A Foodie's Guide to the 7 Agra Famous Food
Agra is foodies’ paradise. A rich variety of dishes from the Mughal era and the authenticity of the pure old-world Indian food leaves the vegetarian and non-vegetarian traveler equally satiated. This is one place that has retained the recipes from the Mughal era, many of which are out of circulation elsewhere.There are food joints in Agra operating from the 19th century and are still serving mouth-watering food. Food mixed with history is a heady concoction, one to remember for a lifetime. Agra is never complete without a mention of Petha, its original sweet dish. We are going to cover 7 best dishes in Agra on a list. Hop on!
Petha is synonymous to Agra. One of the most iconic foods of Agra. It is one of the most popular street foods in Agra. Available in a variety of distinct flavors from Paan to Kesar, this sweet is addictive. You’ll never stop wanting more.To everyone’s surprise, Petha is prepared from white pumpkin also called ash gourd brought from the state of Maharashtra, and mixed with nuts to impart a unique taste. Two different consistencies Petha is loved in, are dry and hard and the soft and juicy varieties. Panchi Petha at Hari Parvat crossing is the most visited shop and has umpteen varieties to take back home.
Mughal invasions left their mark as much on food, as they did on the landscape of this city. A lot of dishes, mostly meat-based, rich and flavored with strong spices and dried fruits, are reminders of their rich tastes. The Mughlai parathas, Haleem, Mughal Nahari, Pasandey and Paye, etc are some of the best Mughlai dishes in Agra.
Haleem is the meat super slow-cooked in lentils and spices, a breakfast dish, highly nutritious, filling and high in protein. The cooking of this dish starts at 8 in the evening and goes on the whole night till 7 in the morning. The results are evident in how well the lentil and meat become inseparable. Garnished with ghee and coriander, this is not for the weak stomach. Best eaten in Kashmiri Bazaar amidst old world charm, this one gets over by 10 am. The early bird catches the worm here.
Mughal Nahari and Paye is a balanced mix of flavors and spices. Accompanied by Khameeri roti (Indian bread), this mutton specialty in Nayi Basti area preserves the taste of Nahari as in its era of yore. Nahari till date is slowly cooked, kept overnight for the mutton pieces to soak up flavors, so they become one with the gravy. This reminds of the Mughal indulgence for good food that it occupied a large chunk of their existence.
Known as Aloo Tikki in Lucknow, Delhi and most parts of India, Agra loves to call its Aloo Tikki as Bhalla, which is definitely one of the 7 best dishes in Agra . Flattened balls of mashed potatoes, golden fried and mixed with tamarind and green chutneys (pastes) and Indian spices, chickpea curry and served hot. The amalgamation of tastes stays long after this favorite evening snack has been savored. Bhalla and the Taj are a breathtaking combination together.
India practically lives on Parathas. Probably this is one dish which will never ditch you, wherever you travel in India. Parathas are made from wheat flour and are stuffed with a variety of stuffing from grated potatoes, cauliflower to more exotic paneer, minced meat, etc. This is India’s favorite breakfast dish, along with a plethora of accompaniment options like green chutney, curries, or just plain good yogurt. Every other corner serves this staple breakfast item and it’s easy to find the popular dish in Agra.
5. Tandoori Chicken:
Well, not many places sell Tandoori Chicken as street food, Agra does. Commonly served with green mint chutney, this juicy chicken delicacy must be tasted at stalls at Gopi Chand Shivhare Road, Sadar Bazaar, and Agra Cantt. Tandoori Chicken makes a great late evening snack. You cannot miss this chicken, one of the top dishes in Agra.
6. Bedai with Sabzi:
Like Bhalla, Agra calls its Kachori ‘Bedai’. There are many kinds of Kachoris that Agra can have you drooling on, Bedai is the special kind here, made of wheat flour, stuffed with lentil stuffing and deep-fried in pure ghee. It is served hot with spicy potato gravy with paneer, fox nut pops and curd as these are highly recommended by the locals because of its sweet and tangy taste.
7. Dal Pakwaan:
Strong presence of Sindhi community brought this dish to Agra’s kitchens and Agra embraced this breakfast dish with open arms. This is a big Mathri also called Pakwaan, a super crispy kind of Poori served with strong spicy lentils garnished with spluttering red chilly, etc.
Apart from these best 7 dishes, there are many other dishes that are drool-worthy and command a mention in this article. Dalmoth is one such thing. Agra is famous for this crispy, crunchy in-between snack. Best enjoyed with tea, Dalmoth is a mixture of fried lentils, spices, and nuts. This is a great gift idea and can be bought from shops selling Pethas.
Being a dry snack it has a large shelf life and is easy to travel with. Jalebis are yet another juicy dessert item eaten hot with or without curd. Jalebis are widely available at every nook; you wouldn’t need to go around hunting for them. Agra loves to eat its food hot and crispy. The Jalebis create a benchmark on this standard. Paneer tikka is a healthy, tandoori starter dish cooked slowly on hot coal, and served hot with green Chutney.
Agra also has a historical foodie delight. There are two eateries that have been serving satisfied and loyal customers with wholesome Poori Breakfast from eons. Introducing Chimmanlal Pooriwala - kind of a museum for food lovers. Established in 1840 this place preserves the authentic, bohemian tastes of Agra, like no one else. The breakfast platter serves Aloo Matar Paneer curry, Aloo Chana Curry, Petha, Raita, and Kheer. Masala Poori served here has a predominant methi flavor.
So much for the food lover that we might write another article to cover the rest. Be a guest at Agra and Agra will never fail to delight you with its culinary expertise. Be it street food or an exclusive restaurant there is a lot to meet every taste bud.
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