Indians get hot over Scottish bid to patent Chicken Tikka Masala

August 5th, 2009 - 5:12 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 5 (IANS) An attempt by a Pakistani-born British MP to patent the Chicken Tikka Masala as a dish of Scottish origin has fallen foul of Indian chefs and food experts.
Labour MP Mohammed Sarwar has tabled an Early Day Motion in Britain’s lower house of parliament claiming the Chicken Tikka Masala - once crowned Britain’s national dish - originated in the Scottish city of Glasgow.

Sarwar, who is supported by other MPs from Scotland, claims the dish was invented in Glasgow in the early 1970s and now wants the European Union to grant the city “Protected Designation of Origin” for the dish.

But the Daily Telegraph newspaper Wednesday said the claim was dismissed as “preposterous” in Delhi.

Zaeemuddin Ahmad, a chef at Delhi’s Karim Hotel, which was established by the last chef of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, said 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. Mughals were avid trekkers and used to spend months altogether in jungles and far off places. They liked roasted form of chickens with spices,” he said.

Rahul Verma, Delhi’s most authoritative expert on street food, told the paper he first tasted the dish in 1971 and that its 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.

Himanshu Kumar, the founder of the food group Eating Out, added: “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,”

Glasgow’s claim follows reports that Birmingham has applied to protect the ‘Balti’, so that only Balti dishes made in the city - home to many Pakistani restaurants - can carry the name.

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