The east Delhi branch of Fateh ki Kachori is keeping the family flag flying, with the original in Civil Lines being as good as it was in the 70s
Friends came home the other evening, carrying home-cooked mutton biryani. I was a bit unhappy with their offering — not because I didn’t like the biryani, but because I missed their matra — a simple dish of white peas that is their speciality. I made do with the biryani (and it was delicious), but the next day I went on to surf the Net for matra. Not just any matra — that of Fateh kachoriwallah.
A foodie column-reader had told me a while ago that Fateh ki Kachori — known across the city — now had a branch in east Delhi. To my joy, I discovered that the kachori was being home delivered, with matra-kulcha.
Fateh is an old favourite of mine. Decades ago, the old man — now, alas, no more — would stand next to his cycle outside St Xavier’s School in Civil Lines. On the cycle were his home-cooked kachoris that he’d top with boiled matra after sprinkling some masalas over it. This would be garnished with onions and green chillies, topped with chutney and then adorned with thin slivers of ginger and fresh coriander leaves. We used to line up for the crisp snack.
Fateh ki Kachori now has a branch in Krishna Nagar (Shop no 20, South Anarkali, Som Bazaar Chowk, open from 8.30 am to 5 pm, phone numbers: 8766261945 and 8505918204). Run by his nephew Rahul, this is a small shop which serves the old-styled kachori and has started delivering through various food apps.
Apart from the matra-kachoris (₹30), he serves kulcha and matra (₹30), too. The menu includes aloo kulchey (₹30) and tawa fried mattar-kulcha (₹50). They charge ₹30 for a dona of extra matra and ₹10 for a pat of Amul butter. I asked for some kachoris and three plates of tawa fried mattar-kulcha.
I had feared that the kachoris would be soggy by the time they arrived at my doorstep. It goes without saying that eating a kachori at the spot where it is being assembled cannot come close to eating it later at home. Surprisingly, they were deliciously crunchy, even though it was topped with a mash of matra. A sweet-and-tart sauce came with it, and I added a dollop on top. Bliss!
The kulchas were soft and spongy, and the matra was hot — the green chillies in the dish looked innocuous but were not — and delicious. Some of the peas had been mashed to bind the matra together, lending it a mix of soft and firm textures. The matra had been spiced well, but did not overwhelm the tastebuds.
Fateh’s counter is still in Civil Lines — and may it blossom — but I am happy that there is a representative in our part of town, too.
For many Delhi-ites, Fateh was an institution. I know some students of St Xavier’s who spent more time by the cycle than in their classrooms. I last went to Fateh’s some years ago, and found that the food was as good as ever.
I am happy to conclude that if the friends come with mutton biryani again, I have no reason to mope: Fateh’s matra-kachori is just a phone call away.
The writer is a seasoned food critic