Thank Mughals, not Punjabis for sumptuous chicken tikkas!

August 12th, 2008 - 3:06 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Aug 12 (ANI): The mouth watering chicken tikka is believed to be a Punjabi dish, but contrary to what people think, the sumptuous creation dates back to the Mughals.

The dish might have been invented around 500 years ago in the Punjab region on the borders of what are now India and Pakistan, but its origin dates back to 5,000 years ago, when tandoor clay ovens were invented.

The tikka came about early 1500s, when Punjab was conquered by Babur, a descendant of Mongol warlord Genghis Khan.

Babur was finicky about his food. Tired of gorging bony chicken, he ordered his Punjabi chefs to remove them all from his meat before cooking it or risk a roasting themselves.

The chefs then chopped the flesh into tiny pieces and inspected each bit for bone or gristle before baking it in a tandoor.

The dish was then named joleh Persian for chicken tikka, reports The Sun.

Over the period of time, recipes changed and the chicken pieces were marinated in yoghurt seasoned with spices including chilli powder, cayenne pepper and turmeric to add an orange-yellow colour.

Chicken tikka was soon popular throughout the Baburs Mughal Empire.

The dish became popular in Britain with soldiers officials and businessmen returning back to the country from India.

But the tandoor oven, and thus chicken tikka, failed to catch on.

A flood of immigration from the Indian sub-continent in the 1950s changed all that as Indian restaurants sprang up across the nation.

Chicken tikka was an instant hit but with the diners willing to add on some sauce, chicken tikka masala came up.

Some 450 years after Baburs reign, the offshoot dish came into creation in Glasgow. Several restaurants claim credit, but there were probably several recipes that merged later.

Chicken tikka became so popular in Britain in 2001, the then Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said chicken tikka masala was Britains true national dish. (ANI)

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