We Will Soon Find Out Who Invented Butter Chicken, Dal Makhani Via This Landmark Case In Delhi High Court


Rohit Kulkarni

Rohit Kulkarni

Jan 26, 2024


What comes to your mind when you think of sumptuous Punjabi meal, it is most probably butter chicken as well as dal makhani. Recently butter chicken was making waves since it was voted as the best chicken dish globally.

We Will Soon Find Out Who Invented Butter Chicken, Dal Makhani Via This Landmark Case In Delhi High Court

Plea Filed by Moti Mahal Restaurant Owners

In this story we delve into the invention of this icon recipes.

Till now, many believe that the recipes were developed by Moti Mahal restaurant owners. However, there has also been a claim by Daryaganj restaurant that it is them who are behind these masterpieces. Now the former is seeking legal intervention on this matter to decide who is the true originators of these popular dishes.

A plea has been filed by Moti Mahal restaurant owners accusing Daryaganj restaurant over false claim of invention of these dishes. The applicant of plea, Rupa Gujral, has claimed that both the dishes have been invented by her late father-in-law, Kundan Lal Gujral.

Located in Darya Ganj, a historical neighborhood in Delhi, both the restaurants have engaged in a media-fueled dispute over the authenticity of their claims.

As per the applicant, it was in 1920 when Kundan Lal Gujral began presenting these dishes in Peshawar, before moving to Delhi and establishing the first Daryaganj restaurant. The lawsuit contains 2700 pages wherein it has been stated that by 1948, a hotel named Moti Mahal Hotel was opened by Mr. Gujral in Darya Ganj. Wherein his tandoori specialties gained prominence at events attended by Prime Minister Nehru.

She claims that it was her father-in-law who invented the makhani sauce in 1975, preventing food dehydration. In order to prevent unsold chicken leftovers from dehydration since there was no refrigeration, Mr. Gujral developed the makhani butter sauce. This sauce was a rich gravy with tomatoes, butter, cream, and spices.

This led to the invention of Butter Chicken, which gained traction and then later global popularity. The same recipe was later extended to the black lentils, which resulted in dal makhani.

Daryagarj Restaurant Owners Claim the Invention

On the flipside, the Daryaganj restaurant owners say that it was late Kundan Lal Jaggi who was the true man behind the recipes. Senior Advocate Amit Sibal, representing Daryaganj, deems the allegations baseless. The advocate also claimed that the first Moti Mahal restaurant was jointly established in Peshawar by Kundan Lal Gujral and Kundan Lal Jaggi.

Led by Justice Sanjeev Narula, the Delhi High Court heard the case on January 16. The court has directed and issued summons to Daryaganj Owners and directed them to respond within a month. With the next hearing on May 29, the court also addressed Moti Mahal’s application for interim injunction. 

There has been historically battles over the food origin and this case reminds us of the legal battle of Tunday Kababi in Lucknow as well as a trademark suit between Kake-Da-Hotel and Kaka-Ka Hotel in Delhi’s Connaught Place in 2018.


Rohit Kulkarni
Rohit Kulkarni
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