MY FAVORITE FAST FOOD
My wife observes and indulges in (and consequently subjects me to) all types of fasts. She fasts on Mondays, Chaturthies and any occasion she wants to fast. Actually, her “fasts” are not true fasts in the rigorous real sense, only a change of food, to what I call “fast food” which is quite delicious and maybe a bit more calorie-rich than normal food (that’s the “fast food” I’m referring to, not the burgers and pizza you thought!).
My favorite fast food is the Kachori. No! No! It’s not the scrumptious Rajasthani style lip-smacking Khasta Kachori I’m referring to, but the Sweet Kachori served by most Udipi eateries in and around Mumbai and Pune.
Take boiled mashed potato, add a bit of sabudana peeth (sago flour) for binding, a pinch of salt and sugar and knead into a dough.
Roast fresh juicy grated coconut with sugar, khus khus, dry fruit like raisins, cashews, till it is nice and crispy “khamang” – and your filling is ready.
You must roast in pure ghee, as oil is not permitted on a “fast”.
Make largish round patties with the potato dough on the outside and a generous portion of the roasted sweet coconut filling inside and deep fry till nicely crusty, crisp and light brown and your sweet kachori is done (fast and simple isn’t it?).
Serve with a katori of whipped sweet curds and your “fast food” is ready to eat.
You will be tempted to break a piece of Kachori, dip it in the curds and then eat it – don’t do it, that’s not the right way to eat sweet kachori and you’ll ruin the experience as the concoction will turn soggy. What you must do is to place a chunk of crisp hot kachori on your tongue and close your eyes. Now savor the “khamang” crunchy taste of the lively roasted coconut filling for some time, then press your tongue on your palate and roll till the heavenly sweet filling and the crisp potato covering amalgamate. It’s really yummy!
Now is the time to pop in a spoon of sweet curds, and let the feisty assortment of flavors dance and mingle on your tongue till the food dissolves in your mouth and disappears into you giving you a feeling of supreme satisfaction. [I once saw a movie called “Blow Hot Blow Cold” in the seventies – the art of eating a sweet kachori is similar: hot and cold, hot and cold, crunchy and soft, crunchy and soft, sweet and sour, sweet and sour!].
I first tasted the sweet kachori at a place called Apsara near Hirabaug on Tilak Road in Pune. It’s still my favorite. Vihar, at Churchgate in Mumbai, serves an excellent sweet kachori too; and I’m sure you’ll find it on the menu of almost all Udipi restaurants.
So next time you want to relish your “fast” you know which “fast food” to eat, in addition to the usual sabudana khichadi, sabudana wade and ratalyacha kees.