Ravi Chaat

Gol Darwaza, behind Chowk Kotwali

Ravi tells us that his grandfather used to make and sell only batasha. Made of a dough containing a definite proportion of whole-wheat flour and semolina, the crisp pastry would melt in the mouth. This feature is still in place. In the decade of the 1980s, Ravi’s father extended the line to pani-batasha. Ravi’s grandmother used to freshly prepare four varieties of the savoury sauce, and claimed that all of these were good for health. Today there are 14 flavours. Each flavor is distinct—powdered mango, raw mango, ginger, mint, black salt, fennel, lime, caraway, chilli pepper and asafoetida. More than one may be mixed to generate a new flavour. The matar to be stuffed in the batasha takes 5 hours to prepare. Ravi says nobody else serves matar like his outlet’s. Many celebrities have visited him. When Ravi dispenses the panibatasha himself, he does so with a flourish. The ‘ada’ is as much appreciated by the people of Lucknow as the taste of the panibatasha. Ravi says that if his goods are well made, he is certain to be well paid. 10 batashas cost ₹30. He was overjoyed when his picture was published in the Times of India—it is a memorable moment for him.