Food & Drinks

The Butter Chicken of India: An Unexpected Addition to the Ranks of Iconic Dishes

butter chicken

Some of the world’s most famous dishes are not as ancient as we might think.The tendency is to unconsciously associate celebrated dishes with deep-seated heritage, assuming they have been passed down from generation to generation.

Taste Atlas, an experiential travel website, reveals that some of these iconic culinary creations have comparatively recent origins.

The guide recently revealed a list of delicious and popular dishes that have quite recent origins, debunking many long-held assumptions. The caption reads, “Your grandparents, parents, and even you may be older than some of the world’s most popular dishes.”

The creamy, flavour-laden butter chicken was also included on this list. While many consider this perennial favourite to be a centuries-old creation, it was actually conceived only in the mid-20th century.

Mexican snacks nachos and Italian pasta carbonara were invented in the 1940s, while chicken tikka masala, a British-Indian fusion, was born in the 1970s.

Dessert staples like molten chocolate cake and Italian tiramisu only appeared on dessert plates in the 1980s and 1960s, respectively.

The complete list of surprisingly new iconic dishes is below:

  • 1943 – Nachos
  • Carbonara Pasta – 1944
  • 1949 – Currywest
  • 1950 – Carpaccio
  • 1950s Butter Chicken
  • 1955 – Shopska salata
  • 1962 Hawaiian Pizza
  • 1960s sticky toffee pudding
  • 1960s Uramaki
  • 1960s Tiramisu
  • 1971 – Banoffee Pie
  • 1971 – Fajitas
  • 1973 – General Tso’s Chicken
  • 1970s chicken tikka masala
  • 1970s Doner Kebab Sandwich
  • 1975 – Pasta Primavera
  • 1980s tartiflette
  • 1982 – Ciabatta
  • Sushi with salmon from the 1980s
  • A molten chocolate cake from 1987

In the 1950s, Delhi became the birthplace of the fondly savoured butter chicken.

A pioneering restaurateur, Kundan Lal Gujral, created the now world-famous butter chicken using left-over marinade broth, tomatoes, and generous amounts of butter.

Despite having no idea that they had accidentally stumbled upon one of the most popular dishes ever and a future international delicacy, the restaurant’s cooks stewed the tandoor-cooked chicken in leftover marinade juices, tomatoes, and butter.

Later, Moti Mahal became a key gastronomic destination in Delhi, further popularizing butter chicken.

An aromatic, creamy gravy of tomatoes and butter is poured over succulent roasted meat and served alongside naan bread. Coriander and green chilies are commonly used as garnishes.

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Editorial Director
I'm Shruti Mishra, Editorial Director @Newsblare Media, growing up in the bustling city of New Delhi, I was always fascinated by the power of words. This love for words and storytelling led me to pursue a career in journalism. In this position, I oversee the editorial team and plan out content strategies for our digital news platform. I am constantly seeking new ways to engage readers with thought-provoking and impactful stories.

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