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Indian experts refute Glasgow's claim to tikka masala

05 August 2009 by
Indian experts refute Glasgow's claim to tikka masala

A Glasgow MP's campaign for the Scottish city to be recognised as the official home of tikka masala has come under fire from India's top chefs and food historians.

One of Britain's most popular dishes, tikka masala is believed to have been created in a Glaswegian kitchen by Asian immigrants catering to Western palates in the 1970s.

Glasgow should be given EU Protected Designation of Origin status for the dish, according to the campaign which is being backed by Glasgow City Council. Mohammad Sarwar, Labour MP for Glasgow Central, has tabled an early day motion in the House of Commons calling for other politicians to back his campaign.

However, his claim has been dismissed as "preposterous" by Delhi's leading food historians, although the exact origin of tikka masala remains unclear.

Himanshu Kumar, the founder of Eating Out in Delhi, a food group celebrating Delhi's culinary heritage, ridiculed Glasgow's claim. "Patenting the name chicken tikka masala is out of the question. It has been prepared in India for generations. You can't patent the name, it's preposterous," he told the Daily Telegraph.

Zaeemuddin Ahmad, a chef at Delhi's Karim hotel, added that the recipe had been passed down through the generations in his family. "Chicken tikka masala is an authentic Mughlai recipe prepared by our forefathers who were royal chefs in the Mughal period," he said.

Rahul Verma, Delhi's most authoritative expert on street food, argued that tikka masala's origins were in Punjab. "It's basically a Punjabi dish not more than 40-50 years old and must be an accidental discovery which has had periodical improvisations," he said.

Last month, Birmingham City Council launched a campaign to protect the famous Balti name by preventing Indian restaurants outside the city from using it.

MP wants Glasgow recognised as home of Tikka Masala >>

Birmingham council moves to restrict Balti name to the city >>

UK curry houses face staffing crisis >>

By Kerstin Kühn

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