From sevpuri, bhelpuri to papdi chaat, poha, and more – Ratlami sev makes for an ideal topping on several of our favourite delicacies. It is also a delicious standalone snack.

At most namkeen shops, you’ll find queues of hungry admirers awaiting their turn to receive the hot and light-golden brown fried snack in the typical paper packet.

In 2015, this snack gained the coveted Geographical Indication (GI) tag. Let’s dive into its history and know what makes this centuries-old snack so special.

Ratlami sev originated in the eponymous Ratlam — a small town in Madhya Pradesh’s Malwa region.

The origin of Ratlami sev dates back to the late 19th century when the Mughal emperors were on a tour of the Malwa region of the state.

During an unscheduled halt, they suddenly felt the craving to consume sevaiyan. The creamy pudding dessert consumed during Eid was primarily made with wheat, which was unavailable in the royal camp during the period.

And voila! This is what led to the first recipe of Ratlami sev.

Originally, the name given to the vermicelli was Bhildi Sev after the name of the Bhil tribe who are credited as the snack’s original creators.

In the 1900s, local people of the region started commercially manufacturing Ratlami sev, which is primarily prepared with split Bengal gram (chickpea) flour, cloves, and peppers.

The Sakhlecha family of Ratlam was one of the first commercial manufacturers of the sev. Today, several snack companies manufacture the snack in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh’s Indore.