three main culinary regions: Malwa, Nimar, and Bagelkhand, each with its own unique and distinctive flavors.
History of Madhya Pradesh Cuisine
The history of Madhya Pradesh cuisine can be traced back to ancient times and has been influenced by various cultures and civilizations over the centuries.
The state was ruled by several dynasties, including the Mauryas, Guptas, and Rajputs, and each of these dynasties has left its mark on the state's cuisine. The Mauryas, for example, are known to have introduced a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to the region, while the Guptas are credited with introducing the use of various spices and herbs in cooking.
During the time of the Mughals, Islamic culture and food made their way into Madhya Pradesh. This led to the use of meat and rich, flavorful spices in cooking.
The Rajputs, who ruled in the region for a long time, are known for their non-vegetarian dishes and their use of ghee in cooking. They also introduced the concept of "dastarkhwan," or a royal spread, which is still very much a part of Madhya Pradesh's food culture.
Madhya Pradesh has three different regions with their own specialties and flavors. These regions are Malwa, Nimar, and Bagelkhand.
Exploring the delicious cuisine of Malwa
The Malwa region, located in the western part of the state, is known for its simple yet delicious cuisine. Milk and dairy products made with milk abound in the major cities of Gwalior and Indore. Malwa draws its culinary influences from the nearby states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.
Since the country's Green Revolution, wheat has replaced jowar as India's most important food crop, and many people in the country now eat vegetarian meals. Due to the dry climate, fresh food is scarce, so pulses and dried beans are the main sources of nutrition.
Dal bafla, a dish made of black chickpeas, potatoes, and spices, is a regional favorite. Served with dal and doused in luscious ghee, these wheat dough balls (baflas) are fried and served alongside. Kheema, kadhi, and biryani are also common dishes in Malwa. The tongue-tingling heat of the chutney is mitigated by the sweet ladoos that follow.
The central Madhya Pradesh regions of Malwa and Indore regularly eat poha (flattened rice) for breakfast, and it is commonly served with jalebi.
Bhutta rikees, a popular Malwai snack, are made by roasting grated corn in ghee and then cooking it in milk with spices.
In the case of Chakki ki Shak, the origins of its flavors and preparation methods can be traced back to the Indian state of Rajasthan. The dish starts with steamed dough, which is then combined with a gravy made from a wide range of Indian spices. The finished product is then topped with a dollop of yogurt and served.
Discovering Nimar's Flavors
South of the Vindhya Range is the Nimar region, which consists of the Narmada and Tapti river valleys on either side of the Satpura Mountains. The Nimar region, located in the northwestern part of the state, is known for its spicy and flavorful cuisine.
Nimar cuisine, which was greatly influenced by Mughlai cooking, features a variety of flavorful dishes that attest to the region's flourishing culture. Jowar ki roti andamadi ki bhaji, or sorghum chapati and roselle (a type of Hibiscus) leaf curry, are staples of traditional Nimar cuisine.
The Nimar culinary tradition also includes a popular dessert called lavanglata, which is widely enjoyed in Madhya Pradesh. Before being fried and served in a sugar syrup, these pastries have a wheat flour coating and a filling of dried fruits, grated coconut, raisins, and spices like cardamom and cloves.
Like jalebi, mawabati is battered with mawa or khoya and then deep-fried in extremely hot oil. The batter also contains a small amount of arrowroot (starch extracted from root stock). The final product is brown in color and has the consistency and density of a gulab jamun, but it looks like a regular jalebi.
Exploring Bagelkhand's Flavors
The Bagelkhand region, located in the northeastern part of the state, is known for its rustic and hearty cuisine and is heavily influenced by both the region's natural features and its historical rulers' individual tastes.
Kodu Til Ka Baat(rice with black sesame)andBhundeli Gosht (mutton curry cooked in a clay pot) are just a few examples of the Mughal, Rajput, and tribal influences on the region's delicious cuisine.
Dishes that appear simple but have a distinct flavor are what make up a typical Bagheli thali. The royal cuisine of Rewa is distinguished by the fusion of Rajputana, Gujarati, and Afghani influences. Bagheli Chicken is filled with whole spices, also known as khada masala. The spices are roasted in a dry oven and then ground into a powder. This is used as a marinade before a slow oven cooks the chicken.
Further south, in Jabalpur, towards the state's eastern corner, you will find the best Palak Puri. It is delicious when paired with aloo sabzi and raita. Wheat dough is mixed with ground spinach leaves and some spices to make Palak Puri.
Popular Sweets of Madhya Pradesh
Thulli, a variation on the Indian sweet halwa, is prepared by mixing together shards of wheat. The fennel seeds, saffron, and cardamom in this halwa are what really make it shine. This is a treat that is often prepared and served during holidays and celebrations, and it goes well with milk or yoghurt.
Traditional desserts include items such as khoprapak, a coconut-based sweet, and shreekhand, a yogurt-based sweet.
Sweets like the pancake-like malpua (made with flour, sugar, and cardamom) and the deep-fried dough ball (gulab jamun) served in a sugar syrup are also common in Madhya Pradesh. A dollop of ice cream or rabri is a common accompaniment to these dishes.
Madhya Pradesh is a food lover's paradise with its unique and flavorful cuisine. From the simple and wholesome meals of Malwa to the spicy and flavorful dishes of Nimar to the rustic and hearty meals of Bagelkhand, Madhya Pradesh's food culture is diverse and rich, and it continues to evolve and adapt to new influences.