Dal Bafle

"Dal-Baati / Bafla is one of the most palatable delicacies of the Rajasthan and Malwa region, and Indore is famed in serving this legendary dish in its food-famous by-lanes!"

Mind you it’s a pretty heavy fare, and I find myself uncontrollably carried away while I am at the thali (“a large sized plate in which meals are served”) that serves dal-baati. Better had at lunch, I suggest you plan time for a midday nap, post this heavy meal!

For the few who are not aware of this amazing dal-baati feast…read about this exotic dish here.

Now, assuming we all know how this ancient, rustic meal is fashioned, let’s follow the places in Indore that claim to serve this most divine taste of central India in their own signature style…

Our first choice was Hotel Rajhans (52, Bada Sarafa, Sarafa Bazaar, Indore)… Authentic Dal-bafla served all 7 days! It is probably one of the oldest and also most famous joint that serves only dal-bafla, and is incredibly famous for it! Their preparation almost makes you lick off your fingers. So friends, if you haven’t had Rajhans’ dal bafle while in Indore, then you haven’t tasted the best yet! If you want to enjoy the fare in the coziness of your home, they have a home-delivery option too!

If you are looking for more than just good food then Nakhrali Dhani (Rangwasa Road, Rau) setup on the outskirts of Indore, mocks a Rajasthani village. It’s far from the main city, but once you are there it’s a place to relax, and enjoy. Dal bafla/baati is part of their lavish spread, and is one of their specialties. Their mehman-nawazi starts from the warm welcome you get at the entrance and you will specially enjoy it through your meal. It’s a one of a kind experience on this interesting little simulated village.

Nakhrali

A relatively newer place, Apna Sweets, more within the city limits, and having two outlets (1. Apna Sweets, P5, Ground Floor, Shagun Arcade, Vijay Nagar Square, Vijay Nagar, and 2. Apna Sweets, Ground Floor, Navneet Tower, Old Palasia, Indore). The place may be a sweet shop but serves amazing dal baati on Sundays!!! You can also get it packed if you have guests at home or you wish to enjoy your meal in the comfort zone of your home!!

Prithvilok Restaurant (82, Sitlamata Baazar, Laxmi Market, Rajwada, Indore) located in the heart of Indore, Serves mouth watering Dal-baafla, but again, only on Sundays! Small place, but the Dal-baafla Prithvilok serves, is one to die for! No great ambience, but considerably clean, it’s a thaali place on weekdays, and very reasonably priced. Beats "Rajhans" when it comes to Dal Bafla!

Prithvilok

Saved for the last is this small but famed dal-bafle joint called “Rajshree Dal Bafle” (Sarwate Bus Stand.) It’s a must-visit for Bafla lovers. Steaming hot baflas served with spicy dal and a variety of chutnis, along with chaach and a bowl full of ghee, it’s down-to-earth delicious! Behold… do not over-eat! You can visit again! Expect the place to be a bit crowded and at times even noisy, but if it serves the best dal-bafla, would you trade it for anything else?

More about this strange dish…

It is a very simple dish served as a combination of ‘Dal’ (mixed lentils cooked and tempered with garlic and a selection of Indian spices) and ‘Baati’ which are tennis-ball sized wheat balls cooked in a traditionally oven. The ‘Bafla’ is a variant of the Baati, wherein the wheat balls are first boiled and then roasted in the oven. This gives a much softer version of the baati.

This dal-baati or bafla is then served with a splurge of ghee, and with some traditional sides like gate-ki-sabzi, kadhi and rice amongst others. A few chutneys (dips) like green chutney, garlic chutney, pickles, are almost a must, along with freshly cut slices of onions. The traditional sweet served on this menu is almost always the famous “churma ladoo”.

The most unusual feature of this rustic Indian dish is the interesting way in which it is eaten. I am sure everyone knows that most Indian meals are eaten with the use of finger tips instead of forks and spoons! But this one goes a step further…The baati is dry and firm, and so it is crushed with Ghee to a ‘crumble’ using one’s forefingers. Dal is then poured over it, and mixed well with the various chutneys, before one slurps it up with ones fingers to place a mouthful. Don’t forget biting of some of the onion with this. Sounds complex and messy, but believe me it’s simple, and the taste will sweep you off!