“Indian Curry Houses Compete for Supreme Butter Chicken at Moti Mahal”

A legal battle has erupted over the origins of butter chicken, a beloved Indian dish that has captured the hearts and appetites of people around the world. The dispute, filed in the Delhi High Court, involves two rival restaurant chains and their claims to have invented the popular curry.

The lawsuit was brought by the family of Kundan Lal Gujral, one of the original founders of the renowned Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi, established in 1947. The family claims that Gujral created butter chicken and has sued a rival chain, Daryaganj, for falsely taking credit for it. They are also seeking damages and have alleged that Daryaganj has wrongly claimed to have invented another popular dish, dal makhani.

The lore surrounding the invention of butter chicken traces back to a man named Mokha Singh and three of his employees, who later went on to found different restaurants across the Indian subcontinent. The dish was born out of frugality, using leftover tikkas mixed in a thick tomato gravy with butter. It gained immense popularity, attracting ministers, heads of state, and other dignitaries to the original Moti Mahal restaurant.

After the death of Kundan Lal Gujral, the Gujral family faced financial difficulties and eventually had to lease out the original Moti Mahal. They later launched a separate chain called Moti Mahal Deluxe, which led to a rivalry with the grandson of the second partner, Kundan Lal Jaggi, who opened the Daryaganj chain of restaurants. This led to a legal battle over who truly invented butter chicken, with the Gujral family demanding that Daryaganj be restrained from claiming ownership of the dish.

The dispute over the origins of butter chicken is just one example of a broader trend of chefs and restaurants asserting ownership and intellectual property rights over their signature dishes. However, some argue that such disputes are commercial in nature and have little to do with customers, who primarily care about enjoying the dishes they love.

It’s uncertain how the court will resolve the butter chicken dispute, as it revolves around a disagreement between two families over their grandfathers’ legacies. In the end, the true ownership of butter chicken may be difficult to determine after so many decades. Nonetheless, the popularity and widespread availability of the dish continue to bring enjoyment to people around the world.

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