Inventor of chicken tikka masala dies at 77

| Updated: December 24, 2022 17:22:39

Chef Ali Ahmed Aslam, who invented chicken tikka masala |shishmahal.co.uk Chef Ali Ahmed Aslam, who invented chicken tikka masala |shishmahal.co.uk

A chef who is believed to have invented the recipe for chicken tikka masala, regarded as Britain’s favourite curry, has died aged 77, The Guardian reports.

Aslam’s death on Monday was announced by his Shish Mahal restaurant in Scotland's Glasgow, which closed for 48 hours as a mark of respect. The eatery announced: “Hey, Shish Snobs … Mr Ali passed away this morning … We are all absolutely devastated and heartbroken.”

His funeral was held at the Glasgow Central Mosque on Tuesday.

Aslam was born in Pakistan and moved with his family to Scotland as a young boy before opening Shish Mahal in Glasgow’s west end in 1964, according to the report.

He was married and has five children, according to a social media post.

In an interview with the AFP news agency, Aslam explained that he created the chicken tikka masala in the 1970s when a customer asked if there was a way of making his chicken tikka less dry. His solution was to add a creamy tomato sauce.

He said, "Chicken tikka masala was invented in this restaurant. We used to make chicken tikka, and one day a customer said, ‘I’d take some sauce with that, this is a bit dry.’"

They thought it would be better to cook the chicken with some sauce and hence cooked chicken tikka with the sauce that contains yoghurt, cream and spices, he said. “It’s a dish prepared according to our customer’s taste. Usually, they don’t take hot curry – that’s why we cook it with yoghurt and cream.”

In 2009, Mohammad Sarwar, then Labour MP for Glasgow Central, called for the city to be officially recognised as the home of the chicken tikka masala. He campaigned for Glasgow to be given EU Protected Designation of Origin status for the curry and tabled an early day motion in the House of Commons.

But the bid was unsuccessful, with a number of other establishments around the UK also claiming to have invented the popular dish, bdnews24.com reports. 

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