What images flash in your mind when you think about Agra? When I was a little girl, my knowledge of Agra was restricted only up to the Taj Mahal & Agra ka petha, and it is fully justified. But when I got the chance to visit the actual Agra, I was completely delighted. The lanes of Agra hold so much excitement for me, that I never thought of before. The street foods of Agra are gastronomic. The lanes are filled with exotic dishes that brought you back to life. Trust me you won’t regret spending some of your penny to taste the local delicacies. Here is the list of the Top 15 cuisines to taste in Agra.
Before going to see what delicacies, Agra has to offer you, let’s have a quick recap of the history of Agra’s food.
Brief History of Agra’s cuisines
The food culture of Agra began with the Mughal era. Babur had conquered the land in 1526 and was the founder of the Mughal dynasty. He gave a start to experiment with the Mughlai delicacies with Persian delicacies. His cooks prepared Persian style dishes with Indian flavour. But under the rule of Babur, the expansion of cuisines is rather slow.
The real expansion of Agra’s cuisine happened under the rule of Emperor Akbar. During the era, the array of Rajasthani delicacies was fused with Persian delicacies. Altogether, they give rise to new exotic dishes.
Under the rule of Shah Jahan, the expansion of cuisines was at its peak. One of the most beautiful discoveries happened when the cooks fused spicy lamb with the Indian rice, giving today’s one of the most popular & exotic dishes which is also everyone’s lifeline, i.e., Biryani.
The overall conclusion is that Agra has an array of delicacies to offer. And delightfully, Agra is a must-visit city not only for the white – ivory marble, Taj Mahal but also for the love for local street dishes that serve with a pinch of traditional touch.
Popular cuisines of Agra
Be ready for a virtual tour of the lanes of Agra street food. You can find the best food in Agra.
Petha is a world popular sweet of Agra. It is like soft translucent candy. As I mentioned, I know the city because of this one sweet termed Agre ka petha. The sweet is prepared from a lovely white pumpkin (ash gourd) and flavoured with crunchy nuts, and spices. This sweet is not only restricted to one flavour, in fact, but you can also find it in several other flavours such as angoori petha, chocolate petha, coconut petha, and Gulab ladoo petha, khush Cherry petha, Doda Barfi petha, Kesari petha and the list goes on. According to popular belief, it is as old as the Taj Mahal. The sweet is undoubtedly a treasure of Agra.
Beware of Bhalla, it can have a great blast of flavours in your mouth. It is a crisp Tikki similar to the aloo Tikki of Delhi but with a twist. The dish is prepared with fried mashed potato & stuffed with moong dal. Then it was deep-fried until it became crisp & crunchy. And then it is served with chickpea, curry, chutney, dahi and spices. Garnishing it with mint leaves, coriander leaves, radish & pomegranate seeds, gives it a final touch. Every bite of Bhalla has the ability to give a burst of flavour to your mouth. You can have them in every lane of Agra. I had them in the Sadar Bazar market.
3. Bedai & Aloo Sabzi
Bedai is my personal favourite dish on the list of Agra’s cuisines. It is a puffy crispy kachori made of wheat flour and stuffed with moong & urad dal with North Indian spices. It is a breakfast snack and served with spicy aloo sabzi along with dahi.
Ah! my mouth is watering. It also compliments tea, I had it, oh my god it’s fantastic. But beware! Those Bedi’s are very spicy & high in cholesterol. But it will adjust with the tour. So don’t hesitate to taste this delicious bedai with aloo ki sabzi.
4. Kesar Jalebi
These Jalebis are love. It is not a mere sweet, it’s an emotion. An emotion that may I can’t express properly. Jalebis are popular in every part of northern India. To my knowledge, Jalebis are brought by Persian in India. It is a version of zolabia. Its crisp coiled unique shape has been used as a metaphor by many poets.
These beautiful sweets are made out of the fermented batter, rolled into a muslin cloth, and deep-fried until they become crispy. And then dipped in saffron-sugar syrup. Jalebis soaked the syrup into it & it melts into our souls. They are best compliments with Dalmoth, samosa, bedai, rabri, and the list goes on.
