Old Delhi butter chicken is not red and spicy

When you imagine butter chicken you are forced to think about a red and spicy gravy, butter only at the top. But just think if the butter chicken was all about butter gravy how would it be?

A plate full of Old Delhi butter chicken made with hot butter, dahi and spice mixes

Exactly this happens if you taste the butter chicken of the Matia Mahal area (the area around Jama Masjid of Old Delhi). This butter chicken has butter, dahi and some special spice powders which they make themselves.

Marinated chicken kept outside the shop of Aslam Chicken. (Source: Google) 

This butter chicken is not exactly cooked like the other one. They make the chicken tandoori kababs at coal tandoor placed outlet side the stalls, then add the dahi, spice powder and hot molten butter then mix the whole thing well. They serve rumali roti with it.

The traditional butter chicken originated around 1950 from the Motimahal Restaurant of Daryaganj. Culturally the butter chicken was not a part of Mughlai tradition and the Mughlai cuisines of Awadh and Hyderabad had a unique culinary tradition hence the butter chicken stayed out of the menu card.

The old Delhi traditional Mughlai foods were like nihari, stew, qurma among others. We should remember that chicken tikka, bade ki tikka and Sikh kababs were also very popular in the old Delhi shops. In the late 80s, the shop owners old Delhi food shops felt that if they can make the tikkas a wholesome menu for lunch or dinner then it would gather more crowd.

Chicken tikka on the tandoor and a pan of molten butter

Lanes of bylanes have many versions of this story. But the most accpeted version is that a group of food owners who visited Pakistan’s Lahore came up with the idea of making butter chicken tikka by putting hot butter, dahi and spice mixes. Later the Aslam Chicken gave the best shape of this dish.

So, if you are in Delhi you should not miss this butter chicken. Its different and delecious.

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