Moti Mahal today, is an institution. Not just in terms of how long it has been around, but also because how influential the restaurant has become in the formation of a post-independence cuisine. And while we have Moti Mahal to thank for a lot of fantastic evenings spent in the shadow of Old Delhi, there is a lot more to thank them for. For starters, butter chicken at Moti Mahal Daryaganj. Yes, you heard that right. Butter chicken was invented in Daryaganj, at the first Moti Mahal.
The Birth Of Butter Chicken
Photo Courtesy Of: Wikimedia Commons
It was in the 1920s and a very young Kundan Lal Gujral was working in a small restaurant in Peshawar. This small eatery was called Moti Sweets. With the death of his father at a young age, Gujral was forced to earn a living and worked at Moti Sweets till the country gained independence. On partition, having learnt the trade well enough, Gujral travelled to Delhi to try his luck on this side of the border. He stayed at a refugee camp for a while and initially thought of setting up a dhaba. He eventually bought a small space in Daryaganj, which was at the time still considered a newer part of Delhi. And he named this new restaurant Moti Mahal. It was in this historic place that at least two of the Delhi dishes that we know and love come from — butter chicken
and dal makhani
When Gujral realised that the dry pieces of tandoori chicken would go bad very quickly, he decided to add gravy to it. And somehow this chicken with a gravy made with butter, cream, tomatoes and spices became a cult. The love and craze for this new dish, butter chicken, spread across the country, and eventually the world. Butter chicken became a part of our lives that way nothing had before.
Butter Chicken At Moti Mahal Daryaganj
Photo Courtesy Of: Moti Mahal Delux
Moti Mahal began its journey in 1947, the year of our country’s independence. And as the country grew, so did the restaurant. Back in the day, Moti Mahal saw former prime ministers like Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, former President Dr. Zakir Hussain, actors like Raj Kapur and Nargis, and even Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. And the butter chicken from the restaurant became a flag bearer of Indian cuisine all over the world.
Feature Photo Courtesy Of: Flickr/Calgary Reviews/Moti Mahal Delux