The £80 curry taking India by storm

Author: By Andrew Buncombe in Delhi

This is no ordinary butter chicken. In addition to the usual Indian spices and grilled chicken, comes Danish butter, Italian extra virgin olive oil, Evian mineral water, imported tomato paste and flakes of real gold. A portion for two costs a suitably princely 6,000 rupees (£80).

The recipe for the so-called Anaarkali chicken, launched last month in Hyderabad, was a full eight years in the making. “It all started when we were living in Noida (a satellite city of Delhi). There was a place around the corner from us that did really great butter chicken but when the chef left, the food changed,” said Iran Bharat Saxena, an IT professional and food lover who is behind the project. “That was when we started experimenting to make it ourselves. What we found was that the best quality ingredients really made a difference.”

Mr Saxena is promoting the dish in cities around India and said that by the end of the year it should be available in Delhi and Mumbai, as well as Hyderabad. Customers have to order online and give 24 hours notice for a home delivery. So far, however, there has yet to be an order ? something he said, was the result of a lack of promotion rather than the pricing. “Whenever you’re in business you have to be cost conscious but when you’re making something for yourself you just want it to be the best,” he said.

A Facebook page dedicated to butter chicken, in which the poultry is cooked in a tomato gravy enriched with butter, suggests the product has triggered considerable interest among lovers of Indian cuisine. Narendra Shenoy, from Mumbai, who sampled the dish for free, wrote that it was the best butter chicken he had ever tasted. “But is it worth 6,000 rupees?” he added. “The answer, dear reader, is a resounding yes. Provided, of course, that it is somebody else’s 6,000 rupees.”

But the Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi’s Old City, where the dish is said to have been perfected in the late 1960s, poured scorn on the gourmet version. Restaurant owner Vinod Chadha, told the Mint newspaper: “I would never eat this butter chicken, the ingredients are all wrong. And why would I spend that much money?”

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