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Sev mixture in Indore

A Local’s Guide to the Best Food in Indore [Exclusive Video]

I wasn’t aware of Indore being a foodaholic city until the moment I reached there and saw Sev-Poha-Jalebi shops all around the city. The people of Indore are known as “Indoris” and they call themselves “Khawda” – a term that means they can eat a lot and at any time of the day, as you can literally get food at any time of the day.

A Little on Indore

A city that hones pride for different food varieties, and cleanliness. It was ranked first in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan Survey – 2017 for amazing waste management, and cleanliness initiatives. Recently it also topped the airport service quality ranking in Asia Pacific region.

It is the only city in India that’s home to both an IIM (established in 1996) and an IIT (2009) that makes it lively because of the young crowd being in majority. It is also the commercial, and booming IT capital of Madhya Pradesh.

56 Dukaan (Shops)

As the name suggests, it is a street consisting of 56 food shops (obviously more than that) where you will find cuisines from every part of India.

Vijay Chaat House

$ – Multiple branches: 56 Dukan, Bhawar Kuan, and Sarafa – Khopra Patties & Sev-Poha

Khopra patties at Vijay Chaat house, Indore. Photo courtesy: Zomato

Vijay chaat house is one of the oldest food shops in Indore. Khopra Patties is a must eat dish there. A perfect place to start the day off if you are willing to have sev-poha, jalebi, khamand (dhokla) and samosa-kachori as your first meal.

Johny Hot Dog

$ – Multiple branches: 56 Dukan and Navlakha – Amazing hot dogs

Egg Benjo at Johny Hot Dog, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Egg Benjo at Johny Hot Dog, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Specializing in hot dogs or some may call it the Vada Pav of Indore, Johny Hot Dog has been serving hot dogs for decades at a very economical rate. A properly managed veg and non-veg distribution of hot dogs, even when it caters to a huge amount of people every day. Egg banjo is a must try, apart from veg hot dogs, mutton hot dogs, and egg mutton hot dogs are available.

Madhuram Sweets

$$ – 56 Dukaan – A real healthy shikanji

Shikanji at Madhuram Sweets, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Shikanji at Madhuram Sweets, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Madhuram Sweets is famous for Indian sweets and Indori Namkeens. Its uniqueness lies in shikanji, which is not the usual Nimbu-Shikanji (Lemonade), but a highly nutritious drink made of dry fruits, saffron, and milk.

Live Tawa Ice Cream

$$ – 56 Dukaan – Different ice-cream

Gulaab Jaamun Icecream at Live Tawa Icecream, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Gulaab Jaamun Icecream at Live Tawa Icecream, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

If you got to taste and experience an amazing and totally different icecream, head to this place. They explain the creating process as well. Ferrero Rocher tawa ice cream and fudge brownie tawa ice cream are good. You can also try the blend of Gulaab Jaamun and ice cream over here.

Joshi Dahi Bada House

$ – Sarafa Bazaar – Amazing process and awesome dahi bada

Dahi bada at Joshi Dahi Bada, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Dahi vada at Joshi Dahi Bada, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

This is one the best dahi bada seller in Indore. It’s not only the taste that is awesome, but also in the process of how its made. If you are looking for some an awesome dahi bada and butte ka kiss, must visit this place. You won’t be disappointed for sure.

Rajhans ke dal baafle

$$ – Sarafa – Daal Baafle

Daal Baafla Thali at Rajhans Daal Baafle, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Daal Baafla Thali at Rajhans Daal Baafle, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Indore lies in the heart of Malwa region. If you are in this region, you have to try this regional food. Best Dal Baafle in town without a doubt. Quantity for one Thali is sufficient for 2 people. Thali Includes Dal Baafle, Kadhi, Rice, Aloo Sabji, Churma laddoo, Salad and Chutney.

Pishori Dhaba

$$ – Sapna Sangeeta – Delicious Non-Veg

Chicken lollipop at Pishori Dhaba, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Chicken lollipop at Pishori Dhaba, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Pishori his known for its non-vegetarian delicacies. It has gained the pride of one of the best non-vegs of the city and that too at an economical price. There are two portions. One for alcoholics and the other for non-alcoholics. You must try out the chicken lollipop, Boti Chicken, Amritsari fish, and butter chicken.

