NEW DELHI: Butter Chicken is arguably one of India’s most beloved dish, if not the most, and can be found bubbling on kitchen stoves. It’s mouth-watering looks and irresistible aroma has the power to pull foodies from afar.
However, this lip-smacking north Indian cuisine has found itself embroiled at the center of a contentious dispute over its origin.
Two Delhi-based restaurant chains, Moti Mahal and Daryaganj, both lay claim to this iconic cuisine, and have since been engaged in a tussle – one that has now reached India’s courts. The Delhi High Court is set to decide who invented butter chicken and dal makhni.
Moti Mahal, whose customer base boosted the likes of former Indian PM Jawaharlal Nehru, has long claimed that butter chicken and dal makhni was invented by its late founder Kundal Lal Gujral (1902-97), who apparently brought the dish to India from Peshawar’s Moti Mahal restaurant after Partition.
The restaurant says that the recipe, an aromatic curry that involves tender pieces of chicken cooked in a tandoor oven mixed into a rich tomato gravy full of butter and cream, was invented by Gujral to use up leftover tandoori chicken.
On the other hand, their rival restaurant Daryaganj, which featured in Shark Tank India, also staked its claims to the origins of butter chicken. Its proprietors claimed that their grandfather Kundan Lal Jaggi (1924 – 2018) had invented both the dishes instead.
As a result, Moti Mahal filed a legal lawsuit against Daryaganj at the Delhi High Court, accusing their rival of passing off Moti Mahal’s invention as its own.
Notably, Moti Mahal’s suit alleges trademark infringement and passing off and seeks a temporary injunction against Daryaganj.
Meanwhile, the counsel for Daryaganj, in the Delhi High Court on January 16, struck back at Moti Mahal’s claims, labeling the entire suit as “misconceived, baseless, and lacking a cause of action.”