The Chicken Tikka Massala Legend

A British speciality?

As you can see on this site or that one, Chicken Tikka Masala is a mystery, and like any mistery, it has got its legends. Where is Chicken Tikka Masala from? Most of the stories apparently agree to say it was imagined by a South-Asian cook settled in Great-Britain who wanted to please Western palates.

So, let me tell you my story!

 Once upon a time in an unknown part of Great Britain, a restaurant owner called Abhishek had prepared a traditional dish: Tikka Chicken. The customers who were there and who were not Indian found the pieces of tandoori meat too dry and too spicy. « I wish old Gordon Setter hadn’t had his heart attack and his pub wasn’t closed! His roastbeef and gravy are far tastier and tenderer! », Jack Terrier complained before taking a big gulp of lager.

« What can I do? » asked the Indian restaurant owner to himself. « They are obsessed with their traditional gravy! » He was very worried. He had come from India two years ago to start a new life with his young wife Aishwarya and he didn’t want to give up now! « Use your initiative! », said Aishwarya while she was frying slices of aloo in a saucepan. « I refused to take part in Miss India Contest 1968 to follow you to this sad and cold country! So, don’t give up now or I will go back to Mumbai in my family! I’m sure I can make it in Bollywood! »

Abhishek was thoughtfully looking out of the window when he saw Mr Cocker the milkman who was delivering his pots of yoghurt to Mrs Poodle the teacher. He was wearing a red tee-shirt showing a famous painting by Andy Wharol: Campbell.

Abhishek started: « That’s it! I’ve got an idea! » He ran to Mr Cocker’s grocery and bought tins of tomato sauce. He asked the dairyman to sell him some yoghurt and rushed back into his kitchen.

You guess what happened next! Tikka Massala Chicken was born!

Before…Classic Tikka Masala

The roasted spicy pieces of chicken found themselves soaked in a creamy masala sauce made of

…after! Chicken Tikka Massala!

yoghurt and tomato. Abhishek’s clients were highly satisfied, and the Indian cook became famous in the whole town. Aishwarya didn’t return to India and old Gordon Setter resold his pub to a bank company.

Nowadays, CTM is considered as a real British national dish and was claimed the favourite dish in the United Kingdom, a bit like Couscous in France. CTM is not only a food speciality but it is also a symbol, the great symbol of multiculturalism in Greant Britain. As foreign secretary Robin Cook stated in a speech in 2001: Chicken Tikka Massala 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. Chicken Tikka is an Indian dish. The Massala sauce was added to satisfy the desire of British people to have their meat served in gravy.

Even if some people may not agree with the origins of this cooking masterpiece, they can’t deny it has become a British bestseller!

This Indian-British speciality is so popular that even in France, eating CTM is not mission impossible. However, the recipe is not unique, like for the apple tart, there are as many CTM recipes as cooks. The aim is just to get a slightly sweet rust-colour creamy sauce.

So, the rule of the game in the next episode of my CTM adventures will be to find the best way to eat this dish easily without cooking too much and without going to the restaurant of course.

Will I accomplish this unspeakable mission?

You’ll discover the answer in tomorrow’s post!

 Oh, yes, and what about Abhishek and Aishwaria? Well, they became so wealthy and so happy that they had three babies: York, Bernard and Chippiparai!

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