Lawsuit Over Butter Chicken Origins: Moti Mahal Heirs Clash

The beloved dish, butter chicken, is at the center of a legal battle between two families claiming its invention. According to BBC, the dispute originates from the legendary Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi, with each family asserting lineage to its creation.

The lawsuit, filed in the Delhi High Court, involves the family of Kundan Lal Gujral, one of Moti Mahal’s founders, accusing a rival chain, Daryaganj, of falsely claiming credit for the dish.

The story of butter chicken’s origins traces back to post-Independence India, where Moti Mahal’s founders migrated from Peshawar.

It’s said that the dish emerged from frugality, using leftover tikkas blended into a rich tomato gravy with butter. Over the years, Moti Mahal gained renown, counting India’s first Prime Minister Nehru among its regulars.

However, disputes arose over the years, leading to Moti Mahal’s lease and subsequent launch of a separate chain, Moti Mahal Delux.

Meanwhile, Daryaganj, founded by the grandson of Moti Mahal’s second partner, claimed ownership of butter chicken and dal makhani.

The legal battle raises questions of culinary ownership and legacy, reminiscent of past disputes over dishes like the rasgulla. Yet, as food writer Vir Sanghvi suggests, such disputes often matter less to diners than the quality of the food itself.

The outcome of the court case remains uncertain, with lawyers relying on circumstantial evidence and testimonies to determine the true originator of butter chicken.

Regardless of the verdict, the dish’s popularity ensures its presence on menus worldwide, transcending the legal wrangling between competing restaurants.

Source: BBC

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