How The Indian National Congress Gave Bengaluru Its Peanut Snack
Image Credit: Hariom Sweets

In 1969, a schism in the Indian National Congress cleaved it into two factions: one led by K. Kamaraj, known as INC (O), and the other by Indira Gandhi, dubbed INC (R). This political division birthed a humorous moniker for a peanut snack. The groundnut, inherently split in two, mirrored the party's split, giving rise to the name 'Congress Kadlekai.'

Another narrative, perhaps woven into political folklore, suggests that during the Emergency period, this snack became a staple at party meetings, further cementing its association with the name "Congress Kadlekai."

The Congress Kadlekai's origins, laced with political wit, are as intriguing as its taste. The credit for this recipe goes to Srinivasa Brahmin Bakery in Gandhi Bazar, a bustling hub in Bengaluru's heart. Faced with a Maida Quota system in the late 60s, the bakery added this delicious snack to boost sales.

Iyengar Bakeries and Condiment shops in Bengaluru, a city with a rich bakery tradition dating back to 1898, also offer a variant called KBC (Khara Bun Congress). This freshly baked masala bun, buttered and stuffed with Congress Kadlekai, marries the snack's spicy flavor with the softness of bread.

Congress Kadlekai also finds its way into Churumuri, a popular Karnataka street food, adding an extra layer of flavor. For a twist, it's transformed into Congress Masala, a chaat mixing the snack with tomato, grated carrots, lime juice, coriander, and onion. This dish exemplifies the snack's versatility and its deep-rooted connection to Bengaluru's culinary and political history.

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Here's how to make Congress Kadlekai at home:

Image Credits: Neelam Foodland


  • 500g raw peanuts
  • 1 tsp asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 tbsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp curry leaves, finely chopped 
  • 3 tbsp oil 
  • Salt to taste


  • Roast the peanuts in a pan until they turn golden brown. Let them cool, then remove the skins.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add the asafoetida and curry leaves, frying them until they become aromatic.
  • Add the roasted peanuts to the pan. Mix well.Sprinkle red chili powder, turmeric, and salt over the peanuts. 
  • Stir thoroughly to ensure the peanuts are evenly coated with the spices. Let the mixture cool down before storing it in an airtight container.

This snack is not only a part of Bengaluru's culinary heritage but also a testament to its political past. It can be added to Churumuri or made into a chaat called Congress Masala, by mixing it with tomato, grated carrots, lime juice, coriander, and onion. Goes well with beer and any similar alcohol based beverage.