Chicken tikka masala claims its origins in Scotland

GLASGOW, August 3, 2009 (AFP) – Scotland is known around the world for bagpipes, Scotch whisky, haggis and tartan kilts. But now it is trying to protect a less obviously Scottish treasure: chicken tikka masala. A chef from Glasgow claims he invented the curry dish, and is pressing the European Union to give it “Protected Designation of Origin” status, alongside the likes of Champagne, Parma Ham and Greek Feta cheese.

The Ali family, owners of Shish Mahal restaurant in Glasgow, said they came up with the creamy, mildly spicy curry in the 1970s to please the Scots, but then it went on to become the most popular dish in British restaurants.

“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’,” said Ahmed Aslam Ali, 64, founder of Shish Mahal.

“We thought we’d better cook the chicken with some sauce. So from here we cooked chicken tikka with the sauce that contains yogurt, cream, spices.

“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 yogurt and cream.”

Although it is difficult to prove definitively w