#6: Chasing Dilli for the original Butter Chicken

I’ve been in Dilli long enough now, to have had many generous helpings of good ole Butter Chicken. But yes, I’ve done kebabs, and yes I’ve done parathas, and yes I’ve done dahi bhalla papdi chaat, and no I haven’t done Butter Chicken. Blasphemy!

It took a friend visiting town for me to visit Delhi’s most famed butter chicken spot, Moti Mahal. Reaffirming my belief that life is best lived like a tourist in one’s own city.

Moti Mahal, in Greater Kailash-1 is a cosy , no-frills restaurant with old waiters, who’ve probably been there since its inception. The tables are bare, with enough place for what you order. The crowd is bustling, there are many surds. Indians believe the mark of a good restaurant is the number of Sikhs who visit it, for they are connoisseurs of fine food.

We tuck into mutton seekh kebabs, and vinegar onions, and perfectly flavoured butter chicken garnished with green chillies and khasta roti. Light and crispy, khasta roti is Indian bread baked in butter and cooked on coal, what a treat! Feeling stuffed, but not greasy, we wash down the dinner with paan, that’s said to be an excellent digestive. Prince Pan Bhandar, that’s across the road from Moti Mahal has been around for years, but kept with the times. I order an Ice Paan stuffed with bits of crushed ice, and giggle as I chew through…

There isn’t a better way to end a nippy evening in the capital, than a cuppa chai and a drive through the India Gate. Tea is kept warm with tiny kerosene burners easy to carry around. Hearts are kept warm with good company.

If you’re ever in Delhi and holidaying, I’d love to take you around. Email me:)

P.s. Which is your perfect butter chicken spot?

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “#6: Chasing Dilli for the original Butter Chicken

  1. You just made me so hungry and so sad that I couldn’t join you in your Butter Chicken adventure. I also loved the last part about hearts are kept warm with good company. So true.

  2. Ed

    I don’t know what butter chicken is, but nothing tastes better than chicken fat, so I’m wondering if butter is there or not.

    I feel the same way about living like a tourist in your own city. I never grow tired of San Francisco where I’ve lived in and around for over forty years. I love doing touristy things, whether Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, museums, shows, restaurants or just meandering up and down the hills and streets of the numerous little neighborhoods. Since San Francisco caters to tourists, there’s never a dull moment for “natives.”

    I decided to enter your short story as a blog on Creative WOW. Thanks for sending it; I thought it was great. Anyone looking at this comment ought to check out Gayatri’s story “Yellow Rags and Vacuum Cleaners” to see how well you write fiction. It’s at: http://www.creative-wow.com

    • Butter Chicken is an Indian Curry, you can click through to the hyperlink underlined on the blog. It’s a spicy creamy curry with loads of butter cooked in:)

      I’ve never been to San Francisco and I hope to someday soon. 🙂

  3. I used to live about 30 miles from Washington DC, and there are a number of wonderful museums that I regret not visiting when they were closer to home. I found myself revisiting the same monuments and sights when I was a local. Now that I am further away, when I return I try out new places as a tourist.
    Your passage “no-frills restaurant with old waiters, who’ve probably been there since its inception.” really gives the reader a vivid picture of what the place looks like.
    While I had never attended restaurants with a number of Sihks in the United States, a good standby for a great restaurant is the number of cars in the parking lot. I also prefer to attend Indian/curry restaurants where the patrons are from India.

  4. I love butter chicken but always though it was a bit of a western (i mean british, not west indian) indian invention like chicken madras and lamb korma. We are lucky in hong kong that we get great curries most places, but I have to confess that I am a bit lazy and eat my perfectly tasty butter chicken at our club. Washed down with a beer, it is a great sunday night dinner.
    I go to Dehli once a year…will be sure to email you so I can get the full authentic butter chicken experience.

  5. I’d love to hear from you when you are in Delhi- you seem widely traveled- and I would love to hear your stories!

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