The chicken tikka quesdillas are one of the best things on the menu at Red Lion Pub on Shepherd, but the genealogy of the dish staggers the imagination. The wedding of Tex and Mex that produced gooey cheese and flour tortilla quesdillas is well known in these parts. And we are also aware that Tex-Mex is a window into Texas-Mexican biculturalism here in South Texas.
Red Lion Pub
2316 S. Shepherd Dr.
CTM, as chicken tikka masala is known in the U.K., is a result of the marriage of Anglo and Indian cooking. Legend has it that chicken tikka masala was invented when a customer in a British Indian restaurant sent back his chicken tandoori because it was too dry. The offended Indian chef whipped up a "gravy" made with canned cream of tomato soup and some Indian spices. The customer was appeased—the gravy-loving British public was gobsmacked. Today CTM is the single most popular dish in the England, and it has even become popular in India. A national debate about the pros and cons of multiculturalism erupted when Foreign Secretary Robin Cook called chicken tikka masala the national dish of England.
So help me here. If food is a window on culture, what are we to make of this local child of two multicultural hybrids?
Whatever they mean, chicken tikka quesdillas sure taste good with an Old Speckled Hen. Next time, I need to try Red Lion's chicken tikka enchiladas.