Sarafa at night

One of the most famous midnight eating streets of India that offers you a wide range of dishes. To experience Sarafa at its best, head there around 11 PM, and stay till 1.30 AM. Some of the dishes that are must to try:

$ – Chhole tikiya at Sawariya Chaat house

Chhole tikiya at Sawariya Chaat, Sarafa, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Chhole tikiya at Sawariya Chaat, Sarafa, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

$ – Garadu or Rataalu

Garadu at Sarafa, Indore. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

Garadu at Sarafa, Indore. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

$ – Sweet dishes – Jalebi, jaleba, maal pua and rabdi at Bhairvanand

$ – Kulfi at Agarwal Icecreams

Late night food shops

Indore is well known for 24×7 food availability. Here are some cafes that you can go into if you crave food late night.

Make my Sandwich

$ – Teleperfomance, Vijay Nagar – Sandwiches

If you are craving for food at 2 am, head straight to this place, and have Pizzawich, and Strawberry Fizz. This cafe is 24×7 up and running.

Sandwich at Make my sandwich, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Sandwich at Make my sandwich, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Maggie at L. I. G. Square

$$ – LIG Maggie – Maggie and Pasta

If you want something at the stroke of the day at 4AM, go to LIG Maggie, at LIG Square. They have a food truck and they specialize in Maggie and Pasta. You would get to know how crazy Indoris are when it comes to food.

Khopra patties at Vijay Chaat house, Indore. Photo courtesy: Zomato

Vijay chaat house is one of the oldest food shops in Indore. Khopra Patties is a must eat dish there. A perfect place to start the day off if you are willing to have sev-poha, jalebi, khamand (dhokla) and samosa-kachori as your first meal.

Johny Hot Dog

$ – Multiple branches: 56 Dukan and Navlakha – Amazing hot dogs

Egg Benjo at Johny Hot Dog, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Egg Benjo at Johny Hot Dog, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Specializing in hot dogs or some may call it the Vada Pav of Indore, Johny Hot Dog has been serving hot dogs for decades at a very economical rate. A properly managed veg and non-veg distribution of hot dogs, even when it caters to a huge amount of people every day. Egg banjo is a must try, apart from veg hot dogs, mutton hot dogs, and egg mutton hot dogs are available.

Madhuram Sweets

$$ – 56 Dukaan – A real healthy shikanji

Shikanji at Madhuram Sweets, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Shikanji at Madhuram Sweets, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Madhuram Sweets is famous for Indian sweets and Indori Namkeens. Its uniqueness lies in shikanji, which is not the usual Nimbu-Shikanji (Lemonade), but a highly nutritious drink made of dry fruits, saffron, and milk.

Live Tawa Ice Cream

$$ – 56 Dukaan – Different ice-cream

Gulaab Jaamun Icecream at Live Tawa Icecream, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Gulaab Jaamun Icecream at Live Tawa Icecream, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

If you got to taste and experience an amazing and totally different icecream, head to this place. They explain the creating process as well. Ferrero Rocher tawa ice cream and fudge brownie tawa ice cream are good. You can also try the blend of Gulaab Jaamun and ice cream over here.

Joshi Dahi Bada House

$ – Sarafa Bazaar – Amazing process and awesome dahi bada

Dahi bada at Joshi Dahi Bada, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Dahi vada at Joshi Dahi Bada, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

This is one the best dahi bada seller in Indore. It’s not only the taste that is awesome, but also in the process of how its made. If you are looking for some an awesome dahi bada and butte ka kiss, must visit this place. You won’t be disappointed for sure.

Rajhans ke dal baafle

$$ – Sarafa – Daal Baafle

Daal Baafla Thali at Rajhans Daal Baafle, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Daal Baafla Thali at Rajhans Daal Baafle, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Indore lies in the heart of Malwa region. If you are in this region, you have to try this regional food. Best Dal Baafle in town without a doubt. Quantity for one Thali is sufficient for 2 people. Thali Includes Dal Baafle, Kadhi, Rice, Aloo Sabji, Churma laddoo, Salad and Chutney.

Pishori Dhaba

$$ – Sapna Sangeeta – Delicious Non-Veg

Chicken lollipop at Pishori Dhaba, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Chicken lollipop at Pishori Dhaba, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Pishori his known for its non-vegetarian delicacies. It has gained the pride of one of the best non-vegs of the city and that too at an economical price. There are two portions. One for alcoholics and the other for non-alcoholics. You must try out the chicken lollipop, Boti Chicken, Amritsari fish, and butter chicken.

