|September 26, 2022

IS BUTTER CHICKEN TRULY INDIAN?

Butter chicken, or simply chicken makhani, has taken the world of home cooks by storm. It is shrouded in mystery, with many speculating as to its origin story. For those brave enough to take on this challenge, recreating this iconic dish can often be an adventure that yields results ranging from abysmal failure to absolute success.

Kundan Lal Gujral, a renowned chef from the city of Calcutta, India, found himself short on butter one day and decided to experiment by adding tomato puree to his classic chicken curry dish. Little did he know that the concoction would turn out so well-liked it's now become widely available - as Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani.

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About a century ago, the Butter Chicken dish as we know it today emerged when Mokha Singh Lamba opened his restaurant in Peshawar. Its precursor - Tandoori Chicken - was an already established Indian delicacy that, with the advent of this unique preparation, underwent a delicious transformation.

Over time, Butter Chicken has earned widespread recognition and each region has adopted it with its flavor. Canadians pair the butter chicken dish with tacos or roti; Indians savor it when served alongside naan bread.

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Origin & History Of Butter Chicken

butter chicken

Indian cuisine is renowned worldwide, and one of its best-known dishes is Indian Butter Chicken. This mouth-watering treat has quickly gained notoriety thanks to its combination of rich sauce (with cream, tomatoes, and aromatic seasonings) and tender pieces of chicken - no wonder it's become such a sought-after dish.

Kundan Lal Gujral's Butter Chicken originated from his innovation of tandoori chicken, first established in Peshawar by Mokha Singh Lamba. The delicious dish is made with chunks of yogurt-marinated chicken placed onto skewers and then cooked to perfection in the classic clay oven known as a tandoor. This distinctive combination of ingredients results in a flavor that has become globally renowned, earning the fame of Indian Butter Chicken.

In Delhi, Gujral started a successful venture called Moti Mahal. The star of the menu was Tandoori Chicken, however, it became dry when not sold in time. To remedy this, he devised a recipe featuring tomato sauce, butter, cream, and spices - a combination now renowned as Butter Chicken.

How Is Butter Chicken Truly Indian?

Butter chicken

A traditional Punjabi recipe, Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani first came to be in the northern Indian city of Amritsar. Cooked with a generous amount of butter, this delectable dish has since become a beloved culinary favorite worldwide.

From eateries across the globe, one can find contemporary takes on Indian dishes like butter chicken recipes. In America in particular, the recipe has been adapted to fit the American taste buds by including cream or tomato sauces - staples of Mughlai cuisine.

Many are left confused when confronted with the dish of Butter Chicken. Is it a curry? What type of food is it exactly? While it's hard to nail down any one quality that truly makes up this now-popular meal, one thing is for sure: its recognition across cultures has earned its place in culinary history.

Buttery chicken, commonly found in Indian eateries, is generally a rich blend of creamy tomato sauce. However, many establishments offer their spin on the dish with varying ingredients for a distinct flavor.

Summing Up 

Hailing from the land of Punjab, Murgh Makhani, otherwise known as Butter Chicken, was created when a Punjabi chef living in New Delhi put his twist on butter-fried chicken. His ingenious recipe became so delectable that it deserved to be given his name: Indian butter chicken, literally translating to 'buttery chicken'.

Originating in North India, the butter chicken recipe has become a much-loved global delicacy. For the perfect balance of flavors and textures, it's best to pair this sweet dish with a mild curry or Tandoori chicken served over Basmati rice or even steamed vegetables - not naan bread. It is enjoyed often over white or brown Basmati Rice for an unforgettable culinary experience.

Internationally, butter chicken is celebrated for its deliciousness. But in India, locals may also refer to it as Butter Naan due to the inclusion of naan bread smeared with butter. If you are fortunate enough to get your hands on some instant pot butter chicken during your visit, make sure you savor each bite.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How to make instant pot butter chicken?
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