Delhi Street Food
Delhi Street Food is a mix of North Indian and Middle East influences and cooking styles, including Mughlai, Punjabi and Persian. Delhi is also home to some of the oldest and most well-known restaurants in India, due to its long-standing reputation as the capital city. Restaurants that have an acceptable standard of health and hygiene typically use filtered water or bottled water in their preparation of food, instead of tap water.
Fast food and snacking is very popular in Delhi, and various light bites and snacks called Chaat are available in many stalls throughout the day. A fast-paced standard of living has given rise to many take-away and delivery services, including online ordering. Dining at a local Dhaba, or roadside restaurant, has become more popular amongst locals. Tea and Lassi are some of the more common drinks available in Delhi Street Food. Vegetarian cuisine is also very popular here.
While the same type of dishes are commonly found in almost every food centre and street side stall, ask locals for the best hygiene-safe examples of each dish.
Aloo Paratha is made with unleavened dough stuffed with a mix of spices, mashed potato and onions, cooked on a hot griddle. Spices used may include powdered cumin, chili, pepper, ginger, powdered cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cilantro, salt and garam masala.
Curries are extremely common in Mughlai cuisine. The most famous dish is Butter Chicken, with Chicken Curry a close second. Chicken Curry tends to have a spicier, oily base, with a thin curry consistency. This style of North Indian Chicken Curry is usually made with chicken, water, salt, cloves, cinnamon, onions, ginger, powdered cumin, powdered cardamom, powdered turmeric, pepper, tomatoes, chili, coriander and garam masala. It differs from the South Indian version in Singapore in terms of texture, consistency and spiciness.
Dhal Chana features black chickpeas that have their skins removed, then cooked with water, powdered turmeric, ghee (clarified butter), powdered cumin, garlic, onions, tomato, ginger, chili, powdered coriander, salt, powdered asafoetida / asafetida and fenugreek leaves.
Dhal Makhani is a popular Punjabi staple food, made with whole black gram beans (Vigna Mungo / Urad), red kidney beans, salt, ginger, powdered cumin, ghee (clarified butter), onions, tomatoes, garlic, chili, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, powdered cardamom, powdered turmeric, coriander and garam masala. It is normally pressure cooked, as the normal process of frying can take up to 24 hours.
Dhal, Pickles, Curry, Mixed Vegetables are typical condiments that accompany a meal in Delhi, India.
|Dhal, Pickles, Curry, Mixed Vegetables|
Gurda Kaleji or Gurda Kaleji Masala is made with the liver and kidney of a goat, cooked with ginger, garlic, salt, water, powdered cumin, powdered cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, onions, ghee (clarified butter), tomatoes, chili, powdered turmeric and garam masala. Goat liver and kidney is prefered over sheep / lamb, as there is less of the earthy, mineral taste and smell. It is more neutral tasting, and therefore, more appealing to most people.
|Gurda Kaleji / Gurda Kaleji Masala|
Indian Tea / Chai is the most popular drink, and is commonly ordered / served at any occasion or meal.
|Indian Tea Chai|
Kesari Kheer is a type of North Indian dessert / Delhi dessert, a rich saffron rice pudding. It’s made by soaking white rice in water, then cooking the rice. Full cream milk, condensed milk and sugar are added to the cooked rice, then the mixture is boiled. Finally, it’s garnished with sliced almonds, powdered cardamom, powdered nutmeg, raisins, saffron, chopped pistachios and served chilled.
Lachha Paratha is a multi-layered Punjabi flatbread, traditionally prepared in a Tandoor oven. It is made with atta whole wheat flour, ghee (clarified butter), salt and water. Lachha Paratha is probably the North Indian flatbread that is the most similar to the South Indian Prata / Roti Prata you’ll find in Singapore, with a crisp exterior and a fluffy interior.
A Mixed Vegetable Paratha usually has a variety of vegetables stuffed within, which may include potatoes, peas, carrots, coriander, onions, chili, spinach, cauliflower and tomatoes. The type of stuffing varies from stall to stall, but generally, the Mixed Vegetable Paratha is one of the healthier food options available.
|Mixed Vegetable Paratha|
A fast food style, Non Vegetarian Express Thali from Delhi. This is the North Indian version of the Economic Rice (Indian) / Thali, and is almost a mini buffet by itself.
|Non Vegetarian Express Thali 01|
|Non Vegetarian Express Thali 02|
|Non Vegetarian Express Thali 03|
Pakora is a popular snack in Delhi, and actually refers to a variety of battered and deep fried vegetable fritters. The batter is made with gram flour / chickpeas, and the vegetables used may include spinach, potatoes, chili, onions, eggplant, plantain, cauliflower, tomatoes, and sometimes, paneer cheese or bread. Due to its unhealthy nature, not many shops in Singapore sell this.
|Pakora Spinach, Pakora Potato, Pakora Chili 01|
|Pakora Spinach, Pakora Potato, Pakora Chili 02|
Paneer Makhani consists of paneer cheese cubes cooked with tomatoes, onions, powdered cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper, powdered cardamom, garlic, ginger, powdered turmeric, ghee (clarified butter), chili, fenugreek leaves, cloves, chopped coriander and garam masala. Sometimes, honey or cream is added.
