What is Chicken Tikka Masala? A Brief History
Foodies have long thought of chicken tikka masala, which is made of chunks of juicy roasted chicken covered in a creamy orange curry sauce, as proof that the UK is a multicultural hub. But where did the “unofficial” national dish of Britain come from?
The funny thing is that the topic, like many great things, can be discussed and is a source of serious disagreement for many. Some vaguely say it’s a British version of a curry, while a good number of people are sure it has its roots in India. Then there are those who are married to the idea that it began in Glasgow, Scotland.
Fans of the famous food critic Rahul Verma will agree with his claim that the dish was first made in Punjab in 1971: “It’s basically a Punjabi dish that’s not more than 40-50 years old and must have been found by accident and changed over time.”
The great Ali Ahmed Aslam of Glasgow’s Shish Mahal, an authentic Scottish curry house with a cult following, may have the most convincing argument. People say that this man is the real person who made chicken tikka masala.
In the 1970s, a customer who was unhappy about his chicken complained that it was dry. Once he was taken back to the kitchen, Mr. Ali, who had a stomach ulcer and could only eat liquids due to divine intervention, insisted that his tomato soup and some spices be added to the dry curry to make it taste better. Needless to say, the customer went from being upset to being overjoyed. He loved the dish so much that he kept coming back with his friends to try it again.
So, at the Shish Mahal, a star was born. As a popular British dish, this star grew into a galaxy of beautiful constellations. The year 2009 was a big one for Glaswegians and everyone at the Shish Mahal. Labour MP Mohammad Sarwar, with the support of the city council, put forward an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons asking that chicken tikka masala be legally recognized as being from Glasgow. In other words, he wanted the European Union to protect the area around Glasgow’s dish by giving it protected geographical status. Even though Sarwar tried hard, his motion did not make it to debate.
On the other side of the debate about chicken tikka masala are Colleen and Peter Grove, who insist that the dish “most likely was invented in Britain, probably by a Bangladeshi chef.” After looking into all the different claims of where the dish came from, these foodies point to Mrs. Balbir Singh’s recipe for Shahi Chicken Masala, which was published in 1961 in Indian Cookery. The plot gets worse.
So, the next time you eat this famous dish, make sure you really taste it. The facts show that Glasgow has a good chance of being called the capital of chicken tikka masala. On the other hand, like a lot of great things, the answer may never come to light.
Topic: What is Chicken Tikka Masala? A Brief History
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By: Travel Pixy