Claims Over Legacy Of World Famous `Butter Chicken’ Recipe Evinces Interest In Peshawar

Claims over legacy of world famous `Butter Chicken’ recipe evinces interest in Peshawar

PESHAWAR, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 30th May, 2024) Lawful claims over legacy of world famous `Butter Chicken’ recipe in India has evinced keen interest among dwellers of Peshawar, a city in Pakistan from where the ancestors of both the litigants belonged and groomed their culinary skills.

The descendants of late Kundal Lal Gujral, owner of Moti Mahal Hotels and Restaurants, and late Kundal Lal Jaggi, owner of Daryaganj, a restaurant chain started in 2019, are now a days engaged in litigation, claiming invention of the dish by their forefathers.

The grandfathers of current owners of the both the firms, Kundal Lal Gujral and Kundal Lal Jaggi, belonged to Peshawar who migrated after partition of sub-continent in 1947.

According to news reports, the popular Moti Mahal restaurant chain owner claims his restaurant had the sole right to be recognized as the inventor of the `Butter Chicken’ and demanded from its rival, the Daryaganj chain, to stop claiming credit.

“Kundan Lal Gujral, founder of Moti Mahal Hotels and Restaurants, created the cream-loaded dish in 1930s at an eatery in Peshawar before relocating to Delhi after 1947,” claims Monish Gujral of Moti Mahal Restaurant.

The news of lawful dispute between renowned restaurants of India also attracted interest among residents of Peshawar because the owners of both the eateries had roots in their city.

“I am observing arguments made by offspring of both the Kundals and becoming exited to see how recipe of chicken tandoori and butter chicken are invented in Peshawar and got global fame,” comments Jurgees Ahmad Siddique, a businessman from Peshawar.

“We met Kundal Lal Gujral during our visit to India in mid 80’s and he shared the story of his profession with us,” relates Jurgees Ahmad Siddique.

It was surprising to know how Moti Mahal Hotel shot to such a global fame because of its chicken delicacy, Jurgees shared his amazement.

Its clientele included Names of the world famous leaders including former United States President Richard Nixon, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, first education minister Maulana Azad and others, he went to say.

“Kundal Lal Gujral was like a friend to my late father (Muhammad Usman) who used to visit the eatery and spent his evening leisure in Saddar area,” shares Muhammad Naeem, another businessman and resident of Peshawar.

Naeem was anxious about outcome of the dispute between descendants of both the Kundals and wanted to see a decision in favor of friend of his late father.

“Kundan Lal Gujral worked as main chef with one Mukha Singh at their modest eatery at the back corner of Gora Bazar (opposite present-day Jallundhar Sweets) from 1920 to 47 and gave the world its first Tandoori Chicken,” opined Dr. Ali Jan, a profound lover of Peshawar’s heritage who also researched to find out exact location of restaurant in Saddar area of Peshawar.

At Mukha's eatery or 'Mukhay da Hotel', Kundal Lal Gujral came up with an ingenious idea to dig a tandoor right in the middle of the shop introducing the culinary art of 'Tandoori Food' which became popular locally.

After partition in 1947, Kundan Lal Gujral shut his business and bid farewell to Peshawar with a heavy heart. In New Delhi, this refugee rebuilt his life from scratch and set up Moti Mahal restaurant.

During research on Mukha's restaurant in Peshawar in the year 2015, Dr. Ali Jan said he interviewed few very senior persons including Mr. Albert Godin (then aged 86, of Godin Records fame settled in Canada). Mr. Basant Chadha (Aged 86, resident of 32 The Mall S/O late Gulab Rai store owner Arbab Road settled in Jabalpur, India), Mr. Chandar Mohan Bhasin (84, his father's classmate then settled in Delhi) and Mr. Bilbir Singh (86, owner of cafe` opposite Lansdowne Cinema, now settled in Delhi).

All these personalities shared valuable information and offered great help to locate birthplace of the Tandoori Chicken, but none of them made any mention of Kundal Lan Jaggi, Ali Jan told APP.

However, after claim of grandson of Kundal Lal Jaggi in news, Ali Jan did further research and found that he (Jaggi) had a Peshawar connection but it could not be said with certainty if he worked in the same eatery as a chef.

The main chef was Kundal Lal Gujral who shifted his culinary skill from Peshawar Saddar area to Daryaganj (Central Delhi). The Peshawari tandoori food became instantly popular in India and Kundal Lal became a celebrity and a legend, Jan believed.

Dr. Ali Jan said, personally he wished that the matter would get amicably settled between the two Peshawaries, however people in their ancestral city are eager over fate of claims by grandchildren of both the Kundals and waiting to see who is the real inventor of famous chicken recipe.