Bhuttey ka Kees, Dal Bafla, Mawa Baati, Malpua, Dal-Baati-Churma … you will be recommended all these and many more delicacies to relish while in Madhya Pradesh. Of course, you must try them all, but there is this nashta,or snack, that you will inevitably encounter wherever you will go: the humble, ubiquitous poha. This breakfast staple is made in many parts of the country and has many versions, but it gets a wonderful treatment in the heart of India.
In the mornings, street food carts and roadside stalls everywhere begin to prepare this light concoction to be enjoyed by the locals and tourists alike. You will see mounds of yellow, fluffy-soft flattened rice, tossed with finely diced potato, caramelised onion and crunchy peanuts. The mixture is flavoured delicately with chilli, turmeric, coriander, curry leaves, a little salt, a pinch of sugar and a squeeze of lemon. Usually served with a side of finely chopped onions, and sev to sprinkle on – you can add on as much or as little as you like.
Besides, where there is poha, there will also be jalebi, that syrupy pretzel of goodness. They make these delicate beauties fresh, golden yellow and crunchy, dripping with sugary fragrant syrup. Smallish portions of poha and a few jalebis served on a piece of newspaper, or even on a steel plate are worth taking that guilt trip for!
A poha-jalebi combo could cost you as little as Rs 20-30 on the roadside.