The Man Who Spread Smiles With Butter Chicken: Kundan Lal Gujral

"Good Food, Good Mood." Of course, we all agree with this fact. While your favorite food can switch your mood from gloomy to glowing, the stories behind them may leave you astonished. Well, with some exceptions, we are sure that you have an extreme love for Butter Chicken. Not a new recipe, but we have someone you would like to thank. Mr. Kundan Lal Gujral, the man who introduced butter chicken to the people of India and the world. The person to spread so many smiles surely deserves an applaud. Along with butter chicken, this super inventive chef also created various other amazing delicacies, including Dal Makhni and Tandoori Chicken. No journey is easy, and this was surely not. Let's dive down to know this man's determination that made butter chicken so popular.

It Happened In Undivided India 

Kundan Lal Gujral was born in the early 1900s in Chakwal in Undivided India. His early life was quite difficult. He was just ten years old when his father died. Looking after the family was his responsibility, and he soon started to look out for sources of earning. It was when he started working at Moti Mahal, an eatery owned by Mokha Singh in Peshawar. He became the first person to dig a tandoor in the middle of the eatery. That day people in Punjab tasted tandoori chicken for the first time. With this act, he became the most wanted person at wedding ceremonies and social gatherings. 

The Story After The Partition  

There are many dates from history that are remembered for creating a great impact on the nation and the world. However, the partition is something that the nation can never forget. During the partition, Kundan fled to Delhi along with his family. They started living in Daryaganj and began a new life.

Everything was supposed to get a new start, and things were different from that in Peshawar. To Kundan, the future seemed unclear. While his talent could earn endless recognition, Kundan was just one step away. He restarted Moti Mahal in Dayraganj, Delhi, with his new partner, Thakur Das Mago. 

Let's Come To The 'Hero': Butter Chicken 

Among so many delicious recipes, butter chicken stands above all. Certainly, Gujral deserves all the credit. While working in his restaurant, one question was constantly stuck on Gujral's mind. It was about using the bits and pieces of tandoori chicken that remained unsold because of getting dry. He tries to conduct an experiment by putting butter sauce onto the tandoori chicken and rehydrate it. This accidental innovation actually created a buzz in India and turned its face towards being a food hub.

In the 1970s, Thakur Das Mago left the partnership. However, Kundan's son Nand Lal Gujral came forward with fresh ideas and helped the restaurant flourish with various fresh, new ideas. Moti Mahal now shifted to South Delhi and operated in chains. Until the 1990s, it was the only restaurant offering Butter Chicken, Dal Makhni, and Tandoori Chicken. Yes. 

Making Moti Mahal A Success 

The father-son duo worked so well on their traditional eatery that it soon turned into a popular hotspot for foodies. They continued their innovation and came up with several other delicacies that were loved by the people. Kundan always received some great compliments, and why not? He truly had magic in his hands. History will keep it all. Moti Mahal was no longer like other ordinary eateries. It was the place where even leaders of India savored their meals. From the first Prime Minister of India to the first and only woman Prime Minister of India, the list is quite long. It includes Mr. Zakir Hussain and other world leaders like Richard Nixon, Benazir Bhutto, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, John F. Kennedy, etc. 

The Legacy Continues… 

Mr. Kundan Lal Gujral's journey from being an ordinary person to being the reason for so many smiles is inspirational for the innovation, struggle, and determination involved. Moti Mahal is still serving some great Indian delicacies and getting better with every passing day. His grandsons continue to take his legacy further.