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Spice of life on the doorstep

TO paraphrase a slogan coined by the makers of a celebrated fizzy drink, tikka masala can arguably be described as Scotland's other national dish.

The perceived wisdom is that the most popular curry in Britain was invented in the 1970s by Ali Ahmed Aslam, proprietor of the Shish Mahal restaurant in Glasgow's west end, when he conjured up the dish following a complaint from a customer about the dryness of his chicken; he hastily prepared a sauce using various spices soaked in a tin of Campbell's condensed tomato soup he had been eating while recovering from a stomach ulcer. The success of the dish over the decades is the stuff of legend - one in seven of all curries sold in Britain is tikka masala, and it is the most popular restaurant meal in the country.

It should perhaps come as no surprise that in a new book, Lonely Planet has named the Shish Mahal the best place in the world to try tikka masala. It may not be a perfect fit for the ethos of an organisation dedicated to furthering the cause of world travel, but it when it comes to this particular curry, it can be argued that there's no place like home.

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