Straight Oota, Bengaluru: The Basavanagudi Origins Of Spicy Congress Kadlekai Snack

The history of the Congress Kadlekai – Bengaluru’s staple peanut snack – is intricately intertwined with the culinary heritage of Karnataka. First gaining popularity and its catchy name due to its association with the Indian National Congress party, which had a significant presence in Karnataka during the time when an estrangement between party representatives – K. Kamaraj and Indira Gandhi led to the party splitting into two factions.

Image Credits: AM Bakers

While the exact origin isn’t definitively documented, the street food culture flourished in Bengaluru during the 20th century, when vendors began offering various snacks to cater to the tastes of the local populace. Peanuts were a common ingredient available by the plenty around the region, and the timely political folklore became almost metaphorical for a peanut splitting into two halves. As street food sellers began experimenting with different spice blends to create unique and flavoursome snacks, ‘Congress Kadlekai’ originated as a humorous nod to the INC.

In Bengaluru, the Sreenivasa Brahmins Bakery in Basavangudi has been credited for formulating the standard recipe of the popular snack at a time when they were faced with a rationing system for all-purpose flour during the 60’s. In a bid to boost sales when there was a shortage of baked food items, the spicy kadlekai held the attention of its patrons.

As a cherished part of Karnataka’s culinary heritage, the snack serves as a crunchy accompaniment to a leisurely evening, spicing up conversations surrounding tea time rituals. Some stories also suggest that the masala peanut snack was served at party meetings of the Congress during the period of Emergency, thereby affirming an association that was more than just political.

Also Read: 

With time, the kadlekai evolved into being a key element in an adjacent snack called the Khara Bun Congress – a freshly baked and buttered bun stuffed with masala peanuts. Juxtaposing the crunch with the pillowy softness of the bread, the Congress Kadlekai is also integral to Karnataka’s street food offering – the Congress Masala, made using tomatoes, carrots, onions and fresh coriander. Get to know more about the history behind the delicious foods of Basavangudi, by signing up for Slurrp’s Breakfast Food Trail. Find the details to book your slot on Slurrp’s Basavanagudi Breakfast Food Trail below.

Date: 29 June 2024 

Timings: 7:30AM - 11:15AM

How To Register: Click here

For further information, keep an eye out on our website and our Instagram.