This Food Festival Celebrated Old Delhi’s Food And The Capital’s Female Icons
Image Credit: Crowne Plaza New Delhi Okhla

It is a task to navigate through the cobbled lanes of Old Delhi. Amid the rickshaws wrestling for space and the centuries-old dilapidated buildings that line the street, a city comes alive. A city imagined, reimagined, broken, and re-established several times. Crowne Plaza New Delhi, Okhla’s, ‘Dilli 6’ food festival, paid an homage to the female icons of the capital starting from Delhi Sultanate’s Razia Sultan, the first female Muslim sovereign, to Nur Jehan, wife of Mughal emperor Jehangir, known for her impeccably refined taste in art and culture, and also as the real power behind the throne  Can you imagine what the empress’ Instagram feed would have looked like? Well, Crowne Plaza did, in a large cutout, they managed to put together the most ‘aesthetic feed’ beside the dedicated corner-filled with Persian-style motifs, rugs and seating. Every corner of Edesia, Crowne Plaza was brimming with character, be it the private cabanas, or the sigdis set up on the terrace, a tribute to Delhi’s penchant for chomping on kababs on a particularly wintry night.  

Coming to the food, we were told that many cooks were called from Old Delhi to put together a feast to remember. From Old Delhi-style Degi-biryani, to Nalli Nihari, a tremendously comforting mutton stew, were indeed the highlights for us, in addition to the Kabab station, where we relished Mutton and Kababs served with hot melted butter and masalas it is tossed in. The buttery and creamy, Gurda Kapoora, a quick stir-fry made of offal or internal organs of lamb was also quite impressive. A chaat-corner, featuring favourites like palak patta chaat, gol gappe, papdi chaat was definitely ones of the most sought-after one, the live station was right next to the dessert section, which apart from the usual suspects like brownies, ice cream, jalebi and rabdi, was also serving fresh Daulat ki Chaat. A foamy soufflé-like dessert with hints of saffron and nuts. The dessert is a winter specialty of Delhi. While celebrating the winters of Delhi, the festival sure did not forget about the scorching heat that Delhi is infamous for. A chuski corner, belting out our favourite kala khatta, jamun, mango-flavoured chuskis was a nice touch. For the uninitiated, Chuski, is a summer snack featuring a mound of crushed ice that has been drizzled over with flavoured syrups.  

We also fetched the recipe of the tempting Mutton Nihari recipe from chef Surendra Tamta of The Crowne Plaza New Delhi Okhla. Try if you can make it at home.  

Nalli Nihari  


  • Mutton Shank- 1kg  
  • Ghee/Clarified Butter- 4 tbsp  
  • Finely sliced medium onions -2  
  • Ginger Paste- 1 tsp  
  • Garlic Paste- 1 tsp  
  • Salt to taste  
  • Coriander powder- 2 tsp  
  • Turmeric Powder- ½ tsp  
  • Wheat flour- 3 tbsp  
  • 1 inch Ginger , cut into julienne   
  • 4-5 stalks fresh coriander leaves  
  • 1 tbsp lime juice  

Nihari masala  

To make your own Nihari masala, dry roast the below mentioned spices, cool and grind them  

  • Cumin seeds  
  • Fennel seeds  
  • Sauth( dry ginger)  
  • Green cardamoms  
  • Black cardamoms  
  • Cloves  
  • Bay leaf  
  • Cinnamon Stick  
  • Black Peppercorns  
  • Grated Nutmeg  


  1. Take a stock pot (with a deep bottom) and pour some ghee or clarified butter  
  2. Once the ghee gets heated up, add sliced onions and fry it till it gets golden brown  
  3. Add the pieces of mutton followed by ginger paste, garlic paste and powdered spices- coriander & turmeric followed by salt  
  4. Let the mutton get coated in ghee and spices and saute it for 5 more minutes  
  5. Now add Nihari masala mix along with 8-10 cups of water and mix it well.  
  6. Cover the pot with a lid and cook the dish on low heat for 3-4 hours until the meat gets tender.  
  7. In a half cup of water, add wheat flour and stir it to ensure there are no lumps. Add the same mixture to the dish and stir it well  
  8. Simmer it for 10-15 minutes more till the gravy thickens.  
  9. For garnish, sprinkle some lemon juice and add fresh coriander leaves and ginger strips.