Butter Chicken Tikka Whatsala?

What is chicken tikka masala? Indian chef Vikas Khanna repeats the well-worn phrase that it’s the national dish of the U.K. (untrue, probably, since the rise of the burger in Britain), but suggests it’s also one of the most popular Indian dishes in the U.S. Evidence that chicken tikka masala was born a British subject is compelling, even if you don’t buy the theory that it was born on Glasgow’s Gibson Street (Wikipedia breaks it down, and Chowhounds weigh the merits). Is it boneless? Skewered and cooked in a tandoor? And are chicken tikka masala and butter chicken (a.k.a. murgh makhani) the same thing? This Chowhound discussion considers the differences.

As for Oakland chef Preeti Mistry, this month’s Kitchen Coach, she uses chicken tikka masala and butter chicken interchangeably. “The dishes are quite similar,” she says. “They involve chicken marinated in yogurt and grilled or roasted, served simmered in a creamy tomato sauce. Often Chicken tikka has less butter and is spicier than butter chicken—we call ours butter chicken mainly because it’s on our kids’ menu, and that name appeals to parents and kids. But really, there are so many different variations and recipes that it’s hard to say the dishes are so drastically different.”

Thanks, Preeti. That’s good enough for us.

Photo by Chris Rochelle

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