If you ask a Delhiite what are two things that really stand out for them about the city, it would be the rich history and the mouth-watering food. Now, I have to admit this blog sure got me in a tizzy. It’s tough being born in a city which offers such a rich diversity of cuisines, add to that the fact I’m Punjabi, and boy do we love to eat! Delhi is a melting pot of various cultures and races who enrich the variety of the gastronomic range in the city.From Chandni Chowk to Majnu ka Tilla, Delhi is replete with many culinary delights. So without any further ado, I present to you my list of top 10 famous dishes of Delhi.
From being the perfect start to a “healthy” morning in most Delhi households, to a meal for hungry college students and even a late-night snack, paranthas are definitely on the top of the list when it comes to my favorite food in Delhi. Choose from a plain one or select a stuffing of your choice – potatoes, cauliflower, radish, eggs, keema, bananas or even last night’s left over dal – the options are galore.
Where can I try this dish? Paranthe Wali Gali in Chandni Chowk, whose past customers include the likes of Maharajah of Kashmir and even Prime Minister Nehru and his family; Moolchand Parathe Wala located in South Delhi was SRK’s favorite when he used to live in Delhi.
If there is one thing that keeps the Delhi food scene ticking it’s the Street Food. With a variety that is unmatched, eating on the streets of Delhi is a crash course in the history and culture of the place. Chandni Chowk is undoubtedly the Street Food Capital of Delhi, and while no guide book can actually pinpoint the best places for Chaat, there are some landmark food haunts that really stand out. Of course, if you aren’t willing to travel that far, fret not for there are plenty of options for street food in Delhi.
Where can I try the dish? UPSC building, Shahjahan Road; Bittu Tikki Wala, Karol Bagh; Daulat ki Chaat, Chandni Chowk; Natraj Dahi Bhalle Wala, Chandni Chowk
3. Butter Chicken
Here’s an interesting story about the origin of one of the most gratifying dishes on this planet. It originated in the 1950s in Moti Mahal Restaurant, Daryaganj, a neighbourhood skirting the Walled City. Known for its Tandoori Chicken, the cooks there accidentally tossed the sauce consisting of butter, tomato and chicken juices with tandoori chicken pieces; the rest is history. Today, this dish can be found in almost every non-vegetarian restaurant and highway dhabas and is best enjoyed with rice or naan.
Where can I try this dish? Moti Mahal, Daryaganj; Havemore, Pandara Road
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Whoever thought grilled chunks of meat or fish marinated in aromatic Indian spices couldn’t give you joy should think again. While we Delhiites have a lot to be thankful for to the Mughals, Kebabs are one of them. Whether it is Kebabs being delivered to your car, a quintessentially Delhi experience, to food stalls and fine dining restaurants across the city, try this popular dish and you will be hooked forever.
Where can I try this dish? Alkakori Alkauser, R K Puram; Ustad Moinuddin Kebabs, Lal Kuan; Ghalib Kebab Corner, Nizamuddin; Salim’s Kebabs, Khan Market; Aap Ki Khatir, SDA
5. Chole Bhature
Here’s a piece of advice: This dish is best enjoyed on an empty stomach. Rich, spicy and heavy, this is one of the most popular Punjabi dishes and is definitely on my list of top 10 must-try dishes in Delhi. Don’t be surprised if you find it on the breakfast menu of restaurants across the capital. You can find this lip smacking dish at all food joints, be it local joints or restaurants, given its popularity with delhiites. It is generally accompanied with Lassi.
Where can I try this dish? Sitaram Diwan Chand, Paharganj; Chache Di Hatti Kamla Nagar
A favourite of the Mughal Emperors, the Biryani has stood the test of time and is today enjoyed all over India. This poultry or meat based dish is prepared in an earthen pot and the lid is sealed with dough so that the spices, flavours and aromas are soaked in. The Biryani experiences in Delhi vary from the commercial chains and road side dhabas, to the Sufi shrines and five-star hotels.
Where can I try this dish? Dum Pukht in ITC Maurya; Al Kakori Al Kauser, R K Puram, Deez Biryani & Kebabs, Defence Colony
As you enter Old Delhi and walk into the serpentine lanes, you can’t help but be drawn to the aroma of one of the region’s signature delicacies, the Nihari. This rich, spicy broth of slow cooked meat is served alongside hot tandoori rotis or preferably khameeri rotis. The dish was a favourite within the royal families, who used to feast on it in the mornings. Today it serves as the ideal nourishment for labourers, rickshaw pullers, coolies and many others looking to kick start their day.
Where can I try this dish? Bara Hindu Rao area; Karim’s near Jama Masjid
Ok, so we aren’t going to take the credit away from Kolkata, where the original Kathi roll recipe was developed, but Delhi has its own delicious variants. From street stalls offering a variety of rolls, to supermarkets stocking up on frozen options and even the posh Delhi restaurants, Kathi rolls are a befitting food option for busy Delhiites on the go.
Where can I try this dish? Nizam’s, Connaught Place; Khan Chacha, Khan Market; Qureshi’s Kabab Corner, South Extension-II
This one bags the prize for being one of the most popular snacks, be it in office complexes, birthdays or even cocktail parties. It is not uncommon to find vendors outside almost every office building, housing area and market place selling Momos. These tasty dumplings are available in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options and are enjoyed with the fiery-red sauce.
Where can I try this dish? Kamla Nagar Market; Nagaland Food Stall in Dilli Haat; Sikkim House, Panchsheel Marg; Cafe Brown Sugar, GK market; Yashwant Complex, Chanakya Puri, Majnu ka Tilla, North Campus.
You are probably familiar with this line used across all Delhi households “Khaane ke baad kuch meetha ho jaye” (“Let’s eat something sweet after a meal”). With the extensive variety of desserts offered in the capital, it is hard to say no. From the piping-hot Jalebis and lip-smacking Rabri Falooda, to innovative Kulfis in flavours like Custard Apple, Tamarind and Aam Papad, the delicious Motichoor Ladoo made from pure desi ghee and Blueberry Cheesecake; Delhi sure loves its sweets!
Where can I try this dish? Giani di Hatti, Chandni Chowk; Old and Famous Jalebiwala in Chandni Chowk who has served celebrities like Late Raj Kapoor and Indira Gandhi; Kuremal Mohan Lal Kulfiwala, Chandni Chowk; Big Chill Cafe, Khan Market; Ghantewala Halwai, Chandni Chowk