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With its roasted chunks of chicken shrouded in spiced, velvety orange curry, chicken tikka masala is one of the most admired dishes in Britain. For the uninitiated, the dish comprises boneless chunks of chicken soaked in spices and yogurt that are grilled in an oven before being stifled in a creamy tomato sauce.

The origins of chicken tikka masala are indefinable. It does not subsist as such in Indian cuisine or figure frequently on menus in India. So, where did it initiate?

Chicken tikka is undoubtedly a common appetizer in India. The bite-size boneless chunks of chicken, soaked in yogurt and spices, are roasted in the tandoor oven. The course of making chicken tikka masala institutes Indian ingredients and cooking methods; it engages a tandoor oven, the sort of which has been used in central Asia for 5,000 years.

A popular Indian cuisine whose contemporary interpretation essentially originates from England and is an example of how food from different cultures and regions can be modified or generated to appeal more to a distinct culture. 

Chicken tikka masala is comparable in look to the popular Indian dish, Butter Chicken; though this famous chicken dish has a more intricate mixture of spices, including more of a tomato bass, and is usually much spicier.

Usually in India, the chicken would have been prepared by using a tandoor clay oven. The chicken would be grilled with the bone in and as a whole piece. The use of “tikka”, or little pieces of meat, arose from the initial leader and founder of the Mughal dynasty, Babur.


Babur was wary of eating around the bones thus he ordered the chefs to eradicate them before cooking the chicken, consequential in what was named “joleh” which is Persian for “tikka”.

The modern embodiment of this famous dish is said to initiate from Glasgow, Scotland, evidently created in 1971 at Shish Mahal, a renowned authentic curry house.

Ali Ahmed Aslam asserts to have created the dish after a customer criticized that his chicken was dry by including tomato soup and an assortment of spices used in Indian food.

There are, however, many claims to the origins of chicken tikka masala, comprising a dish named Shahi Chicken Masala, which was issued in 1961 in the Indian Cookery magazine by Mrs. Balbir Singh. This dish is related to chicken in terms of the use of similar spices but does not use almost as much tomato soup or tomato paste. 

Though not initially from India, chicken famous tikka masala has become one of the most extensively known Indian dishes and is usually a staple at many Indian restaurants. The fact that this dish makes for a scrumptious and delectable appetizer will draw you more to taste the finest of chicken tikka, at Desi Hype!