Diana Penty's Weekend Adventure Sees Kachori And Pethas In Agra

Agra is a city steeped in history and culture but along with the majesty of the Taj Mahal, it’s just as renowned for its amazing food. This weekend, Bollywood star Diana Penty has been exploring the wonders of the city and along the way, she decided to try out some of the rich culinary favourites. 

She’s shared a photo dump of her weekend adventures on Instagram which shows her in a white kurta out and about the city. She also took the time to stop and enjoy some famous Agra-style Kachori, known as bedmi or bedai, with a spicy aloo gravy. This traditional breakfast, commonly found at street vendors, comprises two distinct components: one with a spicy touch and the other with a sweet indulgence. The bedai (sometimes also spelled as "berahi") is a deep-fried, airy bread, akin to kachori, accompanied by a bowl of zesty green sabzi adorned with chunks of potato and a dollop of dahi. It’s usually also accompanied by some fresh hot jalebis, for a sweet end to the dish.

Video Credits: Ajay Chopra/YouTube

But for her sweet tooth, Penty decided instead to try out the famous Agra Ka Petha. The dish goes back over 400 years to the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan. It’s said that workers who were building the Taj Mahal reportedly tired of eating only dal and roti asked for something different and the head architect contrived pethas as a result. Another legend says that Shah Jehan asked his famed chefs for a dessert that was as white and pure as the Taj, and they gave him pethas in return.

The cherished sweet treat is crafted from the ash gourd (white pumpkin) expertly carved into bite-sized chunks and immersed in a solution of lime (calcium hydroxide) for several hours. After removing the gourd pieces from the lime solution, they are meticulously boiled until tender and then steeped in a luscious syrup infused with various flavours. The resulting confection has a chewy, crystalline texture with an almost moist, sticky interior and a sugar-coated exterior. This particular petha is synonymous with Agra. 

Penty, a known foodie, seemed to relish these two Agra specialities and in the comments, one user asked the all-important question, “Agra ka petha or kachori?” and without hesitation, she replied, “Kachori”. So it seems like the award-winning actress has chosen the savoury over the sweet this time, and Agra’s unique bedai kachori is a clear favourite.