Delhi, India is well-known as a popular tourist destination and a massive, bustling metropolis that is home to over 11 million people. But Delhi is also a Mecca for food enthusiasts and after spending four days eating my way through the city in February of 2018, I understand why it’s considered one of the best food cities in the world. These are the 35 Indian street food dishes you must try in Delhi, India!
Aloo Tikki is a tasty dish made from mashed potatoes that are stuffed with lentils, cottage cheese, and green beans before they are deep-fried in ghee (a clarified butter that is popular in Indian cuisine). The deep-frying process turns the mashed potatoes into a tasty, spice-filled fritter that is a must-have in Delhi!
Matar samosa is a savory, deep-fried Indian pastry that contains mashed potatoes, green beans, and other vegetables, and is similar to a fried wonton. They’re absolutely delicious, but the filling is usually steaming hot, so don’t burn yourself!
A popular sweet you can find on the streets of Delhi is jalebi, a deep-fried dough that’s formed in a circular pattern, topped with a sugary glaze, and served with a thick, milky sauce. It’s incredibly fatty and loaded with sugar, but that’s what makes it so good!
Kababs is the collective term for various cooked meat dishes from the Middle East that are now popular around the world. Some of Delhi’s best kababs can be found at Qureshi Kabab Corner, where they offer minced chicken, mutton, and buffalo varieties that are tender, rich in spices and full of incredible flavor. The quality of kababs here is on par with what I tasted on the streets of Lahore in Pakistan.
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Dualat Ki Chaat is a localized and seasonal dish that can be found in Old Delhi during the winter months, though it has different names in other cities. It consists of whipping cream, powdered sugar, and pistachios, and is a rich, sweet, fluffy and nutty dessert that’s quite tasty!
Khameeri Roti is a soft, yeasted Mughlai flatbread that is eaten as a snack and served with other dishes. I highly recommend trying it at Al-Jawahar Restaurant along with their Chicken Haleem, Mutton Korma, and Matar Paneer.
Chicken Haleem is a fantastic, slow-cooked Mughlai dish made from minced chicken, which I had at Al-Jawahar Restaurant. The chicken is cooked with wheat, barley, lentils, garam masala, mint, cumin, ginger, and coriander. It’s a little spicy and the slow-cooking process gives the dish a pleasant, paste-like consistency that pairs extremely well with the Khameeri Roti.
Mutton Korma is a fatty and intensely flavorful Mughlai goat curry that I ate as part of a larger meal at Al-Jawahar Restaurant that also consisted of Khameeri Roti, Chicken Haleem, and Matar Paneer. The sauce is rich and tasty and the goat meat is so tender that it falls right off the bone.
Matar Paneer is a North Indian dish that consists of paneer (a non-melting cottage cheese) that is served in a delicious and fatty tomato-based sauce that also contains green peas and garam masala. I had it alongside Khameeri Roti, Chicken Haleem, and Mutton Korma at Al-Jawahar Restaurant.
At Mohd Hussain, the oldest fried chicken shop in Delhi, you’ll find the city’s best fried chicken, which is fresh and lightly battered with chickpea flour, eggs, and spices. It’s served scorching hot and is some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.
Butter chicken is a popular Indian dish that is usually made with a buttery, tomato-based sauce, but the butter chicken at Aslam Chicken Corner skips the tomatoes and serves their tasty, roasted chicken in a rich, flavorful butter. Your waistline may not thank you afterward, but your taste buds certainly will!
Biryani is a mixed rice dish that consists of a layer of rice on the bottom; a layer of meat (chicken, lamb, goat, fish, prawns, buffalo, or even beef), vegetables, egg, or paneer in the middle; and another layer of rice on top. The dish also contains a wonderful gravy that is packed with several signature Indian spices that will make your palette go wild!
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Kheer is a rich and creamy rice pudding that is made with a milk and sugar base and includes either rice, tapioca, broken wheat, or vermicelli noodles. It can be flavored with cardamom, raisins, saffron, pistachios, and more. The pistachios in mine added a nice nuttiness that took this dish to the next level!
Besani is a gluten-free Indian flatbread made of chickpea flour that you can find at Sakahari Restaurant. It’s thin and crispy, almost like a cracker, and is perfect with Malai Kofta.
Malai Kofta is a creamy, vegetarian dish that consists of fried dumpling balls made of potatoes, vegetables, or paneer, in a creamy orange or white sauce. I tried this dish at Sakahari Restaurant along with some besani. Without question, it is one of the top 35 Indian street food dishes you must try in Delhi, India.
Kulfi is a popular frozen dessert that is often referred to as “traditional Indian ice cream.” This cross between ice cream and sorbet comes in many flavors including saffron, cardamom, pistachio, lychee, mango, rose, and pomegranate at Kuremal Mahavir Prasad Kulfiwale, which has been open since 1906!
No list of the 35 Indian street food dishes you must try in Delhi, India is complete without Chai, an Indian tea that is prepared by heating water, adding tea and ginger, and then turning up the heat to a rolling boil. The end result is a boiling hot but refreshing tea that is intensely flavorful and unique to India!
Bedmi Poori is a hollow and fried lentil-stuffed flatbread that is often eaten with Aloo Sabzi. This traditional breakfast bread is made from a dough of soaked lentils, masala, and flour. Bedmi Poori, Aloo Sabzi, and the sweet Nagori Halwa are often eaten together.
