Hot Breakfast: What Is The Jhol In Varanasi’s Chana Kachori?
Image Credit: Chana Jhol Kachori

Once the hot and crispy bites are out of the kadhai, there is no looking back. Rajasthan is known for their dal and pyaaz ki kachori, while many parts of Uttar Pradesh (UP) also enjoy the bite-sized versions of these kachoris, loaded with chickpeas and more, for breakfast.

For the unversed, kachoris are a deep-fried, puffed bread that can be stuffed with lentils, vegetables, and other spices. Usually paired with sweet and tangy chutneys, the kachori is given a wholesome makeover with a hot potato curry on the side, at times. This is a classic breakfast in many parts of north India, like UP, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh. However, the one city that boasts an interesting variety is Varanasi.

Their chana jhol kachoris are lesser-known outside the holy city and more familiar with the locals. The lanes surrounding the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) are thronged by food carts selling these bites early in the morning. The aroma of freshly fried kachoris tantalises the taste buds of passers-by and makes it difficult not to stop and take a dig at them. Called chana jhol kachori, we wonder what the jhol is all about.

Jhol, in Hindi, refers to a tricky situation or thing. It means that there is some hidden loophole that isn’t visible at the surface. Well, given the way these kachoris are made, the only loophole that we could identify was the way one gets addicted to the crispiness of the kachoris and isn’t able to stop at one.

How are they made, you ask? The mini kachoris are stuffed with boiled and tossed potatoes. Wrapped inside a maida dough, the kachoris are given a round shape and then deep-fried in preheated oil. Once done, the kachoris are crushed slightly and flattened to be spread on a plate and later, are topped with chickpeas (chana) masala, along with mint-coriander and tamarind chutney. Garnished with sliced onions, the dish looks irresistible. 

While one may find them being served for breakfast in the morning, you can also find them in the evenings at certain areas in the city as a quick snack to satiate hunger pangs. Capturing the essence of chatpata flavours that are prevalent across UP’s cuisine, the chana jhol kachori has a delicious jhol waiting for you to unveil.