The Congress Bun has an interesting story behind the name and is now pretty much part of Jayanagar and Bangalore folklore. I found this at VB Bakery, an old Bangalore bakery situated at the start of Thindi Beedi in Basavangudi. The famous khau galli or food street of the area. I was going to Thindi Beedi for a Gobhi Manchuriam Roll?? (which by the way is such a Bangalore thingi to do and I will take this up in another post). And stopped at VB Bakery to check out their wares. Once I lay my eyes on the Khara Congress Bun, I could look no further
Subbamma Stores and the Congress Kadalakai
Before we go deeper into the history of Congress Bun, it’s important to touch upon Subbamma Stores which’s now called Srinivasa Condiment Stores, situated in Gandhi Bazaar. It’s widely believed that Subbamma Stores is behind the now famous recipe of the Congress kadalakai (peanuts). The general folklore around the name’s that the name was kept because of the split in the Congress party in 1969. The Congress kadalakai is made from split peanuts. When Indira Gandhi separated her part of the Congress from the more right-wing-leaning old guard led by Moraji Desai and S Nijalingappa. I think the name Congress Kadalakai was kept more in jest to highlight the political going-ons of that time. Though I’ve seen another ‘politically correct’ YouTube version in which it was said that the name signified something tasty and good, just like the Congress
The Congress kadalakai is very specific make of peanuts. In which they’re shelled and the outer covering removed and split into two. It’s flavoured with asafoetida, pepper, chilly, salt and turmeric, which gives it, its trademark yellow colour. This’s quite a tasty masala mix and is quite addictive
The Khara Congress Bun at VB Bakery
The KCB is 100% Bangalore invention and I personally think goes one up on the Irani Bun Maska. As it adds a layer of addictive crunch of the peanuts in between. Bun, lotsa butter and the split Congress peanuts in between. Appah! What a combination. I don’t think VB Bakery buys their Congress Kadalakai from Subbamma Stores. I think they have their own production unit, but I could be wrong about this. It’s one of the pioneers of the bakery scene at Bangalore and possibly the precursor to the now famous Iyengar bakeries, found all over. It’s believed that the owner of VB Bakery learnt how to make bread from an Englishman. Post this there was no looking back
If you’re in Jayanagar and around. A visit to VB Bakery for their Khara Congress Bun is a must. More details here.
Here’s a recipe on how to make this https://www.archanaskitchen.com/congress-buns-recipe
Happy hunting and Chowder-on!!