Legal battle heats up over butter chicken’s true origin in India

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A culinary dispute has escalated to the courts in India over the origins of the globally renowned butter chicken, with two Indian restaurant chains claiming the title of inventor of the cherished recipe.

The Moti Mahal in Delhi, a large and storied Indian restaurant chain, whose patrons have included notable figures such as former US President Richard Nixon and India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, asserts that its founder, Kundan Lal Gujral, concocted the original butter chicken recipe in the 1930s.

The current owners of Moti Mahal have taken legal action against their competitors, Daryaganj, who have also declared themselves as the creators of the iconic dish, as well as another dish called Dal Makhani. The Gujral family is seeking damages amounting to US$240,000, equivalent to approximately 8.4 million baht, and accuses Daryaganj of copying their website and restaurant decor.

In response, Daryaganj, which was established in 2019, contends that one of its family members, Kundan Lal Jaggi, was a collaborator with Gujral in opening a restaurant in New Delhi in 1947 and that the butter chicken recipe originated during that time, which implies that they also have a rightful claim to the recipe.

The butter chicken case has captured the nation’s attention, with television media extensively covering the story and producing documentaries on the history of the Indian curry. The next hearing in this culinary courtroom battle is scheduled for May.

Butter chicken, also known as Murgh Makhani, is ranked 43rd on TasteAtlas’s list of the world’s best foods, with around 400,000 users contributing to its rating. The dish, characterized by its creamy tomato sauce, has become a staple in Indian cuisine and has spread its rich flavours to dining tables across the globe, reported Sanook.

As the legal proceedings unfold, food enthusiasts and legal experts alike are watching closely, anticipating the outcome that may finally settle the question of who can rightfully claim the title of the original creator of butter chicken.

This case goes beyond mere financial compensation; it’s about the pride and recognition of culinary innovation within India’s rich gastronomic heritage.

If you’re in the mood for some Indian cuisine, explore our list of the top Indian restaurants in Bangkok.

World News

Samantha Rose

Samantha was a successful freelance journalist who worked with international news organisations before joining Thaiger. With a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from London, her global perspective on news and current affairs is influenced by her days in the UK, Singapore, and across Thailand. She now covers general stories related to Thailand.

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