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Chicken changezi

Chicken changezi from Al-Jawahar in Delhi, India.

What: A non-veg Delhi favorite, chicken changezi is roasted chicken cooked with tomato, ginger, garlic, onions, green chilies, fresh coriander (cilantro), spices, and plenty of oil, until it’s packed with spicy flavor and richly red in color. Its roots are Punjabi and its name possibly connected to Genghis (a.k.a. Changez) Khan, though we can only guess how or why. Sure, the Mughals were descended from a sect of Mongols—going back a few centuries—or maybe the dish’s bright hue and strong spice profile is meant to evoke a ruthless conqueror with a red-hot temper? Seems a bit of a stretch, we know. But all you need to know is: It’s absolutely delicious.

Where: Old Delhi is ground zero for chicken changezi, and Al-Jawahar (2327-5987; Bazaar Matia Mahal, opposite Gate 1, Jama Masjid, map) never disappoints.

When: Daily, 7:30am-2:30am

Order: There are many excellent dishes here, and chicken changezi (210/350 rupees for half/full order) is one of them. The meat is of good quality and the sauce wonderfully spicy and tomato-y, bursting with fresh coriander flavor. Mop it up with some fluffy tandoori roti (9 rupees). Also consider the mutton korma, biryani, mutton or chicken stew (ishtu), badam pasanda, and nihari (mornings only).

Alternatively: In Daryaganj, just south of Old Delhi, the simply named Chicken Changezi (93-12-251239; 3614, N.S. Marg, Daryaganj, map) is a favorite among locals. We also liked this dish at Purani Dilli (2698-3371; 371 Main Rd., Zakir Nagar, Jamia Nagar, map), a Mughlai restaurant inside mazelike Zakir Nagar in South Delhi.

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