Culinary Clash Over Butter Chicken And Dal Makhani Origins

Famous for its rich culinary history, Moti Mahal has sued its competitor, Daryaganj, for allegedly stealing its recipes. Claiming that their ancestor, Kundan Lal Jaggi, is the true mastermind behind butter chicken and dal makhani, the descendants of Kundan Lal Gujral—the alleged founder of Moti Mahal—Rupa Gujral and her son Monish Gujral have filed a lawsuit against Daryaganj. 

The story progresses as Moti Mahal and Daryaganj discover a common history that connects their culinary traditions. After migrating from Peshawar, where the first Moti Mahal restaurant was founded, the two Kundan Lals and a third partner from Peshawar ran the joint in Daryaganj, Old Delhi. Moti Mahal is a loved restaurant in Indian culinary history due to its historical importance as the origin of butter chicken and dal makhani. 

The legal dispute, which was started by Rupa Gujral and Monish Gujral via Sandeep Sethi, a senior advocate, claims that Daryaganj is deceiving the public by saying that Jaggi was the creative mind behind the famous recipes and Kundan Lal Gujral was just the public face of Moti Mahal, dealing with front-end management. 

According to the lawsuit, "The the complainant's predecessor, late Mr Kundan Gujral is popularly known as ‘the inventor of tandoori chicken, butter chicken, and dal makhani’." By claiming that Kundan Lal Gujral created dal makhani at the same time as butter chicken, using the same recipe but with black lentils, it further highlights the close relationship between the two dishes. 

The Gujrals are requesting ₹2 crore in damages, stating that Daryaganj's alleged misuse undermines the nature of the Moti Mahal brand and harms its reputation and goodwill. The lawsuit alleges that Daryaganj is trying to damage Moti Mahal's reputation by making people mistakenly think that the two restaurants are affiliated. 

In response, Daryaganj's senior counsel Amit Sibal claims that the first Moti Mahal was built in Peshawar by ancestors of both sides. In their defence, they state that they have made no fraudulent statements and that the charges are without merit. 

To demonstrate goodwill and foster cooperation, Daryaganj's counsel undertook to remove the photo of Moti Mahal’s restaurant in Peshawar from its website. However, as of now, the restaurant is yet to file a formal response to the legal proceedings. 

The culinary clash brings to light not only the legal intricacies of intellectual property in the culinary world but also the emotional and cultural ties associated with these iconic dishes. As the Delhi High Court delves into the depths of this flavorful legal battle, the outcome will not only impact the reputations of the restaurants involved but may also influence how the culinary history of butter chicken and dal makhani is remembered in the vibrant tapestry of Indian gastronomy. 

As the Delhi High Court dives into this delicious legal fight, the result may not only affect the restaurants' reputations but may also change how the history of butter chicken and dal makhani is remembered in the diverse history of Indian food.  

As we are deeply connected to these meals here’s to know their history. 

Butter Chicken 

The delectable Butter Chicken, a dish that has become almost associated with Indian food, really originated in India just a few decades before partition. Mukhey da Dhaba, an old sweet shop run by Mokha Singh, is where the story begins in Peshawar. Kundan Lal Gujral, a future master chef, learned his craft here as a young man and helped create the world-famous Tandoori Chicken. 

Gujral bought the store and renamed it Moti Mahal when Mokha Singh's health declined, a fateful decision that changed the course of history. Because Gujral knew it would be difficult to keep Tandoori Chicken juicy all day, he came up with a tomato, butter, cream, and spice gravy. This development did more than only rejuvenate chickens; it also gave rise to the now-iconic Butter Chicken. 

Gujral and Moti Mahal immigrated to Delhi during the traumatic Indian partition, bringing with them the tantalising aromas of Tandoori Chicken and Butter Chicken. The humble Daryaganj restaurant expanded into a flourishing restaurant franchise within the course of seven decades. The restaurant's Butter Chicken is a treasured tradition that has delighted diners for years, and it is currently run by Gujral's grandson Monish. 

Dal Makhani 

The legendary chef Kundan Lal Gujral, who opened the Moti Mahal chain of restaurants, had a lot to do with the creation of Dal Makhani, a standard dish in North Indian food. While working at Mukhey da Dhaba in Peshawar in the 1940s, Gujral learned from Mokha Singh, who helped him get started on his path. Gujral bought the shop after Singh's health started to deteriorate, changed the name to Moti Mahal, and after the split moved to Delhi, making Moti Mahal a famous restaurant. 

Black urad dal, also known as black gram, was traditionally a dish from West Pakistan that was served with hot rotis. This classic dish was changed by Gujral's creative cooking, though. He added a new and innovative twist by using cream and tomatoes, which had never been done before in Punjabi cooking, as a souring ingredient. This was the start of Dal Makhani, which changed the way North Indian food is made forever. The creation of Dal Makhani was very similar to the creation of Butter Chicken, which is also a cooking masterpiece. Gujral cleverly cooked the chicken in a tasty mixture of tomatoes, butter, cream, and spices so that it wouldn't dry out while it was hanging on the tandoor seeks. The black urad dal was made with the same method, which led to Dal Makhani. There are North Indian restaurants all over the country that serve Dal Makhani today. This is an example of Kundan Lal Gujral's culinary tradition that continues to please people's taste buds.