A court in India will rule on who invented butter chicken
Two Delhi restaurants have gone to court as they claim that they have right to say they’re the home of one of India’s favourite dishes: butter chicken.
The lawsuit to decide the matter was brought by the Gujral family who run Moti Mahal who say the dish was the creation of their grandfather Kundan Lal Gujral who founded the restaurant in Peshawar, in what is now Pakistan. After India was split during partition in 1947, they moved the restaurant to Delhi.
They say the recipe, an indulgent curry that involves tender pieces of chicken cooked in a tandoori oven mixed into a rich tomato gravy laden with butter and cream, was invented by Gujral in the 1930s to use up leftover tandoori chicken.
Monish Gujral, the managing director at Moti Mahal said: “You cannot take away somebody’s legacy .The dish was invented when our grandfather was in Pakistan.”
However rival restaurant Daryaganj has also staked its claim to butter chicken’s origins with their owners saying their relative, Kundan Lal Jaggi, had worked with Gujral when he moved his restaurant to Delhi in 1947 and it was there that butter chicken was created.
They believe that this gives them the right to call themselves home to the first serving of the dish, a claim they say they trademarked in 2018.
As well as seeking rights to the title of butter chicken inventor, the Gujral family is seeking $240,000 in damages.
Given the slow pace of India’s courts, the pressing question of butter chicken’s origins may not be solved for months or even years. The next hearing of the case will be in May.