It is postulated that a Pakistani chef, Ali Ahmed Aslam, proprietor of the Shish Mahal restaurant in the west end of Glasgow, invented chicken tikka masala by improvising a sauce made from yogurt, cream and spices.
In 2013 his son Asif Ali told the story of its invention in 1971 to the BBC’s Hairy Bikers TV cookery programme: “On a typical dark, wet Glasgow night a bus driver coming off shift came in and ordered a chicken curry. He sent it back to the waiter saying it’s dry. At the time Dad had an ulcer and was enjoying a plate of tomato soup. So he said why not put some tomato soup into the curry with some spices. They sent it back to the table and the bus driver absolutely loved it. He and his friends came back again and again and we put it on the menu.”
In July 2009 the British Member of Parliament Mohammad Sarwar tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons asking that Parliament support a campaign for Glasgow to be given European Union protected geographical status for chicken tikka masala. The motion was not chosen for debate, nor did Sarwar speak on this subject in Parliament.