Sarafa at night

One of the most famous midnight eating streets of India that offers you a wide range of dishes. To experience Sarafa at its best, head there around 11 PM, and stay till 1.30 AM. Some of the dishes that are must to try:

$ – Chhole tikiya at Sawariya Chaat house

Chhole tikiya at Sawariya Chaat, Sarafa, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Chhole tikiya at Sawariya Chaat, Sarafa, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

$ – Garadu or Rataalu

Garadu at Sarafa, Indore. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

Garadu at Sarafa, Indore. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

$ – Sweet dishes – Jalebi, jaleba, maal pua and rabdi at Bhairvanand

$ – Kulfi at Agarwal Icecreams

Late night food shops

Indore is well known for 24×7 food availability. Here are some cafes that you can go into if you crave food late night.

Make my Sandwich

$ – Teleperfomance, Vijay Nagar – Sandwiches

If you are craving for food at 2 am, head straight to this place, and have Pizzawich, and Strawberry Fizz. This cafe is 24×7 up and running.

Sandwich at Make my sandwich, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Sandwich at Make my sandwich, Indore. Pic courtesy: Zomato

Maggie at L. I. G. Square

$$ – LIG Maggie – Maggie and Pasta

If you want something at the stroke of the day at 4AM, go to LIG Maggie, at LIG Square. They have a food truck and they specialize in Maggie and Pasta. You would get to know how crazy Indoris are when it comes to food.

Outside the Irani Cafe in Pune. Photo © Karl Rock.

The Irani Cafe, Pune Review

I love Iranian food. When I worked in IT, my 2 Iranian colleagues and I would order from an Iranian families home delivery service once a week.

During my last week at the office, I told the guys, “We’re ordering Iranian every day this week!” That was a tasty week.

The Iranian Cafe in Pune isn’t strictly Iranian though. It’s more a Parsi Cafe (the Parsis came to India from Iran). I’m a sucker for Parsi food too because it’s very similar to Iranian but with a slight Indian twist.

The area I was staying in Pune was close to the NH7 Weekender Music Festival I was attending. Within walking distance there were very few clean places to eat though. But there were not one but two Irani Cafes. So I ended up having breakfast at both.

Chicken Kheema Gotala at the Irani Cafe Pune. Photo © Karl Rock.

Chicken Kheema Gotala at the Irani Cafe Pune. Photo © Karl Rock.

The Food

Here’s the low down on what to try:

  • Bun Maska: a huge bun with a sweet cream filling.
  • Chicken Kheema Gotala: spicy chicken and egg mince served with bread. Gotala means “fake” because they add an egg to the chicken mix instead of using 100% chicken.
  • Tea: just a good old sweet Indian Chai without the spice.
  • Chicken Berry Palau: I didn’t get to try this, but see my review on Britannia & Co. for the best Chicken Berry Palau in India.
  • Joojeh or Kubedeh Kebab: BBQ’d chicken or Mutton pieces in Persian spices and served with saffron rice. An Iranian staple.

Service is fast, the restaurants are clean with a Parsi Cafe vibe, and the food and cheap and tasty. What’s not to like?

Irani Cafe Pune Menu 1. Photo © Karl Rock.

Irani Cafe Pune Menu 1. Photo © Karl Rock.

Irani Cafe Pune Menu 2. Photo © Karl Rock.

Irani Cafe Pune Menu 2. Photo © Karl Rock.

Entrance to Britannia & Co. Restaurant, Mumbai. Photo © Karl Rock.

The Best Restaurant in India: Britannia & Co. Mumbai

I first stepped foot in Britannia & Co. in Mumbai’s historical and beautiful Fort area with two Parsi friends the very first time I visited India. Back then, I had no idea what Parsi food was, but I was about to find out.

Read on to find out what makes this my favourite restaurant in all of India.

Outside Britannia & Co. Restaurant. Photo © Karl Rock.

Outside rustic Britannia & Co. Restaurant. Photo © Karl Rock.

The Parsis & Their Cafes

The Parsi people came to India from Iran over 300 years ago. They initially settled in the little-visited, but incredibly charming, Portuguese Union Territory of Daman & Diu at the bottom of Gujarat. Hence why Parsis around India and the world still speak Gujarati.

