It’s certainly one of India’s best-loved dishes. However butter hen is simply as contentious as it’s scrumptious – with two Indian restaurant chains locked in a authorized battle over claims to its origins.
House owners of Moti Mahal, a famed Delhi restaurant, have filed a lawsuit in opposition to rival chain Daryaganj, accusing it of falsely claiming to have invented the dish in addition to dal makhani, a well-liked lentil dish that can also be laden with butter and cream.
Moti Mahal, which has counted late US president Richard Nixon and India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru amongst its friends, claims its founder – Kundan Lal Gujral – created butter hen earlier than the partition of India and Pakistan.
It claims the dish – made with tandoor-cooked hen items blended in a tomato gravy with dollops of cream and butter – was invented within the Nineteen Thirties when the restaurant first opened in Peshawar (now in Pakistan) earlier than it moved to Delhi.
Daryaganj, which was established in 2019 – claims a member of its founding household – Kundan Lal Jaggi – partnered with Moti Mahal’s Gujral to open the Delhi restaurant in 1947, and the dish was invented there.
It claims that provides it the appropriate to additionally lay declare to the creation of the dish.
The Gujral household is in search of $240,000 (£188,000) in damages, additionally alleging that Daryaganj has copied the format of Moti Mahal’s web site and “the appear and feel” of its eating places.
“You can’t take away someone’s legacy,” mentioned Monish Gujral, managing director at Moti Mahal.
The dispute has captured the nation’s consideration with Indian TV broadcasters operating segments on the historical past of the dish and debate raging on social media.
“It is an offbeat, distinctive case. You actually do not know who created the primary dish of butter hen. The courtroom can be laborious pressed and might want to depend on circumstantial proof,” mentioned Ameet Datta, an mental property lawyer at India’s Saikrishna & Associates.
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Testimonies of people that can hyperlink the model to the dish they consumed many years in the past may very well be important, he added.
The case was first heard by the Delhi Excessive Court docket final week and the following listening to is ready to happen in Could.