Chef who invented the chicken tikka masala dies aged 77: Tributes pour in for Glasgow restaurateur ‘Super Ali’ Aslam, the mastermind behind Britain’s favourite curry
- Ali Ahmed Aslam, 77, inventor of chicken tikka masala died earlier this week
- The Glaswegian chef created the dish when a customer said chicken was too dry
- Known by locals as ‘Super Ali’, tributes poured in for Mr Ali, who died on Monday
A Scottish curry king who claimed credit for cooking up the world’s first chicken tikka masala has died.
Ali Ahmed Aslam, 77, declared he had invented the dish during the 1970s after one customer complained about the dryness of his meat.
‘Super’ Ali, who opened his renowned Shish Mahal restaurant in Glasgow in 1964, then created a sauce using spices and a tin of Campbell’s tomato soup which he had bought to eat while recovering from a stomach ulcer.
The dish is now one of the most popular curries in the UK.
Mr Aslam, also widely known by locals as ‘Mr Ali’, followed in the footsteps of his father, Noor Mohammed, who founded Glasgow’s Indian restaurant Green Gates in 1959.
Mr Ali, pictured in 1979 outside his restaurant, Shish Mahal, which he opened in 1964. He died on Monday and his funeral was held on Tuesday
The Pakistani chef, who moved to the city as a young boy, worked as a bus conductor before opening up the West End’s hit restaurant Shish Mahal in 1964.
Legend has it that it was behind these walls that the first chicken tikka masala to ever exist was created.
The popular dish is said to have been invented after a customer complained about a chicken tikka dish being too dry, prompting Mr Ali to hastily mix in a tin of condensed soup and spices to create what has now become a revolutionary curry.
Social media was flooded with tributes following the announcement by Shish Mahal on Facebook.
Legend has it that it was in Mr Ali’s Glasgow restaurant that Britain’s favourite dish, chicken tikka masla, was created
The restaurant posted on Monday: ‘Hey Shish Snobs… Mr Ali passed away this morning… we are all absolutely devastated and heartbroken.
‘The restaurant will be closed for the next 48 hours.’
Friends and family paid tribute to the curry ‘legend’, asking people to pray for their loved one.
Son Asif Ali spoke to the Glasgow Times of his father’s ‘humble beginnings’ and charity work he had done for those in Scotland and Pakistan.
Best curry houses in UK announced in industry ‘Oscars’…so is YOUR local a winner?
Britain’s best curry houses were crowned in a national awards ceremony in October celebrating South Asian cuisine.
A Hertfordshire curry house took the grand award of National Champion of Champions, while a chef from Newcastle upon Tyne won National Chef of The Year 2022. And a Manchester eaterie took the title of best takeaway.
More than 2,300 eateries were nominated for the awards, which were held at a red-carpet event in London.
Take a look at the winners, here
He said: ‘Dad came to the UK in the late 1950s, about 1958 or 1959 and they were from a very, very, very poor background.
‘He made Glasgow and Scotland his home, he did not look back.
‘He was Glaswegian and Scottish first. He was very, very proud of being Glaswegian, very very proud of being Scottish, and it was very important to him.
‘He set up a lot of charities and he donated a lot of money because he was from such humble beginnings.’
One family member, Fauzlu Miah, posted an image with the curry king, writing: ‘Please I ask you all to make dua for my uncle who was like a father figure to me has passed away yesterday.
‘Uncle Ali is a legend, a pioneer in the food & catering industry.
‘Such a beautiful man with a beautiful heart. My mentor my hero. Thank you for all the memories.
‘Totally heartbroken and shocked and numb that you had to leave. I Miss you a lot, you will always be in my heart, thoughts and prayers.’
Lost Glasgow, a group dedicated to documenting Glasgow’s changing community, also published a tribute reading: ‘Ali Ahmed Aslam, Mr Ali to generations of Glasgow curry lovers, opened the Shish-Mahal, in Gibson Street, in 1964.
‘In those days, when the pubs shut at 10pm, going for a ‘Ruby’ was the only way to keep drinking. In its early days, the Shish even allowed customers to bring in their own ‘cairry-oots’.
‘In 1979, to mark the restaurant’s 15th birthday, Mr Ali rolled the prices back to 1964 levels, hence the huge queue.
‘Mr Ali served me my first curry, when I was about seven, and he also made a great fuss over my grandfather, who asked if he could eat the extra hot ‘staff curry’, ‘His smile was always broad, and, even if I hadn’t been in for a while, his welcome always warm.
‘He really is now in curry heaven, and Glasgow is the poorer for his departure. Safe travels Mr Ali.’
Up to 9,000 curry houses at risk of closure due to cost-of-living crisis: Experts warn restaurants could close at rate of ONE-A-DAY as businesses battle soaring prices for cooking oil, energy and labour
by Stewart Carr
Britain’s Indian restaurants are facing a tough winter as the price of ingredients goes through the roof – forcing them to increase prices on their own menus.
Many curry houses are now closing as fewer customers and rising wholesale costs make business ever harder.
One in four curry restaurants has closed since 2007 and those remaining are battling to survive the cost-of-living crisis, The Mirror reports.
The UK’s 9,000 Indian restaurants inject £3.6billion to the economy, but Jeffrey Ali, whose family set up the British Curry Awards, said the industry ‘desperately needs support’ – with high labour and ingredient costs.
Mr Ali told the newspaper that 3,000 restaurants have shut down since 2007.
Read more here
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