Famous Non-Veg Food In Chandni Chowk
If India’s capital were to be decided on the diversity of its food, the result would still be Delhi. It’s such a sangam of flavors that it would be unfeasible to paint it in one color. Home to settlers from all over India, there is no dearth of variety in food offered here. In such a rumpus of multifarious cuisines and eateries, it’s toilsome to find food native to Delhi.
To find it, I would look at the time of Mughals. They are long gone, but the art and architecture they left behind continue to inspire awe. Though the original splendor of their monuments has been dimmed, the chunk of their legacy that still commands attention is the recipe from their kitchen.
Old Delhi shares an intimate relationship with recipes that began in the Mughal era. In Old Delhi, tradition and history are served sumptuously embellished with culinary secrets that have been passed down through generations. The aromas from street foods recall the hakims and royal cooks whose recipes are still being used. You can’t go back to the Mughal empire, but you can have a taste of what the royals ate.
Old Delhi is truly a utopia for food connoisseurs. Here’s a catalog to the best non-vegetarian food in Delhi and where you can lay your hands on them.
Karim’s Hotel or Karim’s is arguably Delhi’s most famed culinary destination. This historic restaurant is a gastronomic delight for non-vegetarians.
In the mid-19th century, Mohammed Aziz was a cook in the royal court of a Mughal Emperor. One of his sons, Haji Karimuddin moved to Delhi with an idea to open a dhaba, and that’s how Karim’s Hotel was established, back in 1913.
From humble inception of selling only Alu Gosht (mutton with potatoes) and Daal (lentil curry), Karim’s has come a long way. They now have a long menu card. Among the curries, the only one I find worth mentioning is Mutton Stew. It’s a bit oily but loaded with flavors and spices waiting to explode in your mouth.
Address:- 16-Matia Mahal Bazar, Gali Kebabian, Jama Masjid
If you love Mughlai food, then Al-Jawahar would surely be your mecca in Delhi. Claimed to be inaugurated by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru (India’s first prime minister), this old restaurant is a paradise for meat eaters.
It serves better curries than the legendary Karim’s and almost as good kebabs. Go for Mutton Stew. It includes light colored gravy, not over spicy but with a strong taste, different from usual mutton curries. You can also try Keema Kaleji (minced meat with goat liver). It is rustic, vigorous with strong flavors. The spices are so well blended in this gastronomic euphoria that one can feel the aroma but none of the spices overcome the tongue.
Adress:- 8-Matia Mahal Bazar, Gali Kebabian, Jama Masjid
Haji Mohammad Hussain
Do you like KFC? Haji Mohammad Hussain clobbers it! Believe me, if you are a connoisseur of fried chicken then this hole in the wall place is a must. Established 40 years ago, this renowned shop has been dishing out fried chicken in Delhi far longer than KFC.
The chicken is first marinated in different spices, butter, and then fried. It’s an enthralling take on Fried Chicken with Chat Masala sprinkled on top and served with Rumali Roti, onions and special piquant Masala Chutney.
Just a heads up. Go to this spot only when your grail is to eat. It would be arduous to procure a seat. Even if you get one, just snub the surrounding and zero in on the food.
Address: 113-Matia Mahal Bazar, Gali Kebabian, Jama Masjid
Aslam has become chicken fanatic’s dearest place because of its queer butter chicken. This venerable eatery has discovered its own marvelous way of bestowing a dish that is neither Tandoori Chicken nor butter chicken. It is Aslam’s version of tandoori butter chicken.
In a true sense, Aslam serves tandoori chicken tikka in the gravy of curd and chutney with a luxurious amount of melting butter on the top. The chicken pieces are first marinated in a special combination of spices and herbs. These marinated chicken pieces are skewered and given a stint in the tandoor. Now, the coal grilled chicken pieces are bathed in melted butter before sprinkling masala and splashing chutney over it.
Local lore is that Aslam went to Pakistan, witnessed this method of chicken being grilled and introduced it to Old Delhi. While this hasn’t been established as a fact, it’s unequivocally true that his chicken is scrumptious.
Address:- 540-Matia Mahal Bazar, Gali Kebabian, Jama Masjid
Chicken Changezi is one of the most sought dishes in Delhi that has been served for generations. The name ‘Changezi’ is due to the fact that the dish was originated during the times of fearsome Mongolian warrior, Genghis (Changez) Khan. It was, however, not made for him as is often misconceived.
