Monish Gujral of the iconic Moti Mahal restaurant is poised to take his brand’s culinary delights to the world
What does it take to sell over a lakh portions of butter chicken a year? If you have a culinary secret like Monish Gujral of the iconic Moti Mahal restaurant does, it’s not such a tall order. The recipe in question has been handed down from Gujral’s grandfather, Kundan Lal, who started this restaurant chain in Delhi’s Daryaganj after the 1947 Partition. Gujral, 43, now heads Moti Mahal.
He has a sterling reputation to maintain. The Moti Mahal journey started in the 1920s in Peshawar, in the then undivided India. Lal created a tandoori chicken by marinating chicken with yogurt and spices and grilling it in a hot clay oven and subsequently replicated the dish when he settled down in India.
Though Gujral joined the Institute of Hotel Management Catering and Nutrition, Pusa, in Delhi, his real training took place in the Moti Mahal kitchens. He recently authored The Moti Mahal Cookbook — on the Butter Chicken Trail that won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award 2010 and is also poised to open outlets in the Middle East and New York soon. “We are on a global trail,” he says.
He shares the secrets of two of Moti Mahal’s signature dishes.