If there is one thing that Indore is known for, it is Poha. The Indori Poha has been charming visitors ever since the olden days and even today, it is an essential part of the whole Indori experience. Sure, the dish tastes amazing, what with so many flavours, the many toppings and textures. But have you ever wondered why has a simple breakfast dish become such a big part of our lives? What was it that made Poha synonymous with Indore?
Well, if you were curious to find out, you've come to the right place. In this article, we decode the mystery of the iconic Indori Poha and how it came to be such an important part of everyday life in Indore.
How did it get to Indore?
As it turns out, Poha initially originated in Maharashtra. Under the regime of the Holkars and the Scindias, the coloquial dish gained widespread appeal amongst the people. When the rulers came from Maharashtra to Madhya Pradesh, they took over Indore and brought with them Poha and Shrikhand, among other things.
History states that these two dishes almost always follow in the wake of the Holkars and the Scindias. In fact, both the dishes can be seen peppered in Madhya Pradesh's history as well, a tell-tale sign of invasion and rule by the Holkars and the Scindias.
A possible reference to poha was also made in the epic "Mahabharata". This can be noted when Sudama offered the humble grain to his childhood friend Krishna.
What made Indori Poha the quintessential Poha?
Indore's introduction to Poha was, as history states, an invasion gift. However, what made it synonymous with Indore was the special way of cooking it, which was unlike the Maharashtrian way.
The poha gets what can only be called an 'upgrade' in Madhya Pradesh, the texture of this simple dish is completely changed. While in Maharashtra, it is usually served with chopped onions, tomatoes and a variety of spices, Indore has a different take on it. The Poha here, is topped with namkeens- the famous Indori sev, which introduces a new texture as well as flavour to the whole flat rice based dish.
Earlier, Poha would seem almost textureless, but with the addition of the already famous Indori sev, the dish was claimed by Indore.
Now, many many years after these events, Poha is one thing that is a must have when in Indore. For the tourists, it packs in a delicious history lesson, while for the locals, it is a reminder that each and every corner of Indore has a historic semblance attached to it.