How to cook… Chicken and Mushroom Balti

Recipes

Serves 4 as a main dish

The joy of balti cooking is that it mixes and matches different ingredients. If you want it then add it to your dish Add mushrooms to the classic Chicken Balti and, hey presto, you have a Chicken and Mushroom Balti.

What you need…
• 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
• 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
• 3cm piece of ginger, peel and cut into small chunks
• 0.5 onion, sliced
• 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
• 600g Base Curry Sauce
• 1 teaspoon garam masala
• 3 Tablespoons chopped coriander
• 600g chicken, cut into small bite-sized pieces
• 200g mushrooms, thinly sliced
• Salt, to taste

Balti Masala
• 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
• 3 cardamoms
• 2 cloves
• 3 dried red chillies
• 4 bay leaves


–––––
• 0.5 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon turmeric


How to make it…
1. Dry fry the ingredients of the Balti Masala (except the salt and turmeric) in a heated pan until they release their aromas (about 2 minutes). Grind them to a powder. Add the salt and turmeric, and add some water to form a paste. Set aside.
2. Heat the oil to high heat, add the fenugreek seeds and fry for 15 seconds. They should sizzle immediately. You can test the ghee is hot enough by adding one seed.
3. Turn down the heat, add the garlic and ginger and fry for 2 minutes.
4. Add the onion and fry for 1 minute.
5. Add the Balti Masala, the tomato paste and fry for 3 minutes, adding a little water if needed.
6. Add the Base Curry Sauce, garam masala, 2 Tablespoons of coriander, chicken, and mushrooms, and cook until all the chicken pieces are cooked through (about 10 minutes). Stir frequently, add salt to taste and water if needed.
7. Serve straight away, garnished with the rest of the coriander.

CHEF’S TIP
Experiment with other combinations. Add sweetcorn, peppers, extra garlic, whatever you fancy, to the classic Chicken Balti and you have a combination dish.

If you like this you should try our
Sag PaneerChilli PaneerButter ChickenButter PaneerPrawn KormaMedium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken BhoonaChicken DopiazaAmbot Tik

Heard someone they can eat these easily? It’s a phallacy.

How to cook… Prawn Balti

Recipes

Serves 4 as a main dish

Prawns are ideal for balti cooking as they cook very quickly for an extra fresh-tasting dish. This makes a medium-strength dish plus that nice salty tasty of the prawns.

What you need…
• 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
• 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
• 3cm piece of ginger, peel and cut into small chunks
• 0.5 onion, sliced
• 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
• 600g Base Curry Sauce
• 1 teaspoon garam masala
• 3 Tablespoons chopped coriander
• 800g prawns, peeled and deveined
• Salt, to taste

Balti Masala
• 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
• 3 cardamoms
• 2 cloves
• 3 dried red chillies
• 4 bay leaves


––––
• 0.5 teaspoon sea salt
• 1 teaspoon turmeric


How to make it…
1. Dry fry the ingredients of the Balti Masala (except the salt and turmeric) in a heated pan until they release their aromas (about 2 minutes). Grind them to a powder. Add the salt and some water to form a paste. Set aside.
2. Heat the oil to high heat, add the fenugreek seeds and fry for 15 seconds. They should sizzle immediately. You can test the ghee is hot enough by adding one seed.
3. Turn down the heat, add the garlic and ginger and fry for 2 minutes.
4. Add the onion and fry for 1 minute.
5. Add the Balti Masala Mix, the tomato paste and fry for 3 minutes, adding a little water if needed.
6. Add the Base Curry Sauce, garam masala, 2 Tablespoons of coriander, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir frequently, add salt to taste and water if needed.
7. Add the prawns and cook until they are cooked through (about 4–5 minutes).
8. Serve straight away, garnished with the rest of the coriander.

CHEF’S TIP
Go easy on the salt as the prawns are salty already.


If you like this you should try our
Sag PaneerChilli PaneerButter ChickenButter PaneerPrawn KormaMedium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken BhoonaChicken DopiazaAmbot Tik

Heard someone they can eat these easily? It’s a phallacy.

How to cook… Chicken Balti

Recipes

Serves 4 as a main dish

This is the classic Chicken Balti, easy to make and, oh, so quick. Cooked quickly it will produce that distinctive fresh Balti taste and  will make a medium-strength dish. As always with all baltis, serve with a nan.

