Baati Chokha

Varanasi is famous for its baati chokha - a traditional meal popular all across Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Balls of unleavened bread stuffed with daal, onions, peas or sattu (powdered roasted gram), are baked on wood fires and eaten with the chokha (traditionally made with potato, tomato and roasted aubergine) as the accompaniment. It is said that since baati was such a simple dish many freedom fighters like Tantia Tope and Rani Laxmi Bai made it their travel meal. It haedly needed any water and could be baked without a utensil. Moreover, it was packed with nutrients like carbohydrates, calcium, proteins and vitamins.

Lassi

Lassi, the popular yogurt based drink is a most pleasing way to end a typical Varanasi breakfast. It is traditionally served in a kullhad (earthen glass) with a thick topping of cream often flavoured with rose water and generously garnished with condiments like cardamom et cetera.

Lassi

Kachori

This spicy snack is a mainstay of north Indian food and is especially popular in Varanasi. These round flattened balls of fine flour filled with a flavourful filling of daal (lentils) and spices are traditionally served with an accompaniment of spicy chutney. The best place to eat hot and crispy kachoris is the Kachori Gali near the Vishwanath Mandir.

Chaat

This savoury snack, a popular hors d'oeuvre all across India, originated in Uttar Pradesh. Varanasi is home to a wide variety of chaats with a great variety of ingredients – whether it be chopped tomatoes with spices or crispy fried spinach, served with curd, sev, served with a sweet tamarind chutney or a spicy green chutney.

Chaat

Banarasi Paan

Paan, or betel leaf rolled with areca nut and other condiments is very popular in Varanasi. The makers of the “Banarasi paan” have refined and elaborated the process to an art-form. One cannot truly be said to have visited Varanasi without having tasted the heavenly flavours of the justly famous Banarasi paan. To make this delicious paan, the betel leaves are first cleaned. The betel nuts are soaked in water to remove their astrigency. The Kattha (food additive) is dipped into water and then after a few days it is soaked in milk. It is then boiled and left to decant. After sometime, it is tied into clothes and pressed hard to remove its astringency. This Kattha is then churned and it is a speciality of Varanasi. The tobacco used in the paan is yellow or plain tobacco. And that is how the delectable paan of Benaras is crafted.

Banarasi Paan