Television chef Saransh Goila launched a QSR dedicated to butter chicken in Mumbai last year, which has attracted widespread popularity since its opening.
India’s favourite dish – butter chicken – was fast loosing its authenticity feels celebrity chef and author Saransh Goila who wanted to revive and restore the flavours of the dish. For Goila, butter chicken was much more than just another recipe he was trying to perfect. It was a subject that he felt deeply about, and perfecting the dish became an end in itself.
It all started as a catering college experiment by Goila and his mate (now co-founder) Vivek Sahani. “Growing up in a vegetarian family, I was raised on paneer butter masala. We had a secret recipe and it always stood out from the original. When I was studying in culinary school, I would often wonder how the same recipe would taste if cooked with chicken. To bring out that special flavour, we spent many dedicated hours to smoke the gravy to perfection and added some butter to allow the dish to burst its aroma as it coated the palate,” says Goila.
After months of trials using traditional spices and culinary techniques, the duo was finally ready for the taste test. Family and friends were invited to taste the silky, moist chicken dunked in tomato gravy. It was an instant hit among all and before the duo could contain their excitement, ‘#GoilaButterChicken’ was trending on Twitter, thus marking the beginning of an affair. Two years later, after hosting a TV cooking show and writing a travel book on Indian food, Goila launched its first outlet in Andheri, Mumbai, last year.
The Real Deal
Though Goila Butter Chicken is creamier and smokier than most butter chickens in the market, the young chef assures us that it’s completely free of cream. “We made a decision to adhere to all ingredients au naturel. It’s special smoking of the chicken that sets GBC apart from the rest. I add very little butter and no cream – which makes it a great and guilt-free indulgence,” says the chef who hosted TV show Roti Rasta aur India and authored ‘India On My Platter’.
The sweet tangy zing of the dish can be attributed completely to the fresh tomatoes and honey that make for the ingredient, while the ground cashew nuts impart a smooth creamy texture. Though butter chicken remains the star at GBC, the menu also has butter chicken biryani, butter paneer biryani and a butter chicken roll too. Goila has also reinvented some of India’s popular food items and given them a contemporary twist; for example, beet chaat, kebab chaat, mango rasgulla, etc. After much prodding, Goila reveals the secret of his much sought after butter chicken: a smoking-hot piece of charcoal doused with butter. “I let the smoke settle into the dish, but for not for more than seven or eight minutes. Too much smoke can be bad too,” warns Goila.
Isn’t it risky to make one dish the hero of the menu? “All the dishes in the menu have a personal touch to them. We have consciously made an effort to make each dish so special and unique that they stand out and are equally well received. Butter chicken was my first successful attempt at reinventing the original flavours of India whilst adding a personal touch to it, so it will always remain closest to my heart,” explains Goila who is relying on social media to spread the word. “As for the marketing strategy, we want to package and present GBC as a Gen-X dish that reverberates the ideas and ethos of the cool and young.”
GBC only caters to phone and online orders placed through their website www.goilabutterchicken.com. A fleet of two in-house riders and tie-ups with logistics partners, road-runners and Opinio along with Scootsy, Swiggy and Zomato assure a 40 minute delivery. The coal smoked butter chicken is packed in earthern pots and comes with accompaniments like roomali roti, dal and chutney.
“We plan to make Goila Butter Chicken a well-known house name. We hope to popularize it with this online delivery and take away venture. The aim is to make GBC popular all over India and slowly spread its wings internationally as well”, reveals Co-partner, Goila Butter Chicken Venture, Vivek Sahani.