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Where does Chicken Tikka Masala come from?

By Edited Dec 22, 2013 0 0

Well surprisingly, it's not India, it's Glasgow and in fact Britain exports Chicken Tikka Masala to India!

Invented in Glasgow in the late 1960s, Chicken Tikka Masala (CTM), is Britain's most popular dish. There is no standard recipe for CTM and a recent survey by the Real Curry Guide tested 48 different versions, finding only one common ingredient, chicken!

Although Chicken Tikka is a traditional Bangladeshi dish in which pieces of marinated chicken are cooked in a clay oven called a tandoor. This style of cooking is ancient and originated in the Middle East, the word deriving from the Babylonian 'tinuru' meaning 'fire'.

The first chicken tandoori on a British restaurant menu was at the Gaylord in Mortimer Street, London in 1966. The recipe reached Glasgow shortly afterwards where according to legend, a customer asked for some gravy to go with it, the chef improvised with tomato soup, spices and cream.

Masala means a mixture of spices and the usual CTM contains ginger and garlic, tomatoes, b

chicken tikka masala with rice (39407)
utter and cream, spiced with cardamom, cloves, cumin, nutmeg, mild red chilli powder and paprika, fenugreek and turmeric.

The turmeric gives it the bright yellow colour, although the synthetic dye tartrazine is often used as a substitute. (This, among other unpleasant things, makes the curry stains impossible to remove from clothing.) CTM doesn't have a standard colour or style and can be yellow, brown, red or green and chilli hot; creamy and mild; or smooth and sweet.

In 2001, the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook declare 'Chicken Tikka Masala is now a true British National Dish, not only because it is the most popular, but because it is a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs and adapts external influences.'

The CTM is so popular in Britain that 1 in every 7 curries sold in the UK is a CTM - 23 million each year. Many charities and schools in the city of Sylhet in Bangladesh are funded by profits from the British Chicken Tikka Masala boom, with over 8,000 Indian restaurants in Britain, employing over 70,000 people and making in excess of £2 billion each year.

CTM is not only popular in Britain though, it is popular all over the world, and recently won the USA Food Festival. According to reports, almost every one present there at the USA Food Festival liked the dish and ranked it in first place.

Not bad for a dish that could possibly have been created using an improvised tomato soup 'gravy'!



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