Love it or hate it, but you can’t ignore it! Butter Chicken, after all, is one of those rich Indian dishes that tickles the taste buds of food lovers all across the world. With succulent chicken pieces immersed in utterly butterly curry made from cream, tomatoes, and aromatic spices, this much-loved dish is a gastronomical hero. However, despite its popularity, few people know of its humble origins.
The story of Butter Chicken is a century old, and is inextricably entwined with another Indian invention – the Tandoori Chicken. The mastermind behind both these heavenly dishes was an Indian Punjabi chef named Kundan Lal Gujral who invented Butter Chicken out of sheer necessity. Before the partition of India, Gujral worked in a small restaurant owned by Mokha Singh Lamba in Gora Bazaar, Peshawar, Pakistan. This is where Gujral invented the famous Tandoori Chicken by skewering yogurt-marinated chicken pieces and sticking them into a clay tandoor, which was previously used only for breads. This chicken recipe became an enormous hit with the Indian masses until the young chef was forced to flee Pakistan and settle in Delhi (India) owing to the partition of India in 1947.
In Delhi, Gujral founded his own restaurant and called it Moti Mahal. Tandoori Chicken was a staple of the menu in the restaurant. But, owing to lack of proper refrigeration facilities, a lot of unused marinated chicken pieces would be left hanging above the tandoor, as a result of which they would dry up. It was in an attempt to avoid wastage of those chicken pieces that Gujral applied his genius once again and invented the Butter Chicken. He came up with a tomato gravy, infused with butter and cream, to soften the drying leftover chicken tikkas and served the dish to his customers. Needless to say, it was a masterstroke by Gujral as it became an instant success.
Now a cult classic, Butter Chicken has been adapted by many chefs into their own versions, with each version riding on the success of the original recipe. It has even evolved into other derivatives such as Chicken Lababdar and Chicken Tikka Masala.
Whichever way you like to gorge on the chicken chunks, one thing remains constant: the best things in life happen by accident. But don’t take our word for it – try these recipes at home to enjoy a creamilicious lunch or dinner. You can order butter chicken online, or you can try these recipes at home with our high quality Butter Chicken Seasoning Mix, available only at Quicklly.