Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken
North Indian Cuisine

Butter Chicken

Originating from Delhi, this is a dish of butter and tomato, stewed with tandoor-cooked chicken.

Also known as Murgh Makhani in Hindi, Butter Chicken is without question the most popular dish to emerge from India.

Sometime during the 1950s, a man named Kundan Lal Gurjal ran a restaurant in Delhi called Moti Mahal. Kundan was a refugee who had started his business after fleeing from political upheaval in the Punjab region of old India. Moti Mahal was a success, serving many delightful tandoori dishes.

So the story goes, the Kundan realised that the Tandoori Chicken hanging on the skewers above the tandoori oven all day would tend to dry out if unsold. So he would often mix leftover marinade juices with butter and tomato, and immerse the tandoori chicken in it. This helped them regain moisture and become palatable again.

Moti Mahal quickly became a famous attraction of Delhi. In its 1950s heyday, Gujral’s Moti Mahal was extremely popular with celebrities and world leaders, including Zakir Hussain, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

In its more recent times, Moti Mahal was visited by none other than renowned master chef Gordon Ramsay, who even went behind the counter in the kitchen of this really old restaurant.

But back then, little did Kundan know that what he had stumbled upon would once of the most popular dishes in the world. But it is an irrefutable truth of the world that often the best things in life are discovered quite by accident.