Friday, January 12, 2007


Special things deserve their own space. A few days ago when I posted some of my favourite food/food related things, I did not mention this breakfast. Its just tooooo special and needs its own space.

For as long as I can remember, every morning we were in my grandparents house there was struggle. My grandmother who started cooking at like 6 am would want us to eat her breakfast while I only wanted to eat 'chakkar ki kachori'. Dont get me wrong -- I loved my grandmom's food. But breakfast was reserved only for kachoris. So my grandad would drive us to Chakkar (a cicular market in Ajmer, hence the name) and in a corner of that market is a shop about the size of a large crate of fruits (really).

In that sits a very fat, sweaty, immensely polite man and he serves the most divine kachori's ever!! To go with kachori's, there are also samosa's, crisp pakora's made of ground lentils, tamarind and ginger sweet chutney, coriander chutney and ......Kadhi! Kadhi is something like the standard chickpea flour-buttermilk stew that we know but the proportion of flour and water is really high and spices seem to be present in equal proportions to the flour (!!!) and bits of potato and other veggies are floating in it.

This time we got take-away breakfast from Chakkar and here's how it went.

1. First you feast your eyes and nose

Clockwise: Kachori's (filling of ground fried lentils, liberally spiced), lentil pakora, Kadhi, Dona (bowl made of leaves), Ginger-tamarind chutney, samosa.

2. Then you grab one 'dona' (bowl made out of dried leaves and twigs, oldest known disposable utensil environment friendly), place a kachori in it. Then break it up in the middle. Fill the depression with pakoras. Top with tamarind-ginger chutney.


3. Top this concoction with the 'kadhi' and enjoy.


The interesting feature of the Chakkar-kachori guy is that he has a very clear business model which involves only 3 business hours a day, every day irrespective of anything! He arrives at the shop at 7 am and is packed up for the day by 10.30-11 am. His day starts at 4 am when he and his entire family wake up to make the dough, filling, kadhi etc fresh. He brings the prep-ed ingredients to the shop, fries and assembles everything there, sells to his only clientele- the breakfast crowd and is done for the day. His business during those 3 hours is so brisk that he does not even bother to stick around for afternoon or evening business (hence I have no picture of him this time). His prices hover around Rs. 3 (7 cents) per heaped 'dona' and many poor villagers only buy 1 serving of the kadhi which they eat with home-cooked bread.

Here's to comparative advantage, super-specialisation and knowing-your-customer.


Jharna said...

I agree with you, great food. I wish in a few years, India's economy grows so that they charge us a little more for such hard work.

indosungod said...

I am really happy that your mom likes my recipes. Please tell her a hello on my behalf. I am from South India, TamilNadu to be specific, so the pictures that you bring are really new and a treat and pleasure for my eyes and taste buds.

Anjali said...

Gunjan, got linked from blogher....loved your posts and everything about all the food and places you visited.

archana said...

The kachori n kadhi my mouth is already watering, makes me want to visit the place already.

jacob said...

love your recipes and pictures. only problem is, they're making me homesock for india :(

Coffee said...

Hi Gunjan, came blog hopping to your blog. :)

You have a great blog there!!!! and this kachori kadhi is making me drool all over my laptop!!!!! Thanks for sharing this. :)

I am blogrolling you. :)

Krithika said...

mouth-watering pics !!

RP said...

Good food. Nice write-up.

alok said...

hello...I was searching ajmer blog, there I saw your mention of ajmer kaadhi and kachori at chakkar. let me tell u...his name is rampal...and he is famous for rampal ke kachori. We all miss people like u in ajmer,who are still remembering home away from home...thanx;s for telling people about the way the kachori is now 5 rs per ....bye alok

g said...

Hi Alok, glad you liked the post! And thanks for providing his name ;) g