Article published by : Foodie Forever on Thursday, July 09, 2020

Category : Food & Beverage

Butter Chicken – The Story Of Its Origin

A few decades before Indian regained independence there was a youngster who used to work as a helper in a sweet shop located in Gora Bazaar, Peshawar (now in Pakistan) called Mukhey ka Dhaba. This shop was owned and run by an elderly gentleman named Mokha Singh. This shop popularized Tandoori Chicken in that corner of the world and it is said that youngster was the one who invented the now so popular Tandoori Chicken. Wait, we are not here to discuss how the origin of tandoori chicken so coming to the point let’s explore how butter chicken was born.

The Dhaba, there came a time, was sold to the same youngster whose name was K. L. Gujral and who would have imagined at that time that he would become one of the biggest names in the food industry. So all was going well, Tandoori Chickens were selling like anything but they faced a problem; what to do with the ready to eat chicken that went unsold? The Tandoori Chicken hanging on the seekhs above the tandoor all day would tend to dry out if unsold. Kundan Lal Gujral came up with a knocking idea and invented a curry in which the dried-out chickens could be softened and served using tomatoes, butter, and cream. And thus was born the Butter Chicken. The brilliance lay in the skillful combination of tomatoes and dairy fat. Here it will be terrible not to mention that Gujral was to repeat the same combination to create the Dal Makhni that is still served by every north Indian restaurant. So the man no doubt was a culinary genius

And when India was partitioned, Gujral flew to Delhi. Must be one of the very few elites who didn't take the train and repeatedly traveled by air. He set up Moti Mahal and turned tandoori chicken into the most famous North Indian Food in the world. His butter chicken went on to become the country’s most popular curry. The small outlet in Daryaganj grew fast and now, almost 70 years later; it has a successful chain of restaurants with outlets far and wide, managed by his grandson, Monish.

Monish though doesn’t seem to be very happy with the dish being served elsewhere, it can be said that Moti Mahal today doesn’t seem to enjoy the authority on the dish that it used to have. But Butter Chicken can be seen on the menus from Tokyo to Toronto.


In 2009, a pair of techies in Hyderabad incorporated an idea and started selling Butter Chicken as Anarkali Chicken for Rs. 6,000 and the story gardened an inordinate amount of buzz.

Butter Chicken – The Story Of Its Origin


Keywords: ready to eat chicken, North Indian Food, Butter Chicken – The Story Of Its Origin

By: Foodie Forever

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