When you think of England, some of the first things that come to your mind are Big Ben, British accents, the Royal family, football matches and tea. But, have you ever thought about Chicken Tikka Masala, one of the traditional British foods?
England has a lot of popular foods, including the roast beef with Yorkshire pudding that we’ve talked about in the previous article. However, chicken tikka masala is another common British dish consisting of roasted marinated chicken in a spiced curry sauce. If you want to learn more about this delicious food and how to prepare it, stick with us and continue reading below!
Chicken Tikka Masala Origins
Chicken tikka masala is one of the most popular takeout foods in England and is a main menu item in the curry houses in London. This dish consists of marinated boneless chicken pieces traditionally cooked in a tandoor and served in a spiced sauce.
The origins of the dish are debated, and there are different beliefs about it. Some people believe that it was invented in the 1970s by a Bangladeshi chef in Glasgow, Scotland.
According to the story, Ali Ahmed Aslam, owner of the Shish Mahal restaurant in Glasgow, invented the chicken tikka masala by serving marinated chicken in yoghurt with a tomato soup into the curry and some spices.
He served this dish to a bus driver and the driver absolutely loved it. He and his friends came back to the restaurant and ordered chicken tikka masala, so the chef put it on the menu.
Another explanation is that chicken tikka masala originated from the South Asian community in Britain. On the other side, there is a story that in the 1960s, some chefs who migrated from what was then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) developed and served a couple of Indian dishes in England, including chicken tikka masala.
No matter which story is true, one thing is certain - chicken tikka masala has Indian origins but is one of the most popular dishes in England. In 2001, the British Foreign Secretary was talking about the benefits of Britain’s multiculturalism, including chicken tikka masala.
“This food is now a true British national dish and is a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs and adapts external influences.”
Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe
Chicken tikka masala is so easy to make and everyone can prepare it in their home. First of all, you’re going to need chicken tights or chicken breasts.
Then, you need to marinate the chicken in spices and yoghurt. You can use garam masala, cumin, turmeric, and ground coriander as spices, as well as chilli if you are a fan of a hot dish. Let the chicken marinate for at least 10 minutes, or overnight if the time allows. Then, fry the marinated chicken in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat.
For the sauce, you’re going to need vegetable/canola oil, butter, onion, garlic, ginger, garam masala, ground cumin, turmeric powder, ground coriander, tomato sauce, salt, heavy cream, and chilli (optional). Melt the butter in the same pan where you’ve fried your chicken, and add onion, garlic, and the spices.
Then, pour in the tomato sauce, salt, and chilli powder. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes and stir it occasionally until the sauce becomes a brown-red colour. After that, stir the heavy cream and sugar in the pan, and add the chicken. Cook everything together for an additional eight to 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Pour water if needed.
There is no standard recipe for chicken tikka masala. In fact, there is a survey that found 48 different recipes, and the only common ingredient was the chicken. The sauce usually includes tomatoes, cream, and spices. You can put anything you want and create your own chicken tikka masala dish.
If you are visiting England, make sure to try this traditional dish and tell us your impressions. And of course, don’t hesitate to try making it on your own because it’s very simple and easy to make!
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