The narrow lanes in Old Banaras prides itself on having the best mouth-watering traditional dishes that are truly in a class of its own. A gastronomical quest for the best street food in Banaras is deemed complete only if one samples the delicious kachori sabzi, the quintessential breakfast of Banaras and pretty much the whole of Uttar Pradesh.
To say it is a Divine Order to try each and every dish Banaras has to offer will be stretching it a bit, but one bite into the piping hot spicy with a hint of sweet and tangy raswale aloo sabzi served with garam garam kachoris will turn you into a firm believer!
Locals swear that the best kachoris are made in Ram Bhandar (started in 1888), Chachi ki Kachori and Neelu Kachori Bhandar. Banarasi kachoris are either light deep-fried puris or a version of stuffed puris.
Plain puris are made of wheat flour, cumin seeds, ajwain and fried in desi ghee or sunflower oil. Stuffed puris, often called masala kachori has a spicy stuffing of chana dal or moong dal or urad dal. Dal is soaked overnight and ground to a fine paste. It is added to wheat flour, ajwain, semolina, red chilli powder and other spices and mixed well.
It is important that the dough is soft and easy to work with. Small balls are made and rolled out like puris and fried in desi ghee or sunflower oil. As the kachoris are deep-fried, the curry served that is normally either chole or raswale aloo sabzi or gravy with pakodas is very light on the stomach, largely watery and packed with spices to balance the grease.
Another popular kachori is the chana dal hing kachori that is served with chana tari. This kachori, though small in size packs a punch in terms of flavour. Aloo wale kachoris are equally popular and served with chane ki sabzi.
The ideal way to finish your lip-smacking kachori sabzi breakfast is to indulge in one or a couple of finger-licking jalebis made in desi ghee and dipped in a sinfully sweet sugary syrup.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
* Photos are only symbolic (Taken from public domain/internet and any copyright infringement is unintentional and regrettable)