Parathas are morning breakfast snacks. It is a favourite meal for North Indians. Agra’s paratha is quite different from other north Indian parathas. It’s a pan-fried, flatbread prepared from wheat with different stuffing from grated potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, and radish along with mesmerising spices. It is the ultimate breakfast dish. The most famous shop for parathas is Rambabu paratha. I had the paratha from Rambabu, and they were so delicious.
6. Tandoori Chicken
Tandoori Chicken is one of the most famous street foods in Agra. It is a juicy tangy flavoured creamy chicken. The origin of chicken tandoori was Punjab. The chicken is marinated with authentic North Indian spices & yoghurt. Then, it is grilled in an oven type clay base, tandoor. The tandoor gives it a smokey flavour, which makes it authentic. It is roasted to a golden brown. It is served with green mint chutney. Tandoori Chicken is basically a treasure for non-vegetarians.
7. Paneer Tikka
Agra’s paneer tikka is famous among vegetarians. Thanks to Persian for bringing this famous starter to India. The paneer is marinated with spices & cream. Then it is grilled in tandoor. It’s a delight to taste. The tandoor adds a smoky flavour to the tikka’s Paneer which tastes great. Tikka serves as an excellent starter for wedding functions & other occasions. It is served with green mint chutney, which enhances the taste two times.
Dalmoth is a Namkin. It has an equal balance of salts, spices & sweetness. Dalmoth is made up of spicy fried lentils & loads of nuts and raisins. You can carry them with you during your tour & can have them at any time. It is a great snack. It’s best compliments with tea, Jalebis, Petha, cold drinks etc. Dalmoth also tastes great with alcoholic drinks such as Rum, Whiskey. You can find Dalmoth at any local sweet shop or “Halwai ki Dukaan“.
Again a very famous dish of Agra originated from the ottoman empire. Shawarma is a chicken-filled roll. Originally it was filled with lamb & mutton but nowadays it is also filled with chicken. It contains thin slices of meat, arranged in a cone-like shape. It is roasted very slowly & takes time to cook. It is served with green and white mint sauces. A great option for non-vegetarians.
Does it need any introduction? Undoubtedly, Biryani is the ultimate comfort food. It originated in India. This all-time favourite dish is made up of aromatic basmati rice, nuts, dry fruits, eggs, potatoes, chicken, and veggies. It has a perfect balance of all the spices & flavours. Biryani is a main course dish. This finger-licking Biryani is available near the Tajganj & at local vendors.
Kebabs are one of the most eaten cuisines in Agra. It comprises grated chicken, lamb, mutton or other meat. These are marinated with spices & grilled in the tandoor with the help of skewers. These smoky Kebas originate from middle eastern countries. These finger-licking kebabs are enough to fill your belly. The lanes of Agra have the best kebab vendors.
12. Aloo Chaat
Aloo chaat is made up of fried cubes of potato along with a sprinkle of spices & mint – coriander chutney & tangy sauce. It is garnished with coriander leaves. Aloo chaat is available at every corner of Agra. This is a quick snack to eat when you are very hungry.
Another bliss from Agra. The birthplace of Korma is India. It’s a curry, made up of a thick sauce of yoghurt, spices, cream & coconut milk. The chicken or veggies dip into the gravy & cook it well. Vegetarian or non-vegetarian, both types of Korma are available in the streets of Agra and in some famous restaurants too. You should not miss this amazing Korma on your visit to Agra. Paratha or Rice compliment best with the Korma.
14. Bel Sharbat
Bel ka sharbat is commonly available in Agra. This is a much-needed drink during the summer season. It gives a very soothing & cooling feeling in hot summer. The drink energizes you & refreshes you from inside. It is a day saver for tourists. The sharbat is made from the bel, sweet fruit of hard covering outside. It is prepared with mashed bael, water & sugar. It is served with warmth & ice.
15. Gulab Sharbat
Another drink is ready to serve you in hot weather. Gulab Sharbat drink is made up of freshly plucked petals of a rose. The sharbat is prepared with beetroot, coriander, mint, sugar, lemon & cardamom. It has numerous benefits. The drink is excellent for the skin as well. Gulab Sharbat is easily available in the restaurant.
These are the best of Agra’s Cuisines on my behalf & experience. Share your favourite ones. Remember, you shouldn’t miss out on this delicious cuisine on your visit to Agra.