Chicken Balti is the pride of Birmingham and a curry not of Indian but Anglo Bangladeshi heritage dating from the 1970’s that went global!
It is a curry with a thick and boldly spiced sauce that is famed for being cooked in the bowl it is served in. I cook mine in a wok to mimic the caramelised sauce around the edges and served it in a hot karahi.
The Original Brummie Chicken Curry
This Balti Curry recipe probably says more about where and when I was raised than any other recipe here on Krumpli.
I was born in the mid-1970’s in Birmingham. If it were to be a Country its national dish would almost certainly be a Balti!
It is a curry typically served in the dish that it is cooked in, however in many places the “balti dish” has become more of a presentation piece rather than a cooking implement.
As with many foods, there are arguments about the origin and I will stay away from most of that nonsense.
However, the Balti is ‘officially’ credited as being ‘created’ in a place called Adils in 1977.
A place now noted as the Balti triangle, a place I remember very well indeed.
If you like British Indian curries, then be sure to check out my chicken chasni recipe!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I cook this in a Balti bowl?
Yes, absolutely, the Brummie balti is typically served in the bowl that it is cooked in. I do not find that a particularly efficient way of cooking for two, yet alone more.
Make the balti sauce as per my instructions then blend it. Then stir fry the ingredients for your curry over a very high heat in the balti bowl and then add the sauce and cook until it is done.
Can I make different versions?
Yes, you can change it up very easily, add chicken tikka, lamb tikka, even paneer tikka and you have a tikka balti.
Cook it with mixed vegetables or mushrooms then add the sauce and you have a veggie balti.
Can I make this in advance?
The sauce will store for 3-4 days in the fridge and will freeze for up to 3 months. The balti it self is best cooked fresh so that you get all of the caramelised bits of the sauce.
However, you can make it all, store it and serve it with no issues.
It would verge on being a crime not to serve a chicken balti with a tandoori style naan bread. Although I do have friends that occasionally request them with chapati or roti. Well, when I say friends 😉
If you want something really different, then how about some aloo methi or fenugreek potatoes.
If you are craving some greens, then how about a green bean poriyal?
I tend not to recommend specifically branded pieces of kit in the kitchen, I’m a cook, not an equipment reviewer. If you have any questions please shout up in the comments below.
- Wok, I use a carbon steel wok.
- Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
- Steel, iron karahi, kadai or balti bowls.
- Sharp kitchen knife.
- Chopping board.
This chicken balti recipe is a chicken curry recipe that screams of its home town, Birmingham in the UK and it is a recipe that gives me a true taste of home!
For the Balti Sauce:
- 100g (⅔ Cup) Onion
- ½ Red Pepper
- 4 Cloves Garlic
- 15g (½ Thumbnail Sized Piece) Ginger
- 3 Red Chilli Peppers
- 1 Tbsp Mustard Oil
- 6 Curry Leaves
- ½ Tsp Onion Seeds
- ½ Tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 Tsp Ground Corriander Seeds
- 3 Cardamom Pods
- 2 Cloves
- ½ Tsp Ground Turmeric
- ¼ Tsp Ground Nutmeg
- 1 Tsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves
- 2 Tbsp Tomato Puree
- 1 Tbsp White Vinegar
- 250ml (1 Cup) Water
- ¼ Tsp Salt
For the Curry:
- 400g (14oz) Chicken Thighs
- 1 Tbsp Ghee
- 50g (⅓ Cup) Onion
- ½ Red Pepper
- 1 Medium (100g) Tomato
- 125ml (½ Cup) Water
- ½ Tsp Salt
- ½ Tbsp Jaggery
- ½ Tbsp Garam Masala
- ½ Tbsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves
- Cut the onion for the gravy base into a 1cm (1/2") dice.
- Cut the the half of the red pepper for the gravy into a 1.5-2cm (1/2-3/4") dice.
- Peel and roughly chop the garlic and ginger.
- Pick the tops from the red chilli peppers.
- Heat the oil for the gravy in a wok over a high heat and when it is hot add the onion, red pepper and red chilli peppers and stir fry for 3-4 minutes until everything gets a nice colour.
- Throw in the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute or two taking care not to burn the garlic.
- Turn the heat down to low-medium then add the curry leaves, onion seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cardamom pods and cloves and cook for two minutes.
- Add the turmeric, nutmeg, and fenugreek leaves and cook for another minute stirring continuously.
- Add the tomato puree and turn the heat up to high and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in the water and vinegar and add the salt, bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
- Transfer the gravy to a blender and blitz to a smooth sauce.
- Cut the remaining half of the red pepper into a 1cm dice.
- Cut the onion for the curry into a 5mm dice.
- Cut the tomato into 8 wedges, then cut the wedges in half.
- Cut the chicken into 2cm (3/4") cubes.
- Clean out the wok and heat it over a high heat and when it is hot add the ghee.
- If you are planning to serve it in hot balti bowls add them to a fiercely hot oven now!
- When the ghee has melted add the onion and red pepper and stir fry for 2 minutes.
- Throw in the chicken and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the tomato and cook for a minute.
- Add the blended sauce to the wok along with the water and stir to combine.
- Add the jaggery, garam masala, salt and dried fenugreek and cook over a high heat until the chicken is cooked, which will take 5-7 minutes.
- Transfer to a hot "Balti" dish and garnish with coriander.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 676Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 154mgSodium: 1408mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 7gSugar: 17gProtein: 61g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.