Here at bazaar, we are all about flavor. The more the merrier, and the better the meal. So, there was no question that our Great Hunt series had to include a day of delicious treats from the land of spice, India. The question was, which dish would we highlight? Of course biryani and curries were considered, mixed grills and tandooris were at the top of the list. The one that took the naan though, was the Murg Makhani, simply known as butter chicken.
Whether you have it with delicious basmati rice or warm bread, it is an amazing balance of sweet and spicy. We took a trip through the history of butter chicken, from its inception to all the variations that have emerged since, making our hunt about more than just experiencing delicious treats.
MOTI MAHAL DELUX
We start where it all began. In the first quarter of the twentieth century, Kharam Chandji began to cook meats on the open-hearth oven, generally reserved for bread baking. The tender pieces were marinated overnight in a yoghurt and spice mix, and became an instant staple all over India. The healthier alternative to meat had one problem; it could not be eaten the next day. Enter the 1950s, when cooks at the Moti Mahal restaurant in Old Delhi began to add butter and tomato to the leftover chicken marinade, then toss it with tandoor-cooked chicken, and butter chicken was born! Rich with a tangy, tomato base, we relished the flavors of our first encounter.
Moti Mahal Delux is located in Shaab on the Arabian Gulf Road, Exit 5 (next to Johnny Carino’s). For reservations call 2266 7050. Follow them on Facebook: Moti Mahal Delux Kuwait.
Our trip down butter chicken lane took us next to one of the most popular chains of Indian cuisine in Kuwait established in 1985. A staple for all of Kuwait’s residents, Mughul Mahal marinates their chicken in a yogurt based tandoori marinade, with ginger, garlic, coriander powder, cayenne pepper (adjusted to your spice levels), and garam masala — a combination of roasted and ground cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and black pepper. Never one to disappoint, their butter chicken is filled with flavor, and so light that you forget you’re eating a butter based dish.
Mughal Mahal has 10 locations in Kuwait, and one location in Sharm El-Sheikh. For more information, please call 2242 5131 or visit http://www.mughalmahal.comto find a location near you.
The original tandoor was created for a member of royalty who was tired of the fried method of cooking meat, and in Jamawar you can feel as if you are in that moment. Royalty pours from the rich hued tablecloths, grandiose curtains and copper tin serving platters. Their butter chicken, coupled with delicious naan bread, is just as regal. Here, they have kept to tradition with perfectly seasoned tandoor chicken, and an incredible balance between tomato and cream where you can taste a memorable medley of spices.
In 1972, Jagdish Kapur, a Bollywood filmmaker and food connoisseur, opened the first Copper Chimney in Worli, Mumbai, delivering diners with the robust flavors of North Indian cuisine. Today the chain is hailed in India for some of the best butter chicken in the country. Their contribution: a focus on health. While you can’t take the butter out of butter chicken, you can definitely put the benefits in. You’ll get plenty of Vitamin C from the Kashmiri chillies liberally used in this restaurant’s rendition, and the peppercorns help aid digestion. With distinct hints of rich cream to make it a tad sweet, we took comfort in the benefits, and great tastes.
Copper Chimney is located in the Bida’a Strip and The Souk – The Avenues. For more information visit http://www.copperchimneykuwait.comor call 2226 3114 for reservations. Follow them on Facebook: CopperChimneyKuwait and Instagram @copperchimney_kw.
At Zafran we took a step into the contemporary, which you can immediately sense, as the décor of clean cut designs is accented with bright reds and yellows. Here, you can enjoy a butter chicken that allows the sweetness of the tomatoes and cream to really shine through. With just the right amount of spices, the butter dish comes into the 21st century with a bit of a turn, and we are loving the detour. At Zafran you can also expect your naan to come with imaginative twists such as the addition of mushrooms and truffle oil.
Zafran is located inside the Centrepoint Building, Salem Al Mubarak Street, Salmiya and is open from 11am to 12am. For more information, please call 2575 0647 or follow them on Facebook: Zafran-Kuwait and Instagram @zafrankuwait.
The owners of Taal spared no expense when developing their menu. The team, with a little help from Indian celebrity Chef Kunal Kapoor, have created enticing dishes that take you beyond what you know about Indian food, and butter chicken is no exception. The creamy sauce was velvety with delicious chicken cooked to perfection in the tandoor, with gravy made of the traditional Indian seed fenugreek and silky tomato sauce. There is perfection in this dish that we could taste with every bite.
Taal is located in the Al Bida’a restaurant strip and is open daily from 12pm – 11:30pm. For more information or reservations, call 2225 3142, connect with them on Facebook: TaalQ8, on Instagram @taalq8 or Twitter @taalq8 or visit http://www.taalq8.com.
At Asha’s, we arrived at the end of our hunt only to find that butter chicken has no intention of stopping at any point in history. The concept founded by legendary Indian singer Asha Bhosle, was her tribute to the multitude of Indian dishes she saw served to her father’s theater company of 200 employees each night. Determined to preserve the culinary treats she was amazed by as a child, Bhosle created Asha’s. Butter chicken at Asha’s is grilled, but deliciously juicy. We opted for a spicier rendition, and we weren’t disappointed. Just make sure you have plenty of their delicious naan bread!
Asha’s is located in Marina Crescent (2224 4502), 1st Avenue – The Avenues (2228 3503), Spoons, Mahboula (2225 4097). For more information you can visit their website http://www.ashasrestaurants.com. Follow them on Facebook: AshasMiddleEast.