The inventor of Chicken Tikka Masala Ali Ahmed Aslam passed away on Monday, December 19th, 2022 in his adopted hometown of Glasgow.
Ali Ahmed Khan, who was popularly known as Mr. Ali, in a statement released by his restaurant Shish Mahal. As a mark of respect, the restaurant remained closed for 48 hours. “Hey, Shish Snobs … Mr. Ali passed away this morning … We are all absolutely devastated and heartbroken,” the restaurant had announced.
Mr. Ali’s funeral was held at the Glasgow Central mosque a day after his death and the funeral saw the closest of his relatives and other members of the public paying the chef their tributes.
Patrons on social media paid their tribute to Ali Ahmed Aslam, the inventor of Chicken Tikka Masala. As per the lore, Ali Ahmed Aslam, who was popularly known as Mr Ali, added a can of creamy tomato sauce and yogurt to the gravy of the savory dish when a customer requested him to make the dish “less dry”.
It was in the 1970’s Mr. Ali said to have invented the dish when a patron asked if there was a way his chicken tikka could be less dry. To serve his customer, he added a creamy tomato sauce.
“Chicken tikka masala was invented in this restaurant. We used to make chicken tikka, and one day a customer said, ‘I’d take some sauce with that, this is a bit dry.’ We thought we’d better cook the chicken with some sauce,” Mr. Ali had said.
Mr Ali had given an interview with AFP, where he explained how he invented the now widely consumed dish. In the 1970s, a customer at his restaurant asked if there was a way his chicken tikka could be less dry. The chef came up with a novel idea, and added a creamy tomato sauce.
“Chicken tikka masala was invented in this restaurant. We used to make chicken tikka, and one day a customer said, ‘I’d take some sauce with that, this is a bit dry.”, Mr Ali explained. “So from here we cooked chicken tikka with a sauce that contains yogurt, cream, and spices. It’s a dish prepared according to our customer’s taste,” he had added.
Mr. Ali was born in Pakistan’s Punjab province, and moved to Glasgow, Scotland, as a boy. In 1964, the then-up-and-coming chef opened the Shish Mahal restaurant, which still remains a highly-visited restaurant by both Asian and Western citizens.