Aloo Sabzi is a delicious, light curry made from potatoes, tomato paste, and a mixture of spices that pairs well with Indian flatbreads like pooris, parathas and rotis. It is packed with signature Indian flavors and is sensational when eaten with Bedmi Poori.
Nagori Halwa is a sweet Indian dish that consists of nagori (a small, crispy puri made from semolina and ghee) and suji halwa (a thick, dry porridge made from semolina, sugar, and almonds, and ghee). The two are eaten together and often paired with Aloo Sabzi and Bedmi Poori for an intense savory-and-sweet combination.
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Another Delhi staple is Lotal Ji Chole Kulche, a dish consisting of chickpeas (chole), a soft and fluffy flatbread (kulche), onions, potatoes, tomatoes, aamchur-chutney, garam masala, and more. The ingredients create a spicy and buttery combination that is bursting with Indian flavors that can’t be beat!
Mutton Paaya is a meaty, goat leg curry that is often served with idiyappam (rice noodles), aappam (a fermented rice and coconut pancake), or a dosa (a thin, crispy pancake made with fermented rice and lentil batter). This tender, flavorful, and fatty delicacy is often eaten for breakfast and is without question one of the 35 Indian street food dishes you must try in Delhi, India.
Mutton Nihari is an Indian stew made of slow-cooked lamb or goat shanks and bone marrow that originated in either Old Delhi or Hyderabad in the late 18th century. This tasty dish is thought of as a delicacy and is known for its spiciness and rich flavors and is popular among Muslims in Delhi.
Indian goat curry is a succulent dish that is cooked in a spicy gravy that has many regional variations and contains turmeric, green chilies, ginger, garlic, garam masala, and more. The cooking process tenderizes the meat so much that it melts in your mouth. It’s one of the best goat dishes I’ve ever had!
India is well-known for its many varieties of flatbread, which include sheermal, a traditional, mildly sweet, saffron-flavored naan. This dish, originally from the city of Lucknow, also contains warm milk, sugar, and cardamom.
Another Indian flatbread, Lachcha Paratha is a soft, flaky, and multi-layered flatbread that is made using a 1:1 ration of wheat and all-purpose flour. The paratha is then brushed with butter and can be eaten with a variety of dishes and curries. Its diversity alone makes it one of the 35 Indian street food dishes you must try in Delhi, India!
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Rabri is a rich, dairy dessert that is made by thickening condensed milk until it turns pinkish in color. Sugar, spices, and nuts are then added to the milk mixture, which is then served chilled and makes for a refreshing treat under the hot Indian sun!
One of the best culinary experiences you can have in Delhi is trying the buffalo biryani at Mohd Tofiq, a stall located in the city’s winding backstreets. The tender, juicy, and fatty buffalo meat, combined with the rice, spices, and gravy, creates a mouthwatering mix of flavors that will have you addicted from the very first bite.
Chole Bhature is a chickpea-based Punjabi dish that is essentially a combination of chana masala (spicy white chickpeas) and bhatura (a bread made from maida, a soft wheat flour). It can also contain onions, green chutney, and pickled vegetables. I recommend having it with a large puri!
In addition to curries and flatbreads, India is also known for its sweets, which include Coconut Burfi, a treat that is typically made during the Holi, Diwali, and Navrati festivals. This burfi contains freshly grated coconut and traditionally is made with milk and sugar, though there are dairy-free varieties available.
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Sev Badam Burfi is another traditional Indian sweet made from a mixture of water, milk, and sugar that is brought to a boil. This sweet, nutty treat also contains sev (crunchy chickpea noodles), a dairy product called mawa, nuts, and more. Once the mixture thickens and cools, it is cut into small bars and served.
Another popular Indian sweet that can be found on the streets of Delhi is Karachi Halwa, a chewy, saccharine treat made with corn flour, ghee, sugar, and chopped pistachios and cashews. Like burfi, the mixture is cooked, poured into a pan, and cut once it cools and thickens. This sweet is very popular during Diwali!
Gujiya is a sweet, deep-fried pastry or dumpling that is made with maida or semolina and stuffed with a mixture of sweetened mawa and dried fruit.
Lassi is a traditional yogurt drink that comes in many flavors and varieties. It is essential while trying Indian street food, as many local dishes contain a fiery heat that slowly builds as you eat. The casein (milk protein) in the lassi counteracts the spice and helps cool your mouth down, so it’s both flavorful and functional!
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Fire Paan is a much more extreme version of the street food dish called paan, which consists of an areca nut, spices, and more wrapped inside a betel leaf. While paan is used as a stimulant and palette cleanser, Fire Paan is a version that is lit on fire by the vendor and shoved into their customers’ open mouths. It’s bizarre and smoky and isn’t for the faint of heart, but it definitely makes for a fun memory!
And there you have it! Those are the 35 Indian street food dishes you must try in Delhi, India. They’re the foods I couldn’t stop thinking about and made my mouth water, the ones that made me want to dive even deeper into Indian cuisine. The next time you find yourself in the Indian capital, be sure to sample these exceptional dishes. Big thanks to Delhi Food Walks for taking me on these epic food tours! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! Let me know what you thought about them in the comments below!