Every day, millions of followers across the country visit their places of worship for comfort and sustenance for their souls and other, more earthly parts. Among them, there are other types of establishments – generic North Indian restaurants, where the worship of chicken (community “butter”) is at the top of the deity. Butter chicken and its infinite incarnations, if not in a compound religion, have evolved into at least a million religions.
“I have been friends with this guy for over 15 years. Every time we go out for a night around town, and I mean every time, it ends up loading butter chicken and naan on a table, ”says Manu Chandra, executive chef and partner at Monkey Bar in Delhi and The Fatty Bao, who also Executive Chef for Olive Beach, Bangalore. He blames it on a global food profile. “Internationally, you can’t go wrong with a combination of butter, tomatoes and cream, whether you’re from Italy, India or the Isle of Man. So Butter Chicken is such a combination that will connect the palate all over the world, ”added Chandra.
So what about the butter chicken — the silken chateau of his curry, the absolutely butterly finish of the dish, the whole experience, or all of the above?
“It’s a complete meal in itself. All you need is some kind of bread, though it’s great, ”says Manish Mehrotra, Indian Accent, corporate chef in Delhi. “It tickles the palate throughout each generation, a combination of flavors that may not appeal to spice-lovers even though it is not spicy in itself. If the French have mayonnaise and other mother sauces, the makhani gravy must have become one in India, ”he said, referring to chicken labdar, chicken tikka masala (the British invasion which was originally a bone without butter chicken) or various derivatives like chicken. Makhanwallah, of course Mumbai-style. “There was no butter chicken in Mumbai for a long time. Then it starts to appear on the menu as the chicken makhanwallah, the spices blend with the sensitivity of that region. Now, like Delhi, it is everywhere, ”said Mehrotra.
Butter Chicken Biryani given on social in Delhi
The most suitable butter chicken survives, and develops – in a new format from retro bread. While the Monkey Bar boasts of a Butter Chicken Khichri, complete with pickles, papad, Concussed Tomato et al (Khichri K Five Years), Delhi Socials rejoice with their Butter Chicken Biryani. “We wanted to change the example of butter chicken and a loaf of bread, so we decided to play with a rice layout. After a trial of about a hundred meals, we arrived at Butter Chicken Biryani; It has become a favorite, “said Gaurav Gidwani, chief chef at the restaurant.
The origin of the Butter Chicken (the original, for which Delhi throbs its heart, Horset or otherwise) is intimately linked to the evolution of another standby, tandoori chicken. The latter was nurtured in Peshawar, when Kundan Lal Gujral, a young chef-restaurant owner, under the direction of his older mentor, tried to create a light alternative to tasty but feverish korma and terribly oily curries that caused such a disaster in his respectable interior. Gujral’s brilliant idea was to stick the marinated pieces of chicken in the oven, which used to be used only for bread, to make a gravy-streaked dish without gastric gravitas.
Thus the tandoori chicken was born and the future of the snacks-when-drink culture of northern India was secured. Decades later, when Gujral was building a new restaurant in post-partition Dariaganj, Moti Mahal happened, complete with an oven that would seal his fortune. At that time Kundan Lal had to innovate again to avoid wastage due to refrigeration facilities or lack of it, especially the soft, temperamental tikkas. He assumed that a tomato gravy, glazed in butter and cream, would act as a preservative for his providence and serve it that way. The rest was a Punjabi Veni, VD, VC.
The first Moti Mahal was established in 1950 in Dariaganj.
Since then, Gujrals have become the first family of chickens in the subcontinent. “It’s funny. I meet chefs and restaurants who admit to copying Moti Mahal recipes without hesitation but still don’t understand it properly. This is why we never considered patenting the recipe. I can do that and the next guy adds two teaspoons of salt instead of one and a half, making it his own. I am proud to be part of the legacy that made the dish and its impact on the Indian food scene. Everyone knows Kundan Lal. That’s enough, ”says Manish, Gujral’s grandson, who has turned Moti Mahal into an international entity, operating from India to the Middle East to the United States in 100 outlets around the world েস্ট Best Selling Items Across the Continent? Butter Chicken, More
A series where we describe a dish that speaks to a city.