Decoding The Royal Malwa Cuisine Of Madhya Pradesh
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The Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh is a treasure of culinary delights that reflect its unique heritage of M.P. Once home to mighty empires, Malwa's royal kitchens perfected delicacies fit for kings using the finest ingredients. The fare is rich and complex, with aromatic spices, creamy curries, and elaborate biryanis cooked in earthen pots.  

Rashmi Mehta, SHO Tribal Department, Satpura, MP, says, “In Malwa, every meal narrates a new tale, blending nostalgia with novelty. It is a journey as much into the past as into the culinary soul of a culturally rich land. So come and allow your tastebuds to discover the incredible flavours of this heartland.” 

A Flavourful Journey Of Malwa Cuisine 

The Malwa region of central India is renowned for its royal cuisine, which blends flavours from the neighbouring states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan. Mehta says, “While millet was traditionally the grain of choice, wheat became more frequent after the Green Revolution, allowing for a diverse array of breads and dishes.” Further she adds “one standard Malwa specialty is Bhutte ka Kees, a delicious preparation of grated corn sautéed in ghee, milk, and aromatic spices. The region is also known for other tasty vegetarian fare like Poha (flattened rice), Jalebi (sweet fried batter), Dal Bafla (lentils and wheat balls), and Sabudana Khichdi (sago pudding). Non-vegetarian delicacies include Murgi survedar and Chakki Ki Shak.”  

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Street Food Extravaganza in Malwa Region 

For street food enthusiasts, Indore is a haven that beckons with its streets adorned with flavours. Begin your culinary journey with a visit to Chappan Dukan, a culinary paradise boasting 56 stalls that with local namkeens, Garadu ki Chaat (sweet potatoes deep-fried or baked, then sprinkled with a hot and tangy spice mix), Johny's Hotdogs, and much more to make you fall in love with the local delicacies of Indore. 

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As the sun sets, Sarafa Market, a jewellery market in the daytime, becomes a haven for food lovers at night, offering a variety of feasts like flying Dahi Bade, Sabudana Khichdi, Khopra Patties, and regional sweets like Khopra Pak, Malpua, Jalebi-Rabdi, and Imarti. These culinary delights aren't confined to Indore; you can savour them in the corners of Ujjain, Khandwa, Bhopal, and beyond. 

Vegetarian Delights of Malwa Cuisine 

Indori Poha 

The iconic Indori Poha, a breakfast delicacy synonymous with Indore, incorporates a hint of sugar and is generously topped with jeerawan, a spicy and tangy powder. Unlike the Maharashtrian version, onions play a more subtle role. 

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Dal Bafla 

Bafla is a boiled and baked hard wheat-based bread served with zesty dal. A variant of the popular Rajasthani cuisine dish Dal Baati.  

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Bhutte ka kees 

A famous street food from Indore made of grated corn, milk and a few essential spices. The extensive use of ghee and mawa is notable across the region, such as in bhutte ka kees - grated corn roasted in ghee and cooked in milk with spices. 

Indrahar ki dal 

A lost recipe from Rewa, steamed lentil cakes called Indrahar are made from four dals before being added to kadhi. 

Non - Vegetarian Delights of Malwa Cuisine 

Murgi Survedar 

Richard Holkar, son of the Maharaja of Indore, co-authored 'The Cooking of the Maharajas' in 1975, a nostalgic exploration of royal culinary techniques using exact measurements. Unique dishes like murgi survedar made with almond, cashew, poppy seeds, and coconut milk reflected the influence of local produce on royal menus. Dry fruits, saffron, cloves, cinnamon and other spices were intrinsic ingredients in the elaborate gastronomic history of the royals. 

Goolar Kebab 

The goolar kebab is an interesting and unique dish. The base of the kebab is a mixture of minced meat and aromatic spices, formed into balls around a stuffing of chopped onions. The balls are then rolled in poppy seeds. These meatballs are made using goolar, also known as wild figs, which have a soft and yielding flesh on the inside that complements the crispy outside. When tasted, the goolar kebab provides a delightful contrast of textures and flavours - the savoury, tender meat and onions wrapped in a crispy, nutty poppy seed crust.  

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A Sweet Symphony Of Malwa Cuisine 

Indori Shikanji 

Shahi Shikanji, a thick and sweet milkshake, stands out as a signature drink representing the city's profound love for sweets. Slow cooked for hours with saffron, cardamom, mace, nutmeg, raisins, yoghurt, and milk, this legendary beverage is a harmonious blend of flavours that captivates the senses.  

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Gosht Halwa 

This rich and decadent halwa is a slow-cooked dessert soaked in clarified butter and scented with saffron and cardamom. The dish is made by pounding lamb meat and then simmering it in milk, condensed milk, sugar, and aromatic spices. As the milk reduces, the halwa thickens to a velvety texture. Just before serving, the halwa is garnished with chopped nuts and delicate silver leaf that lend an air of luxury. This lamb halwa is truly a sinful yet sublime treat.