The legacy of “Poha-Jalebee”

How many of you have tasted Poha–jalebee?

Err… what a silly question?!!

If you happen to live in Bhopal or Indore, or anywhere near it; I can hardly imagine if anyone of you has left untouched by the taste of it.

And if you are not a Bhopali (or an Indori), I would love to have the courtesy of enlightening you that Poha – Jalebee is no less than a national breakfast of Bhopal!

Bhopali’s  are just crazy over having it in the breakfast. If you happen to be in Bhopal and go out to the by-lanes in the morning, you’ll find food-joints in almost every nook and corner serving hot tangy Poha with crispy Jalebees, ready to be devoured.


Being a Bhopali, I too am greedy to have it, and can happily consume it at any time of the day! Every weekend morning, while coming back from gym, My friends and I head towards Balaji’s at Peergate. I simply love the taste of their soft Poha cooked with a tinge of clove, served along with hot and crunchy Jalebiees – having an essence of cardamom. Soaked and salted Poha granules start melting as soon as you direct them in your mouth. The taste couldn’t be better. A perfect start of the day it is!

Though my mother gives utter importance to hygiene and strictly discourages street food, but Poha – Jalebee is something for which I am always on my toes and happy to get scolded anytime. It’s not that she doesn’t cook well – she is indeed an Annapurna incarnate, can even make big chefs run for the money!  But sometimes being mischievous is real fun, these are the memories which are meant to be cherished for life.

Before winding up my Poha – Jalebee chronicle, I would like to share a historical fact, which, I bet even a hardcore Poha lover wouldn’t know!

As we all know, Bhopal has a rich Nawabi history. Subsequently, its food too is influenced by the Nawabi taste. This city very much loves to have cuisines with a Biryani touch. But it is also fond of Maratha heritage, which has its influence over Indore – Malwa region; and it’s evident in its love for Poha. So this form of flattened fried rice came there, through the Peshwas. But when it came to Bhopal, it got a Nawabi touch and became soft and royal. The Peshwas too admired this!

I don’t know from where the idea of topping it with crunchy Sev and chopped onion came into existence, but whoever did that – was surely a genius! And when deep fried crunchy Jalebees, dipped in sugar syrup are added to this salty and spicy dish, the combination gives a heavenly pleasure to your taste buds.

If you are a foodie, then it’s highly advised to visit the streets of Bhopal to experience the authentic Bhopali (1)

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