Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

MOTI MAHAL DELUX, 1149 First Avenue (at East 63rd Street), Upper East Side

Indian food is generally thought of as healthy. All those vegetables, herbs, and spices are actually good for you. But how then do you explain a dish called butter chicken?

Also known as murgh makhani, the dish was first created at Moti Mahal restaurant in India and is not as decadent as it sounds. It sometimes doesn’t even contain butter. The name may refer to the buttery texture of the chicken. The primary ingredients in the sauce are cream, tomatoes, yogurt, and lots of spices.

Butter chicken has been available at Indian restaurants across the city for decades, but it’s often overly sweet and rich. When Moti Mahal Delux (an outpost of the New Delhi restaurant) opened on the Upper East Side a few years ago, they brought the original butter chicken recipe with them. And it’s great!

Butter Chicken at MOTI MAHAL DELUXI tried it as part of their affordable lunch special, which is basically a smorgasboard of all you can eat daily specials. It sat among yellow lentils and creamy paneer cheese. All the dishes were quite good, but the tender marinated chicken stood out. Its rich, fragrant sauce was smooth and creamy with tangy hints of ginger, garlic, and chili. It had a nice balance of spice and sweetness.

Ok, so butter chicken might not be as healthy as lentils and spinach, but at Moti Mahal Delux, it’s worth every single calorie.

MOTI MAHAL DELUX
1149 First Avenue (at East 63rd Street),
Upper East Side
(212) 371-3535
motimahaldelux.us
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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