What you need…
• 0.5 teaspoon sea salt
• 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
• 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
• 3cm piece of ginger, peel and cut into small chunks
• 0.5 onion, sliced
• 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
• 600g Base Curry Sauce
• 1 teaspoon garam masala
• 3 Tablespoons chopped coriander
• 800g chicken, cut into small bite-sized pieces
• Salt, to taste

Balti Masala
• 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
• 3 cardamoms
• 2 cloves
• 3 dried red chillies
• 4 bay leaves


How to make it…
1. Dry fry the ingredients of the Balti Masala (except the salt and turmeric) in a heated pan until they release their aromas (about 2 minutes). Grind them to a powder. Add the salt and turmeric, and some water to form a paste. Set aside.
2. Heat the oil to high heat, add the fenugreek seeds and fry for 15 seconds. They should sizzle immediately. You can test the ghee is hot enough by adding one seed.
3. Turn down the heat, add the garlic and ginger and fry for 2 minutes.
4. Add the onion and fry for 1 minute.
5. Add the Balti Masala, the tomato paste and fry for 3 minutes, adding a little water if needed.
6. Add the Base Curry Sauce, garam masala, 2 Tablespoons of coriander, and chicken, and cook until all the chicken pieces are cooked through (about 10 minutes). Stir frequently, add salt to taste and water if needed.
7. Serve straight away, garnished with the rest of the coriander.

CHEF’S TIP
The nan bread is delicious if served smothered with butter.

If you like this you should try our
Sag PaneerChilli PaneerButter ChickenButter PaneerPrawn KormaMedium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken BhoonaChicken DopiazaAmbot Tik

Heard someone they can eat these easily? It’s a phallacy.

How to cook… Balti Aphrodisiac

Recipes

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.

CHEF’S TIP
Throughout the cooking process ensure you stir frequently and add small splashes of water to avoid the dish sticking and drying out.

If you like this you should try our
Sag PaneerChilli PaneerButter ChickenButter PaneerPrawn KormaMedium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken BhoonaChicken Dopiaza

How do phone mad couples get married? They give each other a ring.

Win… a Balti Bowl & Balti Spice Kit

Recipes

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED. The winner was @valseal46 with her joke: I was eating at a restaurant and the waiter asked me, “Curry ok?” I replied, “No thanks, I can’t sing”.

Here’s your chance to win an fabulous Balti Bowl plus a Balti Beginnings Spice Kit courtesy of the Birmingham Balti Company – the Balti specialists – who are offering this prize worth £40.

The authentic Balti Bowl is made in Birmingham from pressed-steel – just like the original 1970s bowls – and made for professional kitchens. The Spice Kit includes three fantastic spice blends – garam masala, chicken or veg Balti blend and Balti Lamb blend – perfect to cook up a top-notch, restaurant quality, fresh tasting Balti curry at home.

For a chance to win…
1. Tell us your favourite curry joke or pun.
2. Follow the Royal Curry Club blog (go to top of the page) and subscribe to the Birmingham Balti Co. newsletter.

View Posts

Terms & Conditions
1. There will be one winner, who will be selected from entries on this website, Instagram and Twitter.
2. The competition closes at 8pm on Sunday 14 February 2021 and the winner will selected after that time.
3. By entering this competition you agree that your e-mail will automatically be added to the Royal Curry Club follower list and the Birmingham Balti Co. mailing list, which occasionally sends out special offers and news. You can unsubscribe from both at any time.
4. The competition is only open to residents of the UK with a UK address. If you enter the competition and don’t have a UK address the prizes cannot be sent to you and the winner will be reselected.
5. The decision of the organisers is final and we will not enter into correspondence on it.
6. WordPress, Twitter or Instagram are not associated with, and have no responsibility for this competition.

Curry Chaat with… Andy Munro

Curry News

Andy Munro is a balti expert from Birmingham and was born and bred in its now famous Balti Triangle. His book is entitled Going for a Balti: the Story of Birmingham’s Signature Dish. The balti first appeared in Birmingham around 1975 and was invented by the local Pakistani/Kashmiri community who developed the dish loosely based on home-style cooking where the meal is served in the bowl it’s cooked in, so it retains all its flavours. Naan, rather than rice, accompanies the meal and is used to scoop up the food and to wipe clean the bowl at the end. Enter our competition to win an authentic Balti Bowl & Balti Spice Kit here.

How would you describe a balti to a Martian?
A spicy dish fast cooked over a high flame, cooked and served up in a steel pan.

