The Humble Butter Chicken

Murgh Makhani, better known as butter chicken, is an Indian dish with a common name but with an incredible taste. This dish was created in the 1950s by Kundan Lal Gujral, the owner of the Moti Mahal restaurant. After cooking tandoori chicken in the restaurant, Kundan Lai had a lot of chicken and marinade leftover that he didn’t want to waste. Instead of throwing it out, he added butter, cream, and tomatoes to the chicken and marinade and prepared a stew. Of course, he had no idea that his accidental concoction would ever evolve to become one of the most popular dishes in Indian cuisine throughout the world.

It is quite remarkable and an irrefutable truth that this advocacy was accidentally discovered. Butter chicken has a story that is similar to Chinese braised pork belly, or Dong Po Meat, that was also created accidentally. My friend at Smyrna Area Plumbing loves this stuff, me, I have never tried it.

In its most basic form, butter chicken is simply tandoori chicken that is cooked in a special curry. You can even use leftover chicken. Butter chicken can be made into a luxurious dish, too, served with poppadums, mango chutney, biryani rice, and naan. Typically, the chicken is cooked on the bone, then marinated with lemon juice, cumin, garam masala, turmeric, and yogurt, then cooked in a stew of butter, cream, and tomatoes.

Chicken tikka masala is another Indian dish that shares a lot of similarities with butter chicken. Many people seem to get confused between the two dishes when eating Indian food. Chicken tikka masala was created in Britain in an Indian restaurant, though. It is cooked with a mix of onion without butter and blended tomato. Butter chicken, on the other hand, was created in Delhi by a chef and is an authentic Indian dish.

Though butter chicken may sound boring, tasting is believing. The next time you have a chance to eat Indian food, try feasting on butter chicken with a side of biryani rice that is served with cilantro, tomatoes, diced onion, mango chutney, naans, and poppadums.


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