Imagine the texture of a gulab jamun in the typical spiral form of the jalebi and you have the badkul. The khoya-and-arrowroot batter jalebi is Jabalpur’s specialty, dating back to 1889 when Harprasad Badkul invented the dark, spongy sweet.
Where: Badkul Sweets, Sarafa Bazaar, Kamania Gate, Jabalpur
Bhutte ka kees
This local snack, commonly known as bhutte ka kees or makai ka kees, features the familiar flavours of corn, grated coconut, and the pop of mustard seeds, but in a completely new form. Pulverised almost to a paste, and cooked with milk, the sunshine-yellow dish retains a few corn kernels for texture along with curry leaves, onions, tomatoes, and a spritz of lime for a burst of flavour.
Where: Pench Tree Lodge, near Karmajhiri Gate of Pench National Park, Sarrahiri village
A locally grown red spinach, lal bhaaji is bought fresh from the weekly village haat, and cooked with minimal spice to bring out the leaves’ sharp, mildly bitter flavour. Lal bhaji goes best with hot rotis, dal, and fried potatoes.
Where: Shergarh, near Mukki gate of Kanha National Park, Baihar-Mukki Road, Kanha
This is made when the ubiquitous mahua tree flowers in February. The blooms are dried, roasted, mixed with sesame seeds, bound with jaggery, and shaped into energy-packed balls. Farmers carry them for nourishment during long days in the fields.
Where: Ask locals for a taste in Bijaria village, Bandhavgarh
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