M&S Chicken Tikka Masala Pasta causes Controversy

Marks and Spencer launched its Chargrilled Chicken Tikka Masala Pasta. But the fusion dish has divided opinion.

M&S Chicken Tikka Masala Pasta causes Controversy f

"I won’t be indulging in that, it’s just not for me."

Marks and Spencer has divided opinion with the launch of its Chargrilled Chicken Tikka Masala Pasta.

The ready meal features lightly spiced chargrilled chicken tikka in a creamy masala sauce and pasta, topped with Parmigiano Reggiano.

It has not gone down well with admirers of Indian and Italian cuisine, with many wondering why a British take on a South Asian chicken curry would be combined with a Mediterranean staple.

Cristina Onuta, the manager of I Camisa & Son in Soho, one of Britain’s oldest Italian delicatessens where they have sold fresh pasta and sauces since 1929, said:

“I know it’s good to be diverse and inclusive but this sounds just a bit too unusual.

“With cuisine, you have to be careful with what you mix together.

“At Camisa, we try to stick to what we know from our traditions when we make our fresh pasta and sauces, like our pesto and ragu.

“I certainly don’t think we’ll be trying chicken tikka masala sauce with pasta.”

Meanwhile, there was also scepticism among Aktar Islam, the head chef of Michelin-starred restaurant Opheem.

He said: “It’s not something I’ve ever tried. I won’t be indulging in that, it’s just not for me.

“But at the end of the day, the customer will decide. Food is always evolving and it’s a universal language. That’s the beauty of it.”

The “limited edition lightly chargrilled chicken tikka masala pasta” is part of the Viva Summer range.

M&S Chicken Tikka Masala Pasta causes Controversy

Its introduction comes after M&S was accused of cultural appropriation over its “Spanish chorizo paella croquetas”, which critics described as “wrong on every level”.

M&S said their fusion of chicken tikka masala and pasta is the creation of its chef Russ Goad, who was inspired to make it after visiting Pijja Palace in Los Angeles.

Pijja Palace is a restaurant that promises to serve “classic American bar fare through an Indian lens”.

Bethany Jacobs, the product developer at M&S Food, said:

“Our best ever Chicken Tikka Masala is the number one Indian dish in our Foodhalls and we’re also famous for our pasta dishes, so when Russ came back with an idea of an Italian and Indian fusion, I was all for it.”

Emilie Wolfman, the food trends researcher at M&S Food, added: “Fusion and mashups allow experimentation and freedom in exploring a contrast of flavours and textures and can take many forms, including combining two culinary disciplines evenly to create something new and distinctive.

“Whether it’s Yorkshire puddings served burrito style or Italian food with an Indian twist, mash-ups are making waves of their own, in particular with a younger audience.”

Pasta is becoming more popular in India and the wider subcontinent, with the ingredient often added to curries.

For some customers, the new mashup is a step too far.

One shopper commented: “Wrong, just so wrong.”

M&S added insult to injury by suggesting the only dilemma was whether to serve the dish with naan or garlic bread.

Erica Gilly wrote on M&S’s Facebook page: “I’m so confused by this. Indian-style chicken with Italian pasta and cheese?

“I have never understood the British obsession with chicken and pasta anyway. No thank you.”

But others think the chicken tikka pasta is not that big of an issue.

One person enjoyed the dish and said:

“Omg I was so impressed with this!”

Devinder Singh, who runs an Indian Italian fusion restaurant in north London, says his own experience proves otherwise.

He opened East West Pizza in 2020, drawing on the Indian food he grew up with and the Italian dishes he fell in love with on holiday.

Mr Singh said: “What M&S are doing is great but we’re very different from them.

“We take both the Indian and the Italian side very very seriously, using traditional ingredients and techniques with dishes like butter chicken bucatini.

“We’ve always done that in our homes and families and now we’re going a bit mainstream with it.

“Nobody thought it was a good idea when we started East West Pizza, but our customers love it.”

Dhiren is a News & Content Editor who loves all things football. He also has a passion for gaming and watching films. His motto is to "Live life one day at a time".

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