Pulao / Pilaf is a fragrant basmati rice dish cooked with water, salt, peas, pepper, powdered cumin and cardamom pods. Salt And Pepper Fish is a Chinese-Indian fusion dish. Kadai Paneer is made with paneer cheese cubes cooked with bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, onions, chili, coriander seeds, garlic, ginger, tomates, powdered cardamom, sliced bell peppers / capsicums, sugar, salt, powdered cumin, pepper, fenugreek leaves, cilantro and garam masala. Kadhi Pakora is a type of vegetarian meatball, made with gram flour / chickpeas, onions, fenugreek leaves, ginger, chili, salt, powdered turmeric, water, powdered cumin, yoghurt, carom seeds and pepper. Papadum from Delhi.
|Pulao, Salt And Pepper Fish, Kadai Paneer, Kadhi Pakora, Papadum|
|Pulao, Salt And Pepper Fish, Kadai Paneer, Kadhi Pakora|
Puri from Delhi, also quite common in Singapore. Pav Bhaji Masala is a thick gravy (Bhaji) of mashed potato, peas, tomatoes, capsicums / bell peppers, cauliflower, carrots and garnished with chopped onions, coriander leaves and lemon juice. It is served without the small deep-fried buttered bread / bun (Pav). Uttappam from Delhi, this is somewhat uncommon in Singapore, with few shops selling it. The Omelette Mushroom Chili is a Western-Indian fusion dish.
|Puri, Pav Bhaji Masala, Omelette Mushroom Chili|
|Puri, Pav Bhaji Masala, Uttappam Mixed Vegetable|
Seekh Kabab originated from the Middle East, Persian cuisine, and is made of minced mutton, onions, chili, garlic, ginger, coriander leaves, powdered cumin, pepper, salt, cloves, powdered cardamom, cinnamon, powdered nutmeg and garam masala. It is typically rolled and grilled on skewers in a Tandoor oven. A good Seekh Kabab should be moist and juicy, not dry. It is served garnished with lemon juice and with a yoghurt dip. The ‘Dil Pasand Style’ refers to ‘Your Heart’s Liking’, which means you have a choice of how cooked the meat should be (rare, medium, well done).
|Seekh Kabab (Dil Pasand Style)|
Shahi Toast / Shahi Turka is a rich bread pudding garnished with nuts. Orginating from Mughlai cuisine, this sweet and unhealthy Indian dessert is made by deep frying crustless white bread in oil till golden brown, then coating the bread in a syrup made from sugar, water, saffron and condensed milk. Finally, it is garnished with raisins, sliced almonds, chopped pistachios and powdered cardamom. Sometimes, edible silver leaves are added. I’ve yet to find this particular dessert in Singapore.
|Shahi Toast / Shahi Turka 01|
|Shahi Toast / Shahi Turka 02|
Spiced Onions are a typical condiment that accompanies any meal. Usually eaten as an appetizer or starter, it’s made with onions, powdered fenugreek, salt, chili, sugar, mint leaves and lemon juice.
Tandoori Roti from Delhi, also commonly found in Singapore, though the exact texture is different. Shami Kabab originated from Afghanistan, and is made with mutton / lamb / chicken, chickpeas, pepper, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, powdered cardamom, powdered cumin, salt, ginger, garlic, onions, chili, powdered turmeric, coriander leaves, mint leaves and garam masala. ‘Bemisal Style’ refers to ‘Peerless / Unique / Unprecedented’. In other words, this dish can also be translated as ‘the world’s best Shami Kabab’.
|Tandoori Roti, Shami Kabab (Bemisal Style)|
Tinda Masala is made with Indian round gourd / Indian baby pumpkin, powdered coriander, salt, powdered turmeric, cloves, pepper, cinnamon, powdered cumin, powdered cardamom, onions and garam masala. Fish Kadai Amritsari is made with firm white flesh fish fillets, garlic, ginger, salt, chili, ghee (clarified butter), gram flour / chickpeas, carom seeds / thymol seeds / ajwain and lemon juice. Chili Chicken is a Chinese-Indian fusion dish. Mutter Mushroom is made with sliced button mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, yoghurt, garlic, ginger, peas, salt, powdered turmeric, chili, cilantro, powdered coriander and ghee (clarified butter). Palak Paneer, Dhal Chana, Papadum from Delhi; these are all commonly found in Singapore as well.
|Tinda Masala, Fish Kadai Amritsari, Chili Chicken, Mutter Mushroom, Papadum|
|Tinda Masala, Palak Paneer, Mutter Mushroom, Dhal Chana, Papadum|
Vegetable Manchow Soup is a popular Chinese-inspired Indian soup. It is made with spring onions, button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, ginger, garlic, carrot, cabbage, vegetable stock, chili, soy sauce, tofu, salt, corn flour, capsicum / bell pepper, pepper, french beans and garnished with deep-fried crispy noodles. It has a thick, stew consistency, and is slightly sour and spicy. This is an uncommon dish in Singapore, you won’t be able to find the exact same version. The closest would probably be a hot and sour Szechuan soup.
|Vegetable Manchow Soup|
Yoghurt is served to accompany every meal. There are 2 main variaties, sour yoghurt and sweet yoghurt. Indian yoghurt is often unpasteurised and contains curds. Yoghurt is often served in Indian restaurants in Singapore as a condiment.