DO NOT MISS: The Sarafa Bazaar Chowpaty in Indore

Its not everyday that one gets to travel to a city 500 kms away for a night on a whim and hence when I got a chance to do so, I jumped at the opportunity… The purpose of my visit is a story in itself but what I want to share with you all today in this post is about the one thing that you MUST NOT miss if you ever get a chance to visit this up and coming little city called Indore…

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Indore lies in the state of Madhya Pradesh and is well connected (direct flights and frequent trains) with the four major Metropolitan cities of India – Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata… I was however traveling from Pune and hence my journey was not as straightforward as I would have liked it to be… But traveling in a multi-axle Volvo sleeper bus on an overnight (10 hrs) journey has a charm of its own šŸ™‚ We booked our tickets with Raj-Ratan travels that according to various sources (blogs, bus review sites & friends) has the best, the most comfortable, safe and extremely clean buses… And if that wasn’t enough, they have free wifi, extremely cozy beds (single and double), clean bedding and private TV screens…

Only if I did not suffer from extreme motion sickness the journey would have been perfect!

But I digress…

This post is about Food, about the famous Indori (of Indore) food and what better way to start the post than by telling you the most popular (locally popular) way to start one’s day. And that is, sampling the famous Indori breakfast comprising of a combination of Pohe, Jalebi and Chai… Chai is the quintessential breakfast beverage across India… It is what a cappuccino or an Espresso is to an Italian… As far as Pohe is concerned, the extremely healthy dish made out of fluffy rice is pretty popular in the neighboring states of Maharashtra (in the South) as well as Gujarat (in the West) while Jalebi is a staple in the North Indian states… Since Madhya Pradesh lies bang in the middle of it all, it just made sense to combine all of these food items into a single breakfast menu item in Indore!

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Sheer Genius!

Coming back to the point of the post, the Sarafa Bazaar Chowpatty in Indore is a place like nothing else… Behind the beautiful yet crumbing Rajwada palace, the Sarafa Bazaar is a jewellery market during the day that transforms itself into a lane selling Indian fast food albeit all vegetarian by night… The Chowpatty opens for business at around 10:00 pm every night and follows through up until the wee hours (3:00 am)… The lane lights up every night welcoming the bustling crowds, enticing them with an array of local street food and popular sweetmeats…

Its a gastronomical delight that has something for everybody ensuring that no one goes home not satiated…

What Not To Miss

Like I mentioned earlier the food that you get in the Sarafa Bazaar Chowpatty is essentially vegetarian… From a wide variety of Chaats, innumerable flavors of Paani Puri, Fruit Salads, Pulao, Pav Bhaji and the like one is definitely spoiled for choice. However, there are a few items that are typical to Indore that you must not miss sampling when you are here…

Bhutte Ka Khis/Kiss

This is a must have because I have not ever eaten this particular item anywhere else in the country. It is unique to Indore and extremely delicious irrespective of the fact that you like or dislike corn… Made of boiled bhutta (corn), shredded to smithereens and cooked in coconut milk with heengh (asafoetida) and other spices, it melts in your mouth and can be very filling… The fact that it is a favorite of those who love corn and of those who don’t makes it a clear winner at the Sarafa Bazaar Chowpatty…

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Garadu

A local form of yam, Garadu is fried to perfection, topped with a squirt of lemon and a dash of tangy spices… It is delicious but what struck me about this yummy preparation was the fact that it was comforting and warming in more ways than one… The texture, the taste, everything gave me a sense of deja vu and Garadu is one dish that I am surely coming back to Indore for…

10 paani waala Paani Puri

I love Paani Puri (all Indians inherently do). I love it so much that I am a fan of it in all forms… Be it the Mumbaiya Paani Puri, the Dilli waale Golgappe or the Kolkata ka Phuchka, I love them without bias, all I need is to have them served with chilled Paani. So when I visited the first paani puri stall at the Chowpatty, I almost died and went to paani puri heaven because they did not serve one or two flavours but actually served you 10 very distinctive flavoured paani (water)… OMG! From heengh (asafoetida) to lassun (garlic) to adrak (ginger) to khatta meetha (sweet and sour) to regular to I don’t remember what all, every puri that went into my mouth pushed me one step closer to Nirvana…

Khopra Patties

Boiled potato balls, stuffed with Khopra (desiccated coconut), deep fried and served with sweet and sour imli ki chutney (tamarind chutney) is another item that you must not miss simply because it is not available in any other part of the country… They are served hot and are recommended to be consumed hot…

Simply delicious!

Malpua and Rabri

For those with a sweet tooth, your first dessert in the Sarafa Bazaar Chowpatty has to be Malpua and RabriMalpua is like a mini pancake made of flour and khoya (milk solids), deep fired and dunked in sugar syrup… They can be eaten on their own but their true decadence is experienced only when they are paired with Rabri. Rabri is spiced, sweet, condensed milk topped with nuts and dry fruits…

I am personally not a fan of either but I ate a whole plate of Malpua and Rabri on my own in Indore… It was indescribably delectable!

Jaleba (Gigantic Jalebis)

Jalebis are my favorite North Indian sweet after moti-choor ke laddu and Pinni. However, the Jaleba that I witnessed at the chowpatty was something so different and so alien to me that it took me a full couple of minutes to come to terms with what I held in my hands… They are Jalebis but humongous in size, so much so that one jaleba that we bought could not be finished by 5 full grown adults… The crunchiness on the outside, the sugary goodness on the inside and the gorgeous burnt orange colour are the few things that hit you when you take your first bite… And then rest is all about the sugar rush, the addictive flavour and the warm gooey feeling inside of you…

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Barf Ke Laddu

What better way to end your gastronomical experience of Indian Street Food than with Barf ke Laddu (balls of ice, pun not intended!)… Popularly known as Barf ka Gola in Mumbai and other parts of the country, the Indori cousin is actually a twin… Made up of crushed ice, packed tight into a glass and flavored with syrups (Khus, Orange, Rose, Kala Khatta etc), the Barf ke Laddu lasts you a while and is the perfect company when you are walking out of the Chowpatty, deep into the night…

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Indori Food is a delight and there is no better way to sample it than with a visit to the Sarafa Bazaar Chowpatty near Rajwada

4 Replies to “DO NOT MISS: The Sarafa Bazaar Chowpaty in Indore”

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