Jaipur: Think of this Rajasthani capital, think of food, and it's a dead heat between dal bati churma for a meal and pyaz ki kachori or (onion kachori) - a spicy round flattened ball made of refined flour and filled with onions, garlic and potatoes.
Soaring onion prices - it sells for around Rs.70 a kilo against Rs.30 a month ago - have had nary an impact and the savoury is flying off the shelves as quickly as it comes out of the frying pan.
Arguably, there is no better place to gorge on these hot onion filled kachoris than at the Rawat Misthan Bhandar in the walled city.
The outlet claims to have "invented" these kachoris many years ago and they have become so famous that any visit to Jaipur is considered incomplete without Rawat's kachoris - otherwise you're certainly missing out on a quintessential element of the Pink City.
Each kachori, usually the size of a quarterplate costs Rs.25 and goes well with tea, coffee or sweet lassi (sweet buttermilk). Considered a favourite teatime snack, the Rawat kichori is eaten at just about any time of the day (even before and after a full meal).
"Three of the things which are a necessary part of the kachori - onion, garlic and red chilli - are grown in our farm near Jodhpur. Even the groundnut oil we use to fry these kachoris is brought in from Gujarat in tankers, " Bhudev Deora, managing director of the Rawat Group, of which Rawat Mishthan Bhandar is a part said.
Deora said that the unique part of kachori here is the taste and aroma. Then, it is not served with mint or tamarind sauce as "we want to offer true taste of kachoris to our consumers. Moreover, such is the flavour of these kachoris that a chutney or sauce is not needed."
Rawat Mishtan Bhandar started selling these kachoris in Jaipur from 1972 and since then there has been no looking back. The kachoris are served from 6 a.m. right till 10 p.m. into the night and one can see long queues of people eagerly waiting for the lip-smacking snack.
The kachoris are not only popular within the country but are now also travelling halfway across the world with increasing demands coming from countries like Singapore, Dubai and the US.
"These kachoris have become so popular that people come to us enquiring about the shelf life as they want to take them abroad," Deora said, adding that the average shelf life of a kachori is 30 hours but if it is kept in a deep freezer, then it can last three-to-four days. "So people nowadays take them to Singapore, Dubai, USA and UK and eat them after re-heating them in a microwave oven," he added.
A staff of over 200 is dedicated to this culinary art, working from 5 a.m. in the morning late into night.
"Eating these kachoris hot is just out of this world. You just cannot wait to have them coming to you straight from the pot," young executive Ramesh Gulati said.
"When we were coming to Jaipur we were told to try Rawat ki kachori; so we are here and really we would have missed something from our itinerary if we would not have eaten this snack. It is amazingly tasty," said Puja, a visitor from Mumbai.
Besides kachoris, the outlet is famous for its makhania lassi (sweet buttermilk with lots of butter and no water) served chilled.
Served chilled, it comes for Rs.40 in a pre-packed disposable glass.