When and where did you have your first balti?
In 1985, at a place called Azim’s in the Handsworth area of Birmingham… a particularly memorable meal as the restaurant was burned down a week later in the Handsworth race riots!

What’s the key to a good balti?
It must be fast-cooked, using vegetable oil not ghee, with spices thrown in during that cooking process. It must also be both cooked and served up in the balti, a flat-bottomed, thin pressed steel two-handled pan.

What’s the best balti you’ve ever had?
Balti Lamb and Aubergine at the Royal Naim (sadly now closed) in the Balti Triangle

What’s your go-to balti, your standard order on a quiet Tuesday night?
A Balti Chicken and Mushroom at the Shahi Nan Kebab House in the Balti Triangle.

If a Balti were an animal what would it be?
A dragon… legendary and fiery!

What’s the difference between a Birmingham balti and one from Baltistan?
The Birmingham balti is uniquely a fast-cooked Brummie invention right down to the Birmingham-designed and made Balti pans. Balti has nothing to do with the slow-cooked on-the-bone dishes served up in Baltistan. To say there is a connection is like saying jam comes from Jamaica!

What’s the difference between a balti and a ‘normal’ curry?
Balti is faster cooked over a higher heat, which helps caramelise the ingredients, uses vegetable oil not ghee for a cleaner, lighter taste and most critically has to be cooked and served up in the balti pan, thereby conserving the integrity of all the flavours. However, the mix of spices are down to the individual chef but are usually similar to those used in a ‘normal’ curry.

What ‘normal’ curries do you like when taking a balti break?
If I’m pushing the boat out I’ll go to the Michelin starred Opheem, which do a mean Goat Biryani. Otherwise I tend to eat more South Indian food for a change, such as a Paneer and Cashew Nut Masala curry or something like a Keralan Malabar Chicken.

Tell us about three restaurants we must visit next time we are in Birmingham?
Shababs, Shahi Nan Kebab House (both in the Balti Triangle), or the Royal Watan, just up the road in Selly Park.


You can purchase a copy of Andy Munro’s book Going for a Balti here…


Enter our competition for a chance to win an authentic Balti Bowl & Balti Spice Kit here…

Fresh of Borough

2. Reviews (Other UK)

The Balti House, London, SE1

When in a place called The Balti House, have a balti, that’s what I say. The key attraction of a balti is the freshness of all those ingredients cooked together and the Chicken Tikka Balti (£7.50) was super fresh. Isn’t it great to taste the individual parts of a curry rather than them just getting lost in a mush? Baltis start from £5.95 (Balti Vegetable) and rise to £10.50 (Balti King Prawn Tikka) and are to be recommended.

Strange then, that these appetising curries are found not in the most appetising of locations – downstairs in a darkish part of Borough. The decor of wicker chairs and, neat but bog-standard tablecloths doesn’t add to the ambience. Think dining hall in a two-star holiday place in Majorca. Mind you, the waiters don’t speak Spanish and are very friendly. A draught pint was replaced without hesitation for a bottled beer at the mention ‘that it doesn’t taste right’.

Apparently The Balti House thrives on takeaways, which might explain why it was so quiet, despite a large number of tables. Luckily a slightly tipsy work crowd appeared to dismiss the quiet and before long there was even dancing. Now we had more than the food to entertain us.

The Balti House, 7/9 Newington Causeway, London, Se1 6BD. Tel: 020 7357 6175 or 020 7357 6177. Open: Mon-Fri noon-2.30pm, 6pm-midnight. Sat-Sun 6pm-12.30am.

The Balti House snapshot

Food ① ② ③

Decor ① ②

Value ① ② ③ ④

Atmosphere (Thursday night) ① ②

Service and friendliness ① ② ③ ④


Balti House on Urbanspoon

Create your own Balti

Curry News

We’ve all heard about creating your own pizza (bit of this, bit of that) but how about creating your own Balti? Well, that’s an option at  Sartaj in London’s West End. It’s a popular pre-theatre place and offers lunch and a theatre-goer special (before 7.30pm) at just £7.50, including unlimited nan bread. Can’t be bad.

So this is how it goes. Choose your base (various choices such as chicken or lamb for £5.50, fish for £6.50 or mixed vegetable for £4.95). You add your sauce for a pound (masala, dupiaza, korma, take your pick). Then vegetables (anything from mushrooms to potato to pumpkin) for a pound a pop. Then you tell the chef your preferred cooking strength (mild, medium, madras or vindaloo hot).

Now that’s got to beