Moti Mahal Delux

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Moti Mahal Delux
Industry Hospitality
Genre North Indian cuisine
Founded 1947 CE
Founder Kundan Lal Gujral
Headquarters Delhi, India
Products Restaurants
Website Moti Mahal Delux

Moti Mahal is a global chain of restaurants with over 120 franchises in India and around the world.[1][2] Moti Mahal Delux was founded by Kundan lal Gujral, a Punjabi Hindu who migrated to Delhi[3] after the partition of India in 1947.[4][5][6][7][8][9] The first Moti Mahal in Delhi was one of the first restaurants to introduce the Punjabi cuisine to the rest of the world and many famous dishes include tandoori chicken, butter chicken and dal makhani.[10][11][12][13]


The story of Moti Mahal Delux dates back to year 1920, when Mokha Singh Lamba started a small eatery called Moti Mahal in Peshawar, British India. Kundan Lal Gujral worked for Mokha Singh at Moti Mahal in Peshawar.[14] Moti Mahal was the first to dig up a tandoor right in the middle of the eatery and since then Peshawar was introduced to the culinary art of tandoori chicken by them. This was a success and soon there was in demand for Tandoori at social gatherings and wedding feasts where they would use an improvised tandoor.

After the partition of India in 1947, Kundan Lal Gujral, a Punjabi Hindu, fled to Delhi with his family.[15] Uncertainty faced them as they had neither money nor the resources to start afresh in life. They dropped off in Delhi to try their luck. Roaming the streets, they chanced upon an abandoned thara in Daryaganj, and then considered a newer part of Old Delhi. Kundan Lal Gujral then started Moti Mahal, Daryaganj with another partner, Thakur Das Mago.[16] Moti Mahal further went on to invent butter chicken and dal makhani.[17][18][19][20][21] This brought about a revolution in taste and a place on the International Gourmet Map.[22][23]

Thus was born the Moti Mahal Restaurant, which contributed significantly to putting India on the food map of the world. Indian leaders like Jawahar Lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Zakir Hussain among various foreign dignitaries like Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. have visited Moti Mahal to sample Kundan’s innovations – its tandoori delicacies on various occasions.[24][25][26] And M. Maulana Azad, the great Muslim leader, reportedly told the Shah of Iran that while in India he must make two visits - to the Taj Mahal and Moti Mahal.[27] Later in 1970`s Kundan Lal’s son Mr Nand Lal 'Bila' Gujral, upon the exit of Thakur Das Mago from the partnership, expanded Moti Mahal Delux in south Delhi to establish Moti Mahal Delux Chain of Restaurants.

However, Gujral's grandsons Monish and Ashim Gujral have significantly expanded the chain in the last decade via the franchisee model.[28][29]

Monish Gujral[edit]

Monish Gujral is the grandson of Kundan Lal Gujral. He is a graduate of Delhi University and studied hotel management at the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition, Pusa, Delhi, before joining his illustrious grandfather, Kundan Lal Gujral, at his restaurant, Moti Mahal Delux. Not only has Monish kept his grandfather’s legend alive, he has expanded the brand and launched the Moti Mahal Delux Tandoori Trail, Moti Mahal Delux & Moti Mahal chain of restaurants with pan India and international operations, spread over a hundred franchises.

Monish’'s first cookbook was a bestseller in several countries and was chosen as the finalist for the 10th Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, 2004. On the Butter Chicken Trail, his second cookbook, won the Gourmand World Best Easy Recipe Cookbook 2009. His third, "On The Kebab Trail" has won the Gourmand Cook Books Award for the Best Foreign Cuisine Cookbook in India.

He is also an avid food blogger and his blog won a special jury award in 'Best in the World' category which will be presented to him at the Gourmand Awards in Chinese wine capital Yantai on June 8.[30]

Awards and accolades[edit]

Moti Mahal, Daryaganj has made a great contribution towards taking Indian culinary to the world. Kundan Lal's contributions also augmented the tourism industry both nationally and internationally. He has been awarded several awards and recognition namely:

  • IATO (Indian Association of Tour Operators) - Lifetime Achievement Award for introducing tandoori cuisine to the world in 1991.
  • H&FS Award for his life time contribution to food and beverage industry in 1995.
  • World Tourism Promotion Award in recognition of his innovation, the tandoori chicken, and contribution to the hospitality industry.
  • Trans Himalayan selection Award Gold Medal for introducing to the world tandoori cuisine.
  • World Business leader award for inspiring companies by a confederation of world business in USA.
  • NDTV Most Admired Indian Restaurant Chain - 2014
  • World Travel Brands Winner - 2014
  • International Chefs Day - Indian Culinary Legend "Kundan Lal Gujral" - 2014

