Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

tikka the Hindi pronunciation of the Turkic word tikkü, which means ‘piece’. Tikka has been adopted into English and means much the same as kebab, referring to chunks of meat, poultry, etc. cooked on skewers in a tandoor. Chicken tikka masala has become, in Britain, the most popular dish ordered in Indian restaurants (some 16 per cent of all curries sold). Thanks to its production as a chilled meal by supermarkets from 1983, it is now candidate for ‘England’s national dish’. It consists of chicken from the tandoor smothered in a mildly spiced creamy sauce often, but not invariably, flavoured with tomato. Many are the claimants to its invention, but none is proven. culinary mythology has it that a Bangladeshi cook quickly responded to a customer’s request for ‘gravy’ with his tandoori chicken by spicing up a can of creamed tomato soup. Although there was a proto-recipe in Mrs Balbir Singh’s Indian Cookery (1961), the dish is universally accepted to be of British-Asian origins, probably in the early 1970s. See also asian restaurants.