Delhi is known as much for its history and heritage as it is for its food. A trip to Delhi would be incomplete without indulging yourself. The food in Delhi features an eclectic mix of desi fare which is heavily influenced by Mughal cuisine. There are many options right from street-side food stalls to fine dining restaurants in Delhi.
The ‘Paranthe wali Gali’, markets around Jama Masjid and Nizamuddin Dargah, and Old Delhi are some of the places known for the delicacies they have on offer. We list some must-have dishes that you cannot afford to miss when in the capital.
Haleem, also known as ‘khichra’ was prepared during special occasions in the royal kitchen. It is a stew made from wheat or rice, barley, lentils, and meat by slow cooking the mixture for about 7-8 hours. This is what gives the Haleem its signature consistency and taste. The long cooking time makes the meat tender and fall off the bone. Haleem features on the menu of almost all the restaurants in New Delhi.
Murgh Musallam is a dish that had a prime place on the tables of the Mughal rulers, particularly Muhammad Bin Tughlaq. It is known to be a staple of the Awadhi Mughal families. The dish consists of a whole chicken cooked in spices along with tomato, spices, ginger and egg. Some versions of this dish even feature a cashew gravy. Murgh Musallam is best had with a Roti fresh from the Tandoor!
These delicacies, based on grilled meat, can be had as starters as well as snacks. There are different types of kebabs based on the marination, ingredients used and the preparation method. Some of the famous varieties are Boti Kebab, Reshmi Kebab, Sheesh Kebab, Shami Kebab, and Tikka Kebab. Besides, restaurants in New Delhi often give their own twists to the traditional kebabs. The Murgh Malai Kebab- a Chicken kebab served with cream and cheese, a signature offering at the Jamavar in Leela Palace New Delhi is worthy of mention.
It is a common misconception that Mughals did not eat vegetarian food. The Navratna Kurma is a testimony to that. ‘Navratna’ meaning the nine gems, stands for the nine vegetables that are typically used in the preparation of this dish. This gravy features nuts and Paneer along with the vegetables. It is also garnished with cream at times. A piping hot kulcha or a ‘puri’ is all you need to go with the Navratna Korma.
Kulfi, meaning a covered cup in Persian is a frozen dessert that originated in the 16th-century Mughal Empire. It is made with thickened milk, seasoned with saffron and pistachios frozen in metal cones. It can be had on its own or along with falooda.
This rich dessert, often considered the ‘king of desserts’ is a festive staple in India. Having its roots in the Mughlai kitchen, it is a creamy pudding made from rice or bread, condensed milk and seasoned with dry fruits and cardamom.
When it comes to food, the Jamavar, an Indian speciality restaurant at the Leela Palace New Delhi, is a must-try. It is counted among the best fine dining restaurants in New Delhi. The interiors are done up lavishly and complement the Indian theme of the restaurant. The fine dining restaurant serves up excellent Mughlai and Indian fare curated by some of the best chefs of the country.