Other awards given to Moti Mahal Delux Tandoori Trail Restaurants[edit]

  • Winner Coca Cola Golden Spoon Award for the Most Admired F&B Retailer - chain of restaurants of the Year 2009-2010.
  • Most Admired F&B Retailer of the Year: Dine-in Indian Origin.
  • A Moti Mahal cookbook authored by Monish Gujral was awarded the Best Easy Recipe Book of the World by Gourmand Book PARIS on 11 Feb 2010.
  • Winner the BEST of Best Restaurant in Delhi and NCR by Mail Today 2009- 2010.
  • Awarded the Best Restaurant in Mumbai by 2008-2009.
  • The Franchise India Holding Ltd. – Franchise Awards 2006 on 3 December 2006 for the best in food and beverage category.
  • Awarded as “Best of the Best” Delhi-NCR’s Finest Restaurants by Antiquity and Mail Today.
  • Editor’s Choice Award – HT City Eating Out Guide
  • International Chefs Day - Chef Awards 2007 by Indian Federation Associations.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Vora, Shivani (16 October 2012). "Now in New York: Delhi’s Moti Mahal and a ‘Dosateria’". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ "Monish Gujral". Penguin Books India. Penguin India. 
  3. ^ Laura Siciliano-Rosen. "Delhi Food and Travel Guide: The inside scoop on the best North Indian foods". 
  4. ^ Gujral, Monish (20 Mar 2013). The Moti Mahal Cookbook. Penguin Books India. ISBN 9780143419860. 
  5. ^ "On a journey's trail". The Hindu. 28 November 2009. 
  6. ^ Bararia, Anu. "Had I not re-invented the brand, Moti Mahal would have become a thing of the past than a legacy to the future". India Hospitality Review. Retrieved 29 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "Restaurant chain Moti Mahal Deluxe opens outlet in Shimla". Himachal Live News. Retrieved 17 July 2010. 
  8. ^ Akhtar, Nazia (3 November 2009). "Moti Mahal brings Mughalia cuisines to Kashmir". Greater Kashmir Srinagar. 
  9. ^ "Famous Indian Restaurant Moti Mahal Tandoori Franchise Open in Oman". Franchise Mart. 
  10. ^ "Who invented the dal makhani?". NDTV Food. IANS. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  11. ^ "Moti Mahal offers complete Tandoori cuisine". Daily Excelsior. Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Vohra, Pankaj (2 February 2009). "Moti Mahal The Gem in Delhi's palate". Hindustan Times. 
  15. ^ Laura Siciliano-Rosen. "Delhi Food and Travel Guide: The inside scoop on the best North Indian foods". 
  16. ^ Vohra, Pankaj (2 February 2009). "Moti Mahal The Gem in Delhi's palate". Hindustan Times. 
  17. ^ "Dish". The Hindu. 17 May 2008. 
  18. ^ Patel, Perzen (4 January 2015). "Eight Kilometres Of Eating In Purani Dilli". The Huffington Post. 
  19. ^ Sanghvi, Vir (26 July 2014). "Bukhara: It’s old but it works". Hindustan Times. 
  20. ^ "The Moti Mahal Cookbook". Penguin India. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  21. ^ Sanghvi, Vir. "The modern dal makhani was invented by Moti Mahal". Vir Sanghvi. Retrieved 13 March 2010. 
  22. ^ "Who invented the dal makhani?". NDTV Food. IANS. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  23. ^ "Moti Mahal offers complete Tandoori cuisine". Daily Excelsior. Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  24. ^ Gujral, Monish (1 May 2004). Moti Mahal's tandoori trail. New Delhi: Roli Books. ISBN 9788174363169. 
  25. ^ Traub, James (8 January 1984). "FARE OF THE COUNTRY; TANDOORI ARTISTRY IN DELHI". The New York Times. 
  26. ^ Scott, Sharen. "Legend Of Moti Mahal The Evolution Of A Giant Enterprise". Article Snatch. 
  27. ^ Sahani, Diksha (22 December 2011). "Moti Mahal: Delhi’s Gastronomic Pearl". The Wall Street Journal. 
  28. ^ Sen, Colleen Taylor (29 October 2013). The Indian Restaurant Menu Decoded (1.0 ed.). eBooks2go, Inc. 
  29. ^ "THE FLAVOURS DILLIWALLAS SAVOURED". The HIndustan Times (Team Brunch). 10 August 2013. 
  30. ^ "Indian restaurateur Monish Gujral bags global award for food blog". Yahoo News. IANS. 30 January 2015.