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Paratha

Paratha from Rambabu Paratha Bhandar in Agra, India.

What: A staple of Mughlai (and therefore North Indian) cuisine, paratha, or parantha, is a pan-fried unleavened flatbread made from wheat flour and often served stuffed with various ingredients, mostly vegetarian. (Parathas are quite popular in Delhi as well.) They’re often served as a thali, on a large round plate with some accompaniments and chutneys.

Where: Rambabu Paratha Bhandar (no phone; multiple locations including Belanganj, approx. map) is the famous local name for parathas. The Belanganj location is a bit difficult to find, down a narrow, congested lane that’s both overwhelming and ideal for people- and animal-watching. Let’s just say it’s an experience! Also, there is no English menu at this location, so have a translator handy or know what to ask for. We were told that there’s an easier-to-manage location just off the Agra-Delhi highway.

When: Daily, 10am-11:30pm

Order: Of the good variety of large parathas offered here, we tried the methi-muttar (fenugreek leaves and peas, 85 rupees) and mooli and aloo (grated white radish and potato, 75 rupees); half of each is pictured above. Both were made fresh to order, crispy-fried in the tawa outside, and a little on the greasy side. They’re served with some mixed vegetables, delicious aloo sabzi (potato curry), a thin yogurt-based yellow jhol, sweetish chile sauce, and pickled vegetables. Wash it down with a wonderfully soothing lassi (25 rupees)—no ice if you’re not from around here—which is served the proper way: in a kulhar, or clay cup, topped with a layer of thick malai, or fresh cream (and a drizzle of rose syrup for good measure).

Alternatively: You’ll find parathas at most restaurants that serve Mughlai food, but it’s never quite the same as eating it at a place like Rambabu’s.


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