His is not even a proper shop. This kachoriwallah in Chawri Bazar, though, is worth the hunt, finds out Rahul Verma
I was strolling down Old Delhi the other day in an aimless manner. I had fixed up a meeting with some people who wanted to know about the street food of Delhi – and who were late. Since I had some time to kill I decided to go into one of the unknown lanes of Purani Dilli, in search of a kachoriwallah whom I had only heard about but never met.
Somehow, friends and foes keep telling me all about the wonderful kachoris they've eaten, urging me to go look up their favourite kachoriwallah in some obscure part of town. Since I have had quite a few good kachoris myself, I don't always take their suggestions seriously. Sometimes, though, I go chase their kachoriwalllahs – especially when I have nothing else to do.
This was a kachoriwallah a friend had sung paeans to. He didn't have a shop, but hawked his ware at a little street corner inside Loheywali gali in Chawri Bazaar. I had missed out on him because he wasn't on any of the main roads, but in one of the less-haunted lanes in the Walled City. You'll spot a narrow lane opposite the road going into Churiwalan. The kachoriwallah stands in this lane, next to a pan shop.
His name is Ashok, and he makes a mean kachori, as I discovered a few moments later. His kachoris are not the fluffy kind, but are almost flat. What was interesting was the filling – the mandatory dal was there, but it had more masala than dal (and I don't blame him – have you seen the prices of dals?).
I liked the combination, for it lent a spicy taste to the kachori. To counter it, the chholey that he served with it was rather light. It was in a thin gravy – not very dark, and certainly not tart or spicy hot. But Ashok clearly is a man who likes to play with our palate. To offset the light touch of the chholey, he tops his kachoris with a helping of sliced hot and sour kachaloo. Then he garnishes the dish with chopped coriander leaves and chilli.
Each plate of two kachoris comes for Rs.10 – which is a bit steep if you consider the rate in the area. Before serving you he asks you if you want your kachoris intact or flattened. If you like it all crumbled up, he takes the two kachoris and crushes them in a dona. He covers them with chholey, and then goes on to add the other toppings.
I liked his kachoris. And I was happy to hear that Ashok – like most other kachori-sellers in the neighbourhood – does catering as well. His stuff gets over by 2 or 2.30 in the afternoon, so if you are hoping to eat his kachoris, you'll have to reach there well in time.
But remember, it's very easy to miss his little galli. Ashok, clearly, is not a man looking for fame. He's just happy standing there with his little khomcha – selling his unique kachoris.