🍗Tandoori Chicken is undoubtedly one of the best things that have ever touched my lips ( and yours too, I guess?). But the dish has no fancy origins— it was not invented in the Mughal kitchen, nor for the British officers. It was not a part of Avadhi cuisine either.
🍗The role of the Tandoor, in this case, cannot be ignored. Tandoor cooking is believed to have originated in Persia where it was mostly used for bread making. However, some archaeologists suggest, these ovens existed in Rajasthan as early as 3500 BC and then the tradition travelled to Punjab!
🍗The earliest evidence for a dish similar to Tandoori Chicken can be found in Harappan Civilization and dates back to 3000 BC. Even the Sushruta Samhita ( 7th century BC) records meat being cooked in an oven (kandu) after being marinated in fragrant spices.
🍗Centuries after that, in 1920s a young Punjabi Hindu named Kundan Lal Gujral started as a chef in the Moti Mahal Restaurant in Peshawar (now in Pakistan). He experimented by skewering yogurt marinated pieces of chicken and sticking them into the tandoor thus inventing the lip-smacking dish! After the Partition of India in 1947 Gujral and his two partners— Kundan Lal Jaggi and Thakur Dass— migrated to India and founded a Moti Mahal in Old Delhi. Other famous Indian dishes like Butter Chicken and Dal Makhani were invented in the same kitchen.
🍗Moti Mahal and its Tandoori Chicken soon won the hearts of many dignitaries like Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and also Raj Kapoor and Nargis. Even the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was among the famous patrons of the restaurant.
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