Inventor of UK’s ‘true national dish’ dies aged 77 | Daily News Byte

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(CNN) — Chicken tikka masala is one of the UK’s best-loved dishes, with its spiced chicken pieces surrounded by a rich tomato and yogurt-based sauce.

Now, the man widely credited with inventing it has died at the age of 77, his restaurant has announced.

Ali Ahmed Aslam was widely hailed as one of the world’s top curry doyens when he is said to have invented the dish in 1964 at his restaurant Sheesh Mahal, which he opened in Glasgow, Scotland.

Aslam once told news agency AFP that his light bulb moment came in the 1970s, when a customer complained that the chicken tikka was too dry and needed sauce. Aslam served a curd-based tomato sauce with the meat.

In 2001, chicken tikka masala topped fish and chips in the UK’s list of favorite dishes.

In a speech on the concept of Britishness at the time, the late UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook called Curry “a truly British national dish, not just because it is the most popular, but because it is the perfect example of the way Britain absorbs external influences and accepts.”

“Chicken tikka is an Indian dish. Masala chutney was added to satisfy the British desire to serve meat in gravy,” he added.

“Coming to terms with multiculturalism as a positive force for our economy and society will have a significant impact on our understanding of Britishness.”

A bid backed by a local parliamentarian to gain EU protected status for curry, and recognition of its Glasgow origins, failed in 2009, with other restaurants claiming they had invented the dish.

Born in Pakistan, Aslam came to Glasgow as a child when his family emigrated.

The restaurant, which was closed for 48 hours after his death, shared the news in a Facebook post on December 19. “Mr. Ali passed away this morning… We are all absolutely devastated and heartbroken,” they shared.

His funeral was held the following day at Glasgow Central Mosque. The restaurant posted that any restaurant fans are welcome to attend.

Christopher Cameron, once voted Scottish Curry Lovers of the Year and one half of Tramp’s Glasgow of Curry, bloggers and leaders of curry dining clubs around the city, told CNN that Shish Mahal “has become almost Glasgow’s favorite institution. The start. “

Cameron has been a regular since the age of two, he added, when his father started eating at the restaurant in the 1960s.

“It really feels like a family business, and I can go a year or more without going in, and when I go in, I’m still called Mr. Cameron and they ask my people and my brother,” he added. When the restaurant moved across Glasgow, “everyone went with it — the food and service were always excellent.”

Top image: Ali Ahmed Aslam is said to have invented chicken tikka masala in his Glasgow restaurant in the 1970s. (Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)

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