Delhi’s love for food might lead you from little back streets to well-known restaurants, but there are a few timeless classic dishes of Delhi that are widespread. If you ask a Delhiite what two factors about the city stand out to them, they will say the rich history and delicious food. From budget-friendly versions of these well-known food options to fine dining hall expensive restaurants, Delhi’s love affair with these foods has no bounds. If you enjoy all things scrumptiously, you will appreciate these foods as much as Delhi does. Below is a list of timeless classic dishes of Delhi- The All-Time Stars.
Timeless Classic Dishes of Delhi
- Chicken Pakodas at Moti Mahal Delux, Greater Kailash-I, M-Block Market:
The restaurant’s signature classic dish in Delhi is butter chicken, but the chicken pakoras win the popularity race by a mile.
- Butter Chicken at Havemore, Pandara Road Market:
Butter Chicken at havemore is delicious but don’t go for boneless chicken; the meat can be fibrous. If you’re a vegetarian, dig into the soya chaamp ki sabzi.
Here’s a little story – Butter Chicken originated in the 1950s in the Moti Mahal Restaurant in Daryaganj, a district on the outskirts of Delhi. The chefs at this restaurant, which is known for its Tandoori Chicken, accidentally mixed the sauce, which consisted of butter, tomato, and chicken juices, with tandoori chicken pieces, and the rest is history. This meal is served with rice or naan and can be found in practically every non-vegetarian restaurant and highway Dhabas today.
- Kashmiri Kebabs at Gulati, Pandara Road Market:
There’s nothing Kashmiri about the kebabs. These are chicken malai tikkas quilted in chickpea paste and egg yolk. Whether it’s Kebabs delivered to your car, a typically Delhi experience, or food carts and fine dining restaurants throughout the city, once you try this famous dish, you’ll be hooked for life.
- Dab Chingri at Fire, The Park, CP:
If you wish to win a Bengali heart, go for this heart-winning prawn in coconut milk and mustard curry that comes in a green coconut shell.
- Gushtaba at Chor Bizarre, Hotel Broadway, Asaf Ali Road:
This is the closest you’d get to Kashmiri food as your mother-in-law would make it, though we prefer the rista made in the Pandit style. Veggies must have the Tamatar Chaman (tomato paneer). Gushtaba is a traditional Kashmiri non-vegetarian dish. Tender meatballs cooked in a flavourful yogurt gravy.
- Chicken Haldighati at Colonel’s Kebabs, Defence Colony Market:
Once you have eaten this classic dish of Delhi, you’ll forget all the rare chicken dishes you’ve had in your life.
- Nargisi Kofta at Karim’s, Jama Masjid:
It’s difficult to figure out what’s the best at Karim’s, but this one scores because of the fineness of the preparation.
- Pakistani Biryani at DeeZ Biryani & Kababs:
The biryani is preserved with just enough water to keep it moist, and the utensil (handi) is sealed with a dough paste. The steam generated by the heat in the sealed vessel gently cooks the biryani. This mouth-watering delicacy of Delhi is the ideal blend of flavors, it can be easily recognized by its unique aroma. However, this Pakistani biryani, we are told, is cooked in the Sindhi style and is a timeless classic dish of Delhi. We suspect they use packed masala from Pakistan. Whatever it is, it tastes delicious.
- Mutton Mince at St Stephen’s, Delhi University:
Stephanians get misty-eyed at the thought of this essential part of their callow youth. It’s worth a try, you won’t regret it.
- Kosha Mansho at Oh Calcutta, Nehru Place:
Kolkata’s favorite mutton dish takes on the zest of Delhi to become something special. Have it with loochis, or pooris made with maida, it tastes heavenly. It is a spicy Bengali mutton curry. This classic dish uses juicy mutton chunks, an onion, tomato, yogurt, and a variety of spices as a base. The gravy has a good flavor and goes well with pulao or loochis.
- Mutton Barra at Bukhara, ITC Maurya, Diplomatic Enclave:
People love the ones at Moti Mahal or Karim’s, but our vote goes to Bukhara’s barras because they are uniformly well-marinated.
- Nihari at Bara Hindu Rao Area:
You can’t help but be lured to the scent of one of the classic dishes of Delhi, the Nihari, as you approach Old Delhi and wander through the serpentine lanes. This thick, spicy broth made from slow-cooked meat is eaten with hot tandoori rotis or, better yet, khameeri rotis. The meal was a favorite of the royal family, who would eat it first thing in the morning. It is now the go-to breakfast for laborers, rickshaw drivers, coolies, and a slew of other people who want to kick start their day. It is enjoyed by all.