The Spice of Life

One unexpected problem that confronts English tourists vacationing in India is the difficulty in finding their favorite Indian dish: chicken tikka masala. As Lizzie Collingham notes in Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors, her inquiry into the origins of Indian cuisine, chicken tikka masala isn't Indian at all. A connoisseur of Indian cuisine might, indeed, consider it an absurdity: tikka (oven-roasted meat), is meant to be eaten without masala (gravy). This oxymoronic creation dates back to the fateful moment when a long-suffering Indian chef in Britain grew tired of explaining the basic facts about the tikka to his barbaric customers,...

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