Indore. I have very fond memories of this city.
While Bhopal is the administrative capital of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Indore is its cultural capital. Indore is a city that I came upon late in life; courtesy my mother. Amma was in-charge of a large project in this city and would travel to Indore as frequently as twice a month. Many a time she would stay put there for a week or two.
In the early days, there were 3 things I associated with Indore:
- The awesome food stuff would bring back from there:
- Rich, melt-in-your-mouth sweets
- A spicy, tangy sandwich masala
- Spicy Indori Sev
- Lovely clothes that mom got from Mhow near Indore; especially smart smocked salwar kurtas
- The perennially late flights! 🙁
- Amma used to return by this puddle-hopper which followed the Delhi-Jaipur-Bhopal-Indore-Mumbai route and it was always, but always late. Since I worked near the airport those days, I would offer to pick her up. More often than not, the flight which was due at about 7:30 PM would land at 9:30 PM or later!
Then I got to visit this marvellous city and I was floored. Since then I associate it with genteel, cultured people; some wonderful palaces; and some buffalo-sized stuffed tigers that I saw in the local palaces and museums. And of course, some wonderful food! The local food is to die for. Because this city is a confluence of many cultures; you will find a variety of food here.
Let me talk about just one of the may food items that caught my fancy; Indori Poha.
We stayed on a campus which had monkeys and peacocks all over the place. Boy, were those peahens raucous or were they raucous! But the campus was a place away from the city and on the banks of a large, serene lake. We had some lovely walks on the campus in the evenings and early mornings.
Since we were honoured guests from Mumbai, the staff at the guest house treated us to sumptuous meals whenever we ate in. One of the fondest memories I have is of the wonderful, soft, fluffy, and spicy Indori Poha that we were served for breakfast. I absolutely loved the crunchy, spicy sev that it was garnished with. Very my kind of food.
Ever since, it is one of my favourite versions of Pohe to make at home. It can be a wonderful start of a day; especially a rainy day like today! 🙂
Time: 45 minutes
- Pohe or Beaten Rice – 2 Cups
- Onion – 1 Large
- Green Chillies – 3 or 4
- Mustard Seeds or Rai – 1 tsp
- Fennel or Saunf – 1 tsp
- Peanuts – 3 tbsp
- Grated Coconut – 4 tbsp
- Oil – 1 tbsp
- Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
- Sugar – 1/2 tsp
- Chopped Coriander Leaves – 1 tbsp
- Asafoetida – A Pinch
- Curry Leaves – A Few
- Indori Sev – 1/2 Cup
- Lemons – 2 small
- Salt to Taste
- Using a colander, wash pohe under running water for a couple of minutes.
- Set aside for at least 30 mins to drain.
- Chop the onions finely.
- In a kadai, heat the oil.
- Add mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
- Add the peanuts and fry till they are golden brown.
- Add slit green chillies and saunf.
- Fry for a minute.
- Add onions and fry till they turn transparent.
- Add asafoetida, turmeric powder, salt, sugar, and curry leaves.
- Stir fry for about a minute or till the sugar dissolves.
- Add the pohe and mix well.
- While still warm, divide into four servings.
- Garnish each serving with freshly grated coconut, finely chopped coriander leaves, and a generous helping of Indori Sev.
- Just before you eat, squeeze 1/2 a lemon over each portion and mix well.