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     Volume 4 Issue 24 | December 10, 2004 |

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1. Before reading…
You are going to read an article about chicken tikka masala. Before you read, see how many of these things you know:

2. Now read the article. Find out exactly what chicken tikka masala is.

a. ___________
Marks & Spencer sell 18 tonnes a week of it. Indian restaurants sell 23 million plates of it a year. A British food company produces 10 tonnes of it every day. Hundreds of schools in Bangladesh depend on money from sales of it. If all the plates of it sold in one year in the UK were put on top of one another they would build a tower 2770 times taller than the Greenwich Millennium Dome.
Incredible, isn't it?

But in an article in The Daily Telegraph in November 1999, journalist Amit Roy called it "a dish which does not exist in Indian cuisine". So just what, exactly, is "chicken tikka masala"? And where does it come from? Is it Indian? Or is it from somewhere else?

b. ___________
As Amit Roy says, the dish, in fact, does not come from India. It was specifically created by some very clever restaurant owners in order to meet British tastes.

Chicken tikka masala was possibly invented almost by accident. One story says that it was created when a Bangladeshi chef produced a dish of traditional Chicken Tikka only to be asked "where's my gravy?" by a traditional British client. The chef responded by adding a can of tomato soup and a few spices - and the 'masala' element was born.

Several different chefs claim to have invented it, but none has any evidence, so the mystery remains. Sultan Ahmed Ansari, who owned the Taj Mahal restaurant in Glasgow, claims he invented it as long ago as the 1950s. Amin Ali, owner of The Red Fort and Soho Spice in London's Soho, remembers serving chicken tikka masala when he first arrived in London in 1974. A waiter at the time, he remembers wondering what the dish was.

c. _____________
But what exactly is chicken tikka masala? "Tikkas" are the bite-sized pieces of chicken. These are marinated and cooked in the tandoor oven. The "masala" part is where things become difficult. "Masala" means "spices" but no exact recipe for these seems to exist. It can be yellow, red, brownish, or even green and can be very creamy, a little creamy, chilli hot or quite mild. In restaurants it tends to be a creamy sauce - not too hot, a bit tomatoey, very smooth and, all too often, quite sweet and very red.

The ingredients generally include yoghurt, tomatoes, cream and spices as well as the chicken pieces. If you find a version that you like, then stick to it!

d. ____________
Chicken tikka masala was most certainly invented in Britain, probably by a Bangladeshi chef, and is so popular it is even being served in some hotel restaurants in India and Bangladesh. It does not come from the Raj or the kitchens of the Moghul Emperors, but millions of people enjoy it every year. Perhaps that is all the history it needs.

3. After reading: comprehension
i. Choose what you think would be the best heading for each section.
a. Important statistics/Is it or isn't it?/Marks & Spencer
b. A mysterious origin/ An interesting mix / An ancient speciality
c. A recipe/But what exactly is it?/Masala
d. Bangladesh/Conclusion/ Just enjoy it!

ii. Decide if the following statements are true or false.
a. Large amounts of chicken tikka masala are produced and sold in the UK
b. A journalist wrote that chicken tikka masala is not from India.
c. Chicken tikka masala was invented by accident.
d. Chicken tikka masala was invented to meet British tastes.
e. Several different chefs claim to have invented it.
f. There is a recipe for the dish.

iii. Summarise each of the four paragraphs in the article in one sentence.

4. Vocabulary: food. Look at these words to describe the way things taste.
a. Which of the words are nouns that have become adjectives?
b. How can we make a noun into an adjective?
c. Write down a different type of food that each word can describe.

chilli hot

Make a list of other words to describe the way things taste.


Think of a food that you really like. How would you describe the taste?

2: Bite sized chicken in a tomato curried sauce. 3ii. a, b, d,e
3.i a-Is it or isn't it?, b- A mysterious origin 4.a-cream & tomato, b-add -y
c- But what exactly is it?, d-Just enjoy it


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