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British Indian Chicken Balti Curry

A Chicken Balti is the pride of Birmingham and a curry not of Indian but Anglo Indian heritage dating from the late 1970’s and went global!

A chicken curry in a well spiced gravy with plenty of vegetables and of course it most be served with a naan bread.

Portrait image of a chicken balti curry in a copper coloured curry bowl served with a naan bread

The Original Brummie 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!

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.

A place where classic Indian curries like chicken saag and lamb rogan josh are second on the bill!

Portrait overhead image of a chicken balti curry in a copper coloured curry bowl served with a naan bread

What is a Balti Curry?

The name Balti actually refers to the bowl or karahi that the curry is cooked and served in rather than the curry itself.

I cook mine in a frying pan, because at home we use frying pans and not fierce gas burners with rounded bottom pans.

A Balti follows a common theme of either meat or vegetables in a thick tomato-based sauce or “gravy”.

That thick heavy balti sauce left in the bottom of your dish must be cleared with a naan bread.

Ordering anything else in an Indian Restaurant in Birmingham would have resulted in raised eyebrows.

Apart from that the flavour of your curry will vary massively depending on where you eat it.

There is no such thing as an Authentic Balti Recipe! Anyone who tells you different is trying to sell you something that simply ain’t true.

Portrait close up image of a chicken balti curry in a copper coloured curry bowl served with a naan bread

Recipe Variations.

This recipe is very simple to tweak and change.

That is because this balti curry recipe is prepared using the curry house tradition of preparing the sauce separately and adding to “stir-fried” ingredients.

One of the most common variants of this recipe is a chicken tikka balti.

You may not be shocked to know that it is identical to this recipe but it uses chicken tikka rather than raw chicken.

If you want to try it then just use the chicken tikka part of my chicken tikka masala recipe.

As for the vegetables, knock yourself out, chuck in anything that is good!

You can easily turn this into a vegetarian balti by dropping the chicken.

Go with par-cooked potatoes or cauliflower, maybe even chickpeas, or all of them!

Square image of a chicken balti curry in a copper coloured curry bowl served with a naan bread
Yield: 2 Servings

Simple Chicken Balti Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

This chicken balti recipe is a chicken curry recipe that screams of its home town, Birmingham in the UK and it is a recipe I am very proud of!

Ingredients

For the Gravy

  • 1/2 Large Onion
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Chili
  • 20 g Ginger
  • 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1/8 Tsp Asafoetida
  • 1/2 Tsp Black Onion Seeds
  • 1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Ground Corriander
  • 1 Tsp Ground Turmeric
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Fenugreek
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Puree
  • 200 ml Tomato Passata
  • 1 Tsp Honey
  • 100 ml Water

For the Curry

  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/2 Green Pepper
  • 1 Onion
  • 50 ml Natural Yogurt (Optional)

Instructions

  1. Roughly chop the half onion for the sauce and place in a blender.
  2. Peel the garlic and ginger and add to the onion.
  3. Throw in the chilli and blend to a smooth paste adding water if required.
  4. Heat a pan over a high to medium heat with 1 tbsp of vegetable oil.
  5. Add the asafoetida, black onion seeds and Cumin seeds and fry for 30 seconds to a minute
  6. Then add the onion paste all allow to cook out for 3-5 minutes.
  7. Now add the ground spices and cook out for 1 minute.
  8. Throw in the tomato puree, tomato passata, water and honey then allow to cook down for 5 minutes.
  9. Now is a good time to check the gravy for spice, if you want it a little hotter add some Kashmiri chilli powder and season to taste.
  10. Set this gravy aside and clean out your pan.
  11. If you want a thinner smoother sauce then blend the gravy at this point and pass through a fine sieve.
  12. Roughly chop the green pepper and cut the remaining onion into quarters.
  13. Heat some oil and then throw in the green pepper and the onion into a hot pan.
  14. Cook until the edges begin to catch which should take 2 or 3 minutes.
  15. Cut the chicken into large chunks and cut your tomatoes into wedges then deseed them.
  16. Add the chicken and stir for a couple of minutes and season with some salt.
  17. Then add your gravy and tomatoes then turn down the heat to medium and cook until the chicken is tender which should take about 20 mins.
  18. Once cooked remove from the heat and add your Garam Masala and natural yoghurt.
  19. Stir and allow to sit for a minute before serving.

Notes

Needless to say this should definitely be served with Naan Bread or the whole of Birmingham will collectively sigh in disapproval 😉

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

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.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Darren

Sunday 30th of May 2021

I've never tried an authentic Brummie Balti, but I used to live in a shared house in the 90s with 4 from that way. They introduced me to the Balti, and that was it, I loved it. I moved to Australia about 20 years ago, and have cooked a shed load of currys since, but never found a Balti recipe I've been happy with.

Wow, I'm a bit surprised at this recipe. It was looking balti-ish while I was cooking, but tasted... disappointing. Then, as soon as I added the garam masala at the end, bam, it was a total transformation. It was like a step back in time... Fragrant, mildly spicy, spot on.

I made it with coriander stalks in the onion mixture, and whizzed up fresh peeled tomatoes instead of the passata and puree. I can't wait for the left overs for lunch tomorrow!

Brian Jones

Tuesday 8th of June 2021

Glad you enjoyed it Darren.

Linda

Saturday 6th of March 2021

Have made this 3 times now. I don't have 2 of the spices (Asafoetida, Black onion seeds) but it still came out delicious.

Brian Jones

Sunday 7th of March 2021

Excellent, both the onion seeds and asafoetida add accent flavours rather than dominant flavours so you are getting almost all of the recipe :) So glad you like it.

ANDY

Saturday 14th of March 2020

Hi Brian, super recipe! Cooked it the other day and was really pleased, it's bang on how I like it. Wondered, is ok to freeze the gravy and use at a later date? If so, how long would you recommend keeping for? Many Thanks, Andy

Brian Jones

Saturday 14th of March 2020

Hey Andy... Glad you like it, it is definitely my taste of home! You can definitely freeze the sauce, as a general rule you can freeze sauces for 4-6 months although they remain safe to eat long after that. Personally speaking, I tend to try and not store anything longer than 3 months, but that is mainly for my sanity and staying on top of what I have in the freezer.

Greg

Wednesday 16th of October 2019

Really good. I'll be cooking this again.

Brian Jones

Thursday 17th of October 2019

Glad you enjoyed it :D

Greg

Wednesday 16th of October 2019

Ingredients does not list green pepper or other half of onion for use in the curry. About to give this a try.

Brian Jones

Wednesday 16th of October 2019

Hey Greg thanks for the heads up, I have updated my instructions to make things clear and there is also a video further up the page :)

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