Most people will answer Butter Chicken when asked what their favourite Indian dish is. However like any other dishes, there are several recipes for this popular dish. Chefs from various regions and backgrounds have developed their own take for butter chicken.
The original butter chicken dish has Punjabi origins. Many claim it is a Mughali dish but there has not been any historical reference linking any Mughali recipe or dish to butter chicken. Butter chicken is known as “Murgh Makhani” in Punjabi/Hindi. The origin of butter chicken is quite interesting and goes back to 1920’s. Kundan Lal Gujral, a chef from a road side restaurant known as a Dhaba, in Gora Bazar Peshwar (now in Pakistan) created a dish called Tandoori Tikka. This dish was made with yogurt marinated pieces of chicken cooked in a Tandoor (Clay Oven).
After the Indian Partition, Kundan Lal moved to Delhi and founded the famous restaurant Moti Mahal. In an effort to avoid waste, Kundan modified the Tandoori Tikka recipe into Butter Chicken by adding rich tomato gravy made with butter, cashew paste and cream.