Food Of Bhopal

by Tania Tarafdar
Food Of Bhopal

Bhopal, also known as Begum’s Bhopal, is a melting pot of diverse cultures and customs, making the city a centre of diversity. Diversities of customs, rituals, and food, you name it, and you’ll find it in the city. Cuisine is a celebrated tradition in Bhopal; Bhopalis enjoy their food and have strong loyalty to their favourite foods and recipes. Bhopal’s food culture could be traced back to the kitchens of Begums, which played a vital role in establishing what is now known as “Bhopali Cuisine.” Bhopali Chicken Rizala is one such dish that stands out for its wonderful and mouthwatering flavour. The usage of Chironji seeds is the star of the dish’s ingredients. Because the nearby Bhopal area was plentiful in “Chironji” produce, the local nut replaced the usage of cashew in the famed “Rizala,” and the dish was a definite winner. Bhopali food is regarded to be a nice blend of Luckhnavi cuisine and Hyderabadi cuisine, as it is neither particularly subtle nor spicy. The kebabs, the biryani, the muzaphir (sweet vermicelli cooked in sugar syrup, dry fruits etc) are surely the game changers of Bhopali Dawats.

Bhopal has also witnessed a great period of cultural pinnacle, when prominent painters such as Maqbool Fida Hussain, J. Swaminathan and many more painted and lived in the city. It is told by many that favourite hobby of Mr. Hussain during his stay in Bhopal is supposed to have been leisurely strolling around the alleys of Bhopal. The famed painter frequently enjoyed his tea at the legendary “Raju Tea Stall” and was a regular at the place.

When visiting Bhopal, travellers should visit the “Shahpura Area” and “6 No Stop” Hawkers’ Corners to experience various snacks. Shahpura Street is bustling in the evenings and has a wide selection of appetisers, ranging from Momos to Pani Puris. The street is a great example of culinary delight and is packed with people of all ages. You may satiate your sweet tooth at 6 No Stop with the well-known “jalebi” served by “Baba Jalebi Centre”, which is flavoured with rose water and the owners make sure to always serve it hot. In addition to this, the nearby stalls also serve “Rabdi” and “Gulab Jamuns,” a deadly combination for ardent lovers of the Indian desert. Throughout the city, “Kulhad Wala Dudh,” which is boiled milk topped with dry fruits and often flavoured with green cardamom, is sold during the winter months at a number of sweet shops. The milk is given a creamy flavour and a tinge of brown by being slowly simmered and boiled for hours. “Dudh” and “Jalebi” are a definite winning combination.

Winters are a wonderful time to indulge in a variety of specialties like “Garadu”, which is only accessible during this time of year. Although the dish is not a native of Bhopal, the popularity of this winter snacks has brought it to Bhopal and now it is among the must haves in winters for Bhopalis. “Garadu” is a member of the yam family and is deep-fried after being chopped into little pieces. You can eat plates upon plates of it when it is served hot with “Chaat Masala” and a generous squeeze of lemon. Another on-the-go snack for many is Sabudane Ki Khichdi, which is available at MP Nagar Square. Though it is intended to be eaten while fasting, the dish is a favourite of many and is devoured for its taste. The “sabudana khichdi” is served with “falhari namkeen”, lemon slices, and pomegranate seeds. Another speciality of Bhopal is “Chole Tikiya” or “Tikki Chole,” as it is popularly known. Whereas aloo tikki is typically served with matar ki chaat in other cities, it is served with spicy, tangy chole (kabuli chana) in Bhopal. Whereas the texture and flavour of “matar ki chat” are subtle and melting in the mouth, the chole ups the spice level and makes the texture bitey. Do try these at “Milan Namkeen & Sweets” at MP Nagar.

Bairagarh a locality with majority of “Sindhi” community has its own food culture and is great place for cheap shopping. The staple breakfast of “Sindhi” families, “Daal Palwan” can easily be found here in morning. “Anda Pakora,” which are fritters prepared with boiled eggs, are another dish that must be tried here. No discussion of Bhopal’s cuisine would be complete without mentioning the famous “Sagar Gaire,” a restaurant chain famous for its quality and flavour. They have numerous  outlets across the city and offer delicious meals at affordable prices. The outlets of “Sagar Gaire” are popular among all age groups equally and are particularly well-known for their sandwiches, burgers and shakes. 

Bhopali food, or food of Bhopal, adds another dimension to the journey to Bhopal. While visiting Bhopal, one should set aside one day for these culinary delights and should enjoy them at their own pace, because as they say, “You are what you eat”. Bon appetite!!

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