Chicken tikka masala inventor dies aged 77

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A chef from Glasgow, who claims to have invented the curry dish chicken tikka masala, has died at the age of 77, a family member said on Wednesday.

Ahmed Aslam Ali, who invented the dish by improvising a sauce made from a tin of tomato soup at his restaurant Shish Mahal in the 1970s, died on Monday morning, his nephew Andleeb Ahmed said.

Ali, originally from Punjab, Pakistan, moved with his family to Glasgow as a young boy before opening Shish Mahal in Glasgow’s west end in 1964.

He said he wanted the dish to be a gift to Glas-gow, to give something back to his adopted city. In 2009, he campaigned unsuccessfully for the dish to be granted “Protected Designation of Origin” status by the European Union, alongside the likes of Champagne, Parma Ham and Greek Feta cheese.

MP Mohammad Sarwar tabled a motion in the House of Commons in 2009 calling for EU protec-tion. Ali leaves a wife, three sons and two daughters.

In an interview in 2009, Ali said he came up with the recipe for chicken tikka masala after a customer complained that his chicken tikka was too dry.

“Chicken tikka masala was invented in this res-taurant, we used to make chicken tikka, and one day a customer said, ‘I’d take some sauce with that, this is a bit dry’,” Ali said.

“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.”

The dish went on to become the most popular dish in British restaurants.—INP