If a curfew is declared in the city, the first thing Kota residents would probably rush to is Kachori shops. Kota Kachori is what we crave most!
It would sound rather an exaggerated statement but one must visit Kota to figure this out and comprehend the people’s extraordinary love for this crispy, spicy, delicious preparation.
Of the three Ks—Kota doria sarees, Kota stone and Kota Kachori — the heart of Hadoti is famous for, the mouthwatering snack obviously tops the list.
If you are in Kota, you can have it for breakfast or with evening tea, and also when you want to skip lunch to satisfy your taste buds with something spicier than your mundane food has to offer.
One would wonder what lies behind Kota’s irresistible penchant for Kachori. Everyone in Kota has just one answer—Kota ka pani kachori maangta hai. (The water of Kota demands eating Kachori) It sounds strange. Isn’t it? We normally drink water after a mouthful of really hot food but here it is the other way round.
“To digest the raw water that we get from Chambal river, we need spicy food. And kachoris, with lots of spices — red chilly, black pepper and lavish mixture of hing (asafetida)—is the best digestive option,” they say.
I am not aware if there is any scientific base to support the craving of Kota residents, motivating them to eat kachoris to improve digestion, but this is what the common belief is. “I think the pungent flavor of hing in Kota kachoris when eaten with kaitha (curd fruitor wood apple) chutney surely help people digest daily intake of this fried stuff,” said Mrs Acharya.
While kachoris are a popular snack in other parts of the country also and virtually everywhere in Rajasthan, but perhaps nowhere in the state, kachoris have such a prominent taste of hing like Kota. And instead of the usual coriander or mint chutney or the tamarind one, the kaitha chutney is also a specialty of Kota.
There are plenty of kachori shops all over the city and small vendors also sell the stuff, near bus stand, railway station and particularly, in areas full of coaching institutes. But connoisseurs of kachoris would not have it from elsewhere but from their favorite shops in Rampura, Nayapura and Chhawni Chauraha. These outlets make brisk business all the day through and their owners are now crorepatis.
“When we are invited to weddings outside Kota, we get orders from relatives to bring along a generous stock of Kota kachori with us,” recalled Mr. Singhal. In Delhi and Mumbai traveling trains, relatives can be seen at the railway station delivering packets of kachoris to their loved ones.
The penchant for Kota kachoris has grown so much in recent years that it has overtaken the sale of thick savory sev, once the most loved snack in the city.
Two years ago, the district administration also came up with the idea of kachori competition at the Chambal Utsav, a tourism event, held in February every year. The person winning the competition for having devoured the highest number of kachoris was adjudged as Kachori Kesri.He was also given free coupons to enjoy his favorite snack the whole year through at his favorite eating joint, Sandeep Shrivastava, associated with the festival said.
The innovative idea was, however, dropped at the next festival, probably fearing the gastroenterological ill effects it could have on the participants.
Though the hot stuff is yet to scale same heights as the Bikaneri Sev but the way this flavourful item is wooing the taste buds of locals and outsiders, it would soon hit the stores all over India.
The Kota doria sarees have already made their mark in India and abroad.Kota can also boast of supplying the best Kota stone in the country. In not too distant a future, the third K is sure to outshine the other two. Thanks to the hundreds of students thronging Kota for IIT and medical coaching, making the city popular as the Coaching Capital of India, the taste of Kota has already spread its savory contagion from Kota to Kanyakumari!
Are you a Kachori lover as well? Which is your favorite go-to-shop for satisfying your kachori cravings, tell us in comments…