Chicken Tikka Masala, the name goes long back and can be called the introducer of Indian flavors to the western taste buds.Trust me, I am not exaggerating. To justify, let me tell you some amazing historical facts related to chicken tikka masala. There was a long battle fought to establish where chicken tikka masala took birth.
Most historians confirm that the dish originated in India and is a toned down version of spicier dishes in Punjab regions of India where the Indian Nawabs instructed their chefs to tone down their original recipe to suit the milder taste buds of their British guests. They think this dish dates back to the 1940s even. On the other hand, the ethnic food historians Colleen and Peter Grove were adamant that the dish ‘was most certainly invented in Britain, probably by a Bangladeshi chef’. After researching more about these claims of origins, these foodies pointed their finger towards Mrs Balbir Singh’s coveted Shahi Chicken Masala recipe, which happened to be published in 1961 in Indian Cookery.
Amidst this controversy, we skipped a major fact that is about the origin of chicken tikka. Why? Because to make chicken tikka you need tandoor clay ovens on which the chicken pieces were grilled. And these tandoor clay ovens dated back to 5000 years when it was invented. Then came the aspect of tikka which means bite sized pieces which originated back to the days of Babur, the first Mughal emperor of India. He choked several times on chicken bones. So he ordered his Punjabi chefs to cook with boneless chicken in the tandoor. The result that came out and got coined was 'joleh', Persian for 'tikka'.
Basically chicken tikka masala is an Indian dish as all its ingredients and techniques used for cooking this dish originated from Indian cuisine. Most of the dishes in Punjab are cooked in that way to be specific. Similarities in the cooking pattern are seen in northern India too. Chicken tikka masala served in Indian restaurants worldwide is considered Indian at heart.
To conclude, nearly everyone will agree on a few facts. First, this dish involves chicken tikka which are small bite sized pieces grilled and a creamy tomato spicy gravy. Second, chicken tikka masala is a delicious dish which is a worldwide favorite among the varied dishes of Indian cuisine. Third, Indian restaurants from North America to Asia prepare it and feature it on their menu as a prime dish. Fourth, as it is a simple dish with the magic of flavors, the trick is to get it done to perfection and so some of the world’s top chefs offer it on their menus.