The food specialities across the state of Uttar Pradesh are wide, ranging significantly in flavours, varieties, and styles of cooking. The city of the seventh wonder of the world, Agra, never ceases to amaze people with its tradition, culture, clothes and eclectic spirit. Along with this, this city reflects its unique culinary styles of preparing immensely delicious and rich food items with exotic curries. If you are a foodie, Agra will indeed serve as the ultimate food haven with its multitude of cuisines on your platter.
In addition to cultural heritage and historic monuments all around, Agra has so much more to offer. The rich food culture here is a perfect amalgamation of flavourful Mughlai cuisine and other famous cuisines to enhance your palate. In addition to the rich cuisines, the street food of Agra is something you should not miss out on. Let’s throw some light on the amazing cuisines of this city.
An Insight into the Divine Cuisines of Agra
Food in Agra is enhanced by immense variety, especially with respect to the classic Mughlai cuisine prevalent in the city. At the same time, you can also relish various other flavours and divine tastes of famous cuisines are available at top-rated/ best restaurants in Agra. The succulent dishes, with Mughlai influence, is evident across most of the famous restaurants in Agra.
It is important to understand the cuisine in Agra is not only about the overall influences of the princely empires that ruled the city. There are several variations to the regular dishes. Most of them have been popularised due to the ‘street food’ culture and are available across the city. Additionally, significant influences from the neighbouring states also add to the wide range of delicious recipes and dishes.
Understanding the Influence of Mughlai Tradition in the Cuisines of Agra
The Mughlai cuisine came into existence with the royal kitchens of the Mughal Kings, back in 15th Century. In practice, the Mughlai style of cooking got modified with an interesting blend of spices, methods, herbs, and ingredients that are quite common to the provinces of South-east Asia, especially the sub-continent.
As you study the Mughlai cuisine in India, you will come across a major Central Asian influence on the unique style of cooking. The travel ventures of Mughal emperors from Central Asia to India through regions like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mongolia, and other north-western frontiers of India, led to the evolution of the Mughlai cuisine in India. The foods under the influence of Mughlai cuisine started taking shape across the imperial kitchens as well.
A typical Mughlai meal in Agra tends to be highly elaborate and royal. It portrays an elegant dining arrangement as you encounter starters, the main course, and several other accompaniments. The aroma and rich flavours of whole and ground spices offer this special cuisine its unique taste. Typically, the taste can vary from mild to immensely spicy. Some of the must-visit places in Agra to try out the Mughlai cuisine are New Delhi Darbar Restaurant, Mughlai Darbaar, and Taj Mahal Restaurant.
Influence of the Awadhi Tradition in Cuisines of Agra
The amazingly unique trait of the typical Awadhi cuisine is the traditional ‘Dum Pukht’ style of preparing the food. In this style of cooking, the food is sealed in large-sized cooking pots (known as Handis). Eventually, the food is cooked on slow flame. This process helps in releasing the innate flavours of each & every ingredient of the dish while allowing the food to be cooked in its true juice elements and the divine mixture of spices.
Rice, mutton, and cheese are some of the primary ingredients that are popularly prepared using this method of cooking. The entire method is followed by a retinue of chefs at the best restaurants of Agra under the supervision of the head chef or the Bawarchi. In some cases, some food items are cooked for as many as two or three whole days before the pot is opened. In turn, the process releases intoxicating aromas and scrumptious flavours of the dish.
The secret to Awadhi cuisine in Agra is the specialised cooking method and meticulous portioning as well as blending of flavourful spices, including cinnamon, cardamom, saffron, cloves, and so more. When these whole spices are combined with the slow cooking style of the cuisine, it makes wholesome and delicious dishes. Even the most common vegetarian dishes are imparted a ‘royal’ twist using flavour-rich spices and wholesome ingredients along with the slow cooking process. You can visit some of the famous restaurants offering Awadhi cuisine in Agra, including Awadhi Foods, Nawabi Foods, Pind Balluchi, and so more.
Various Other Cuisines in Agra
The vibrant culture and diversity in lifestyle in Agra are effectively matched with the city’s overall love for good food. The unique food culture in Agra is a major part of the entire identity of the city. Historically, conventional cuisines like Awadhi and Mughlai, along with cuisines from other states like Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat, enhance the culinary experience of both the residents and tourists alike. Additionally, you can also encounter the divine tastes of international cuisines like Mediterranean, European, Chinese, and Italian across some of the best restaurants of Agra.
Several top-rated restaurants in Agra offer local delicacies like koftas, kebabs, biryanis, puloas, and a wide range of stuffed breads like naans and rotis in abundance. Additionally, there are options of continental breakfasts like hams, eggs, bacons, and steaks as well. As a matter of fact, an increased inflow of tourists to the city have resulted the continental cuisine to develop significantly across top-rated restaurants in Agra.
For desserts, pethas (soft and sweet candy preparations from ingredients belonging to the ash gourd family) have been famous across the streets of Agra for several decades. Newer variations to this sweet dish using flavoured variants like grapes, coconut, saffron, and dry fruits are also emerging. The peda is also a famous local sweet dish in Agra. It is prepared by using semi-soft, thick preparation with the help of khoa (thickened milk) along with sugar and ingredients like cardamom, saffron, and dry fruits.
As you go through the lanes of Agra on your visit to Taj Mahal, you should make it a point to try out the local cuisines of the city. You can order food online in Agra from Swiggy to make the most of your culinary experience here.