Ali Ahmed Aslam, self-proclaimed hen tikka masala inventor, dies


Hen tikka masala is one among Britain’s favourite curries, discovered on the cabinets of main supermarkets like Sainsbury’s and within the eating places of London’s Curry Mile. Now, followers of the dish are mourning the person who claimed to have invented it.

A Pakistani immigrant restaurant proprietor in Scotland, Ali Ahmed Aslam, the self-proclaimed inventor of hen tikka masala, has died on the age of 77, in accordance with his son Asif Ali.

Tons of of tributes poured in for Mr. Ali, as he was popularly identified in Glasgow, the place his restaurant Shish Mahal has existed since 1964. Clients recalled him as a “gentleman” who dished out mouthwatering curries.

Born in Pakistan, Aslam moved to Glasgow on the age of 16, finally rising as a star of the United Kingdom’s Indian restaurant capital, in accordance with one overview. Ali instructed The Put up that his father got here from a really poor background and labored onerous to create a greater life for his household. “He was a easy man. He beloved dal and greens,” Ali stated.

Hen tikka masala is just like Indian butter hen, with a creamy tomato sauce. In tikka masala, boneless hen is marinated in yogurt after which roasted in a tandoori oven.

Shish Mahal says Aslam got here up with chicken tikka masala recipe accidentally within the early Seventies after a buyer complained that the hen tikka was too dry. Aslam pulled collectively a fast curry sauce with a can of Campbell’s tomato soup and spices that he had been consuming for a abdomen ulcer.

For a lot of, Shish Mahal grew to become synonymous with the dish. When Lonely Planet featured hen tikka masala as a part of the recipe e book on the world’s greatest spicy meals, it famous Aslam’s story.

In 2009, in a nod to Aslam’s declare, Mohammad Sarwar, Labor MP for Glasgow Central, campaigned for the town to be acknowledged as the house of the hen tikka masala. Whereas the bid failed, Aslam’s contribution because the inventor was famous within the decision.

“Glaswegians beloved the flavour of Asian spices however nonetheless needed a little bit of gravy on their meat. The Shish Mahal pioneered nice Asian meals with a Glasgow twist,” Sarwar instructed the BBC on the time.

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Nevertheless, not everybody agrees and the origin of the dish stays contested amongst historians.

Peter and Colleen Gove, consultants on the historical past of Indian meals in Britain, referred to as the dish the “Cinderella” of culinary creations, given its enigmatic origins. In a bit in 1994 for Menu journal they concluded that the dish was “most certainly” invented in Britain to swimsuit a Western palate, most likely by a Bangladeshi chef.

An analogous recipe is present in “Mrs. Balbir Singh’s Indian Cookery,” an acclaimed cookbook printed in 1961 by an Indian chef, which some meals historians imagine to be a prototype for the hen tikka masala.

For meals and tradition author Leena Trivedi-Grenier, hen tikka masala is basically the identical as butter chicken, and is alleged to have been created by a Pakistani refugee, Kundan Lal Gujral, who moved to India through the partition on the finish of British colonial rule.

Rana Safvi, a meals and tradition historian in India, instructed The Put up that meals from Mughal dynasty that dominated the nation between sixteenth and mid-18th century had undergone a number of such improvements.

“Simply because the well-known kakori kabab,” a northern Indian delicacy, “was invented as a result of some British officer thought of seekh kabab too chewy, the hen tikka masala was invented for a buyer who discovered the tikka too dry in U.Ok.,” she stated.

No matter its origin, the dish got here to characterize the multicultural British id. Overseas secretary Robin Prepare dinner referred to as the dish a “perfect illustration” of how the nation tailored to exterior influences.

“Hen tikka is an Indian dish. The masala sauce was added to fulfill the will of British individuals to have their meat served in gravy,” he stated in a 2001 speech.

Tons of of hen tikka masala followers famous Aslam’s starring function.

One fan on Twitter stated he was “more important than Edison.”

It’s the “best dish ever created and RIP to this absolute god,” wrote one other.

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