At the main Daryaganj road, there is a shop called Changezi Chicken. This renowned shop was inaugurated as Hotel Maidah in 1986. The moniker of the eatery was changed to Chnagezi Chicken in 1990 after their signature dish. Chnagezi chicken is served in the gravy of yogurt, tomatoes, and onions. The chicken is roasted separately and then shredded into boneless pieces before macerating it in the gravy. You can savor the historic Changezi Chicken here, but I would suggest you go for the Afghani Chicken.
Address:- 3614, Netaji Subash Marg, Daryaganj
Moti Mahal Deluxe
Freedom fighter Maulana Azad had once famously said, “coming to Delhi without eating at Moti Mahal would be like visiting Agra without seeing the Taj Mahal”. This legendary eatery began its journey in 1947, the year of India’s independence. It claims to have invented tandoori chicken and butter chicken as we know today.
The restaurant was popular for its tandoori chicken in the 1950s. The cooks there would reprocess the chicken gravy that was leftover by adding butter, tomatoes, and onions. Once by serendipity, this sauce was tossed around with pieces of tandoori chicken. This led to the concoction of creamy and buttery goodness, which we know as butter chicken. The thick and scarlet tomato gravy percolates into the chicken pieces, making them fleecy, tender and juicy. Apart from this historic tandoori chicken and butter chicken, you can also enjoy the luscious bhuna ghost
Address:- 3704, Netaji Subash Marg, Daryaganj
Haji Shabrati Nihariwale
Nihari is said to be concocted in Old Delhi in the late 18th century. It comprises slow-cooked meat along with bone marrow.
Haji ShabratiNihariwale is renowned for serving one of the most tender, succulent and delectable nihari in the streets of Old Delhi. This famed eatery was established in 1957. It uses a blend of handpicked spices and herbs, cooking the dish for extra-long hours on the slow fire. This ensures that the juice of the meats, spices, and herbs intermingle to give accord a distinctive and piquant taste. Other bona fide dishes served here are Bheja Fry, Nalli Nihari and Paya Nihari. Just a heads up, they use buffalo meat in the nihari. So go there only if you are comfortable with red meat.
Address:- 722, Hawli Azam Khan, Chilti Qabar Road, Jama Masjid
Why would you want abs when you can have Qureshi’s kebabs? Qureshi is known for selling one of the tangiest, spicy and luscious kebabs in Old Delhi. This prominent eatery is named after Haji Abdul Ghani Qureshi, who also happens to be the owner of the shop. The kebab outlet is presently managed by his five children, famously known as The Qureshi Brothers.
This renowned eatery has a long list of patrons which has made it into an iconic place. The coal grilled kebabs are smeared with mint chutney, some spices, and raw onions. The result is a buttery yum which is soft and fibrous at the same time. However, the kebabs are made of buffalo meat. You are advised not to go there if you are not comfortable with red meat.
Address:- Opposite Gate 1, Kalan Mahal, Jama Masjid
On the road perpendicular to Hamdard, you will find a shop named Sangam Kebabs. This famed eatery is popularly known as Moinuddin Kebabwale, named after Moinuddin Qureshi, who also is the owner of the shop.
Unlike others, this eatery doesn’t keep its recipe concealed. This Kebabi can be seen sitting beside a pile of meat and the heap of a spicy paste in front of the shop. A handful of paste is taken, skewered around a metal Seekh and put on the fire. This coal gilled kebabs are enriched with pudina chutney on the top, complemented with raw chilies, aggrandized with lemon pieces, and finally served with onion rings. The kebabs are lumpy on the outside and soft inside with just the right amount of spices. The result is juicy, piquant and yum to the core.
Just a heads up, buffalo meat is used here.
Address:- Corner of Gali Qasim Jan, Opposite Hamdard Dawakhana, Old Delhi
Biryani is one of the most sought dishes throughout India and among one of the most aromatic and well-seasoned dishes from the region. It has an excellent balance of meat, rice and spices to exhilarate and linger on your taste buds.
Situated in the midst of serpentine lanes of Old Delhi, Dilpasand Biryani serves one of the most marvelous biryanis in the city. This renowned eatery is also known as Taufeeq’s Biryani, named after Mohammad Taufeeq, who has started it. The pieces of meat (both chicken and buff options are available here) are tender and juicy. The rice is long-grained, light, fragrant and orange-red. The piquant pickle and the spicy raita, which they proffer as a side dish, add a distinctive taste to the biryani.
Address:- 735, Haveli Azam Khan, Chitli Qabar Road, Jama Masjid
Liz Westwood from UK on December 29, 2018:
This is a useful and well-illustrated culinary tour.