Many continued onto Mumbai, settled there, and some started Parsi cafes. Mumbai was once buzzing with 500 Parsi cafes, but the majority have now closed due to increasing rent.

These days, Parsi food is hard to come by but has been rejuvenated recently by the very good, but not as good as Brittania & Co., SodaBottleopenerWala chain in India. If you can’t get to Mumbai, go there for a similar experience.

Parsi Trivia: The most famous Parsi outside of India is… Freddy Mercury from Queen. He studied in Mumbai, before moving to England.

Britannia’s Owner

The rustic old-school Parsi cafe style of Britannia & Co. Photo © Karl Rock.

The rustic old-school Parsi cafe style of Britannia & Co. Photo © Karl Rock.

When you dine at Britannia, the charismatic owner Boman Kohinoor will likely introduce himself to your table. When I first met him he was 91 years old, now, on my latest trip, he’s 96 and telling me he’s going to beat the current record holder to 150 years.

His secret? Not retiring! You’ll find him there during their opening hours (only Mon-Sat 12-4pm) telling stories to customers about his food, life, and long relationship with the Royal Family of England – photo evidence included. Chatting with him is a treat.

The Food

Chicken Berry Palau. Photo © Karl Rock.

Chicken Berry Palau. Photo © Karl Rock.

Parsi food is closer to Iranian food than Indian. Parsi cooking doesn’t require 10 different spices, they use more straightforward flavours but pair them with original accompaniments. Like Palau and berries, chicken curry and fried potatoes, or rose syrup, vermicelli, and sweet basil seeds.

These are three Parsi delicacies you cannot leave Britannia without devouring:

  1. Chicken or Mutton Berry Palau: Fragrant saffron rice with a large helping of thick and sweet chicken curry in the middle, topped with dried sweet berries, fried onion, and cashews. If you’re thinking “why berries?” You just have to trust me and try it, the combination is something special.
  2. Sali Chicken: A light meaty flavoured chicken curry topped with a ton of fried potato sticks.
  3. Bombay Duck: It has nothing to do with duck! It’s a small local lizardfish that is crumbed then deep fried. They’re cooked bone-in, but the bones are soft and edible.

You’re going to need to take 2 friends to finish all that food.

Price wise it’s expensive for India, but for the quality, taste, and quantity you will not be disappointed. The service and the unique food will have to return every time you visit Mumbai, I guarantee it!

If you’re craving to make Sali Chicken at home, the good news is Boman Kohinoor has shared the recipe.

Britannia & Co. Menu. Photo © Karl Rock.

Britannia & Co. Menu. Photo © Karl Rock.

Sali Chicken Britannia and Co Recipe. Photo © Karl Rock.

Britannia & Co’s Parsi Sali Chicken Recipe (Tried & Tested!)

If you didn’t know, I crowned Britannia & Co. the best restaurant in India. After you eat there, if you’re like me, you’ll be craving to make Sali Chicken at home too.

Thanks to CNN’s interview with Britannia’s owner Boman Kohinoor, we have the real Sali Chicken recipe straight from the man himself. Unfortunately, Mr Kohinoor has not given the actual recipe! I made it, and it tastes close, but it’s missing something. It’s not Britannia & Co. Sali Chicken, but it’s tasty and very healthy anyway!

Ingredients

  • 2 finely chopped green chillies
  • 2 large finely chopped onions
  • A tiny piece of ginger
  • Half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • Half a teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala
  • Half a teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 7 or so curry leaves
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • Salt
  • 1 kilo of boneless chicken thighs, 10 pieces or so, cut into thirds
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 3 cups of thin and crispy fried potato sticks (known as Lachha)
Halidrams Aloo Lachha.

This is the closest to plain potato sticks that I could find – Haldiram’s Aloo Lachha. You may have to some searching for plain lachha which is what we want for this recipe.

Instructions

  1. Make a thick paste out of the garlic, ginger, garam masala, cinnamon and turmeric and set aside.
  2. Drop curry leaves and cumin seeds in a pan with hot oil and stir slightly. After a few seconds, when the seeds start to splutter, add the chopped onions and chillies, let it cook and occasionally stir for about five minutes. Add the spices and stir for a minute or so.
  3. Now bring in the chicken and stir in the pan till it’s well coated with the spices. Pour two cups of water, add salt and bring to boil. Cover with a lid, reduce heat and let the chicken cook for half an hour.
  4. Uncover the dish and let it simmer in low flame for another thirty minutes until the chicken is soft and tender.
  5. In a deep plate, place the chicken and arrange a nice, thick layer of potato sticks around the edges or on top. Serve piping hot with juicy lime wedges and onion.
Sali Chicken Britannia and Co Recipe. Photo © Karl Rock.

Homemade Sali Chicken but something’s not quite right. It should be browner in colour. It still tatsted great anyway. Photo © Karl Rock.

The Best Restaurants in Unappetising Paharganj Delhi. Photo by Prateek Rungta (https://flic.kr/p/a6CCCZ).

Where to Eat in Unappetising Paharganj, Delhi

The best way to describe Pahargunj is “hell on earth.” Along with the rest of Old Delhi, it’s the worst place you can possibly stay in India. It features drug addicts shooting up on the side of the road, prostitution, thieves, scammers, rats, and every other nasty you can imagine.

Such a negative description is honest, but during my latest stay in Paharganj, I’ve really made an effort to try and find some beauty in this place.

I went out looking for the best food, and on those walks, I made a point to stay off the main road and take the back streets. The backstreets, away from the hawkers, traffic jams, and madness is where I found the real Paharganj.

While you make your way to these restaurants make an effort to take the back streets. You’ll see kids doing their homework, young men working out in outdoor gyms hidden from the main road, kids going to school, the rear kitchens of the restaurants on the main street, and so much more. Paharganj has beauty if you seek it.

Darbar – $

Outside Darbar Restaurant, Paharganj. Photo by Darbar.

This is the tastiest and cleanest place I’ve found to eat in Paharganj. I surprisingly never see tourists eating there though, it’s usually just filled with Indian businessmen.

Darbar is perfect for breakfast. They serve all the traditional Delhi dishes such as Chole Bhature and Aloo Paratha. All for very reasonable prices considering the cleanliness of this restaurant.

Flavours – $

When I stayed in Paharganj for a month straight once, Flavours was my morning go to. I’d order two aloo paratha, chai, and 2 boiled eggs. They serve authentic and delicious food but just check their cleanliness is up to your standards first. I never had an issue with the food, but more weary travellers may be put off by the roadside kitchen setup (although they have an indoor dining area).

Sita Ram Diwan Chand – $

Chole Bhature

Sita Ram Diwan Chand has achieved legendary status across Delhi as the best place to eat the Delhi breakfast staple Chole Bhature (chickpea curry and deep fried bread). While it’s definitely not the best Chole Bhature in Delhi, it’s certainly decent and a good place to eat in Paharganj. I’ve written previously about where the tastiest and most authentic Chole Bhature is in Delhi.

Sam’s Cafe – $$

Pizza from Sams Cafe, Paharganj. Photo by Zomato.

Sam’s Cafe is a favourite rooftop hangout above the Vivek Hotel in the main bazaar. The food here is a little overpriced and bland (that tends to be the case when a restaurant has a menu that serves every cuisine possible), but the rooftop setting is nicely lit up at night.

Re Cafe – $$

Situated below the bright white and yellow Bloomrooms hotel, Re Cafe serves up good continental and Indian food. They serve fish too which is harder to find in Delhi, being so far from the sea (and a reason I don’t eat it often here). It’s also a good choice for breakfast, with their egg paratha being a standout.

Al-Sameer – $$

I’d been walking past Al-Sameer every time I’d come to Paharganj. It never looked that clean to me, but you can see their chef cooking their Mughal dishes as you walk past. Every time I’d look at what he was cooking, and every time it looked amazing.

So I finally gave Al-Sameer try. Turns out it was clean enough and the food was as it looks – traditional tasty Mughal food. Forget about eating vegetarian here, they specialise in non-vegetarian.

Make your own food

Healthy breakfast food isn’t Paharganj’s speciality. After too many days eating oily Indian food, it tends to make you feel very bloated. That’s when it’s time to go back to basics. In my case, I visit the Mother Dairy store and pick up yoghurt and plain chaach (unsweetened yoghurt drink) and have that with muesli which can be found at Patanjali stores and larger grocery stores.

The Bad

Rituraj: bland and overpriced and there was an insect baked into my naan bread!

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