Makes 2 baltis (Cook them independently in 2 balti bowls – putting half the ingredients into each – if you can).
In the balti boom years there was a popular restaurant in Birmingham’s Balti Triangle called the Sher Khan run by Jimmy, a cheeky chappy Pakistani lad who had charisma and charm in abundance. The restaurant was decked out more in the style of the Bangladeshi places, with ornate wooden booths, flock wallpaper – all dark and mysterious. Jimmy’s place served a dish called Balti Aphrodisiac, which only added to the intrigue and enigma of the Sher Khan. The original recipe was allegedly a closely guarded secret, so secret in fact that the Sher Khan chef would only prepare it at home! This recipe is packed with heady spices for maximum potency and balanced beautifully with coconut. Perfect for Valentine’s Day as this is truly a very tasty balti!
What you need…
• 3 Tablespoons coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
• 400g chicken, diced (not too big to ensure a fast cooking time)
• 2 small onions, finely chopped
• 1 large tomato, grated (use a free-standing cheese grater or if you don’t have one cut the tomato into tiny chunks)
• 2 teaspoons fresh red chillies, chopped
• 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
• 1 Tablespoon garlic paste
• 1 Tablespoon ginger paste
• 2 Tablespoons garam masala
• 4 pinches of salt
• 1 teaspoon cardamon seeds, freshly ground
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, freshly ground
• 2 teaspoons turmeric
• 2 teaspoons ground fenugreek
• 10 Tablespoons of Base Curry Sauce
• 6 Tablespoons of coconut milk
• Water as required (to stop the pan from sticking)
• 2 tablespoons coriander, freshly chopped, to garnish
• 2 tablespoons pistachio nuts, crushed, to garnish
How to make it…
1. Heat coconut oil in balti bowl until sizzling, add the onion and tomato and cook until onions are translucent (about 3–4 minutes).
2. Add the chillies, fresh ginger and garlic and ginger pastes, stir well, then add the cardamom, cumin, turmeric, fenugreek, a splash of water and fry for 3 minutes.
3. Add the chicken and quickly seal (about 1 minute).
4. Add the garam masala and the salt and cook until the chicken is nearly cooked (about 5–7 minutes).
5. Add the Base Curry Sauce, mix well, add in the coconut milk and cook until your chicken is fully cooked and the edges of your balti become caramelised (about 3–4 minutes) Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
6. Garnish with fresh coriander and broken pistachio nuts and serve with naan bread (serve your naan with a drizzle of light honey and a sprinkle of freshly crushed pistachio nuts).
• Recipe courtesy of the Birmingham Balti Co. To buy authentic Balti bowls click here.
• For more about balti see our interview with expert Andy Munro.
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