Discovering Amritsar, Top 10 Most Iconic Dishes You Should Know

Amritsar is a haven for foodies in India. In the North West of Punjab, it draws tourists from all over the world to experience the cultural marvels like the Golden Temple but it also has a plethora to offer for those looking for a delicious meal. It’s especially beloved for its street foods which can range from hearty breakfasts to decadent sweet dishes, all of which make up its unique culinary identity. 

1. Amritsari Chole Puri: 

Chole is a dish loved across North India, but Amritsari Chole is a beloved breakfast speciality for a good reason. The Amritsari Chole has a unique flavour and colour is thanks to the use of tea while boiling the chickpeas and in the final gravy which imparts both a deep black hue and a unique astringent edge. Served along with fluffy, freshly fried puris it’s truly the breakfast of champions. 

Video Credits: Chef Ranveer Brar/YouTube

2. Amritsari Kulcha:

One dish that’s synonymous with the city is the kulcha. Often categorised along with other breads like naan, kulchas tend to be much softer and come in various types, such as Aloo Kulcha (potato-stuffed), Masala Kulcha, and Paneer Kulcha. These are often served with chole and a tangy tamarind-onion chutney. The crispy and spicy texture of Kulcha, when paired with fresh butter, is a delightful breakfast choice.

3. Kharode Ka Shorba:

A lesser-known speciality but a warming winter favourite of Amritsar, this dish is a flavourful meaty soup made from lamb or goat trotters. It's a hearty and comforting broth, often enjoyed for its rich flavour and warmth. Dishes made from bone broth or stock are also known to be very nutritious making it a great meal for chilly days.

4. Sarson Ka Saag And Makki Di Roti: 

A winter classic across Punjab and especially cherished in Amritsar, this classic comfort dish is made from mustard greens (sarso) and bread made from cornmeal and cornflour (makki di roti). The saag is a thick and satisfying leafy green curry, while the roti is dense, thick and perfect for scooping up big bites. It's a traditional and delicious combination.

5. Satpura: 

The term "Satpura" originates from two Hindi words: 'sat,' meaning seven, and 'pura,' signifying layers and describes many layers of dough encasing a potato centre. Its origin from erstwhile Chittagong Bangladesh but has become a local speciality. It’s notoriously tricky to master and many makers in Amritsar have achieved the art of getting the precise thickness and ensuring that the seven layers can neatly encase the potato filling during the frying process.

6. Fish Tikka:

Typically made from a variety of local freshwater fish, sprinkled and marinated in masalas and then fried to a perfect crisp, this makes for a delectable snack. It’s often hailed as the perfect bar bite and is one of the best-known non-vegetarian specialities from Amritsar. 

7. Sweet Lassi: 

As per locals, a glass of Amritsari Lassi a day can ward off bad thoughts, and who are we to disagree? This rich creamy concoction made with malai and sweetened with sugar and some places even add a dollop of butter to the mix making this very incredibly thick and decadent to the point that it’s almost a dessert. 

8. Langar Ka Prasad: 

Most visitors to Amritsar have the Golden Temple on their to-do list and while there, enjoying the Langar in the community kitchen is a must. The meal served here is simple, consisting of roti, rice, da, and vegetables. The highlight is the karah prashad, a semolina halwa that's exceptionally rich and delicious.

9. Phirni: 

Creamy and nutty, phirni is a popular North Indian dessert made from ground rice, milk, sugar, and aromatic ingredients like cardamom and is especially popular in Amritsar which prides itself on the rich texture and depth of flavours.. It has a creamy, pudding-like consistency often flavoured with saffron and cardamom and is often garnished with nuts.

10. Kulfa: 

You may know kulfi but have you met its levelled up Amritsari cousin? Made with a mixture of kulfi scoops, rich phirni and rabri layers, falooda, gond (edible gum) syrup, and ice, it’s a dessert that’s got it all and just one bite is enough to satisfy even the most die-hard sweet tooth with its incredible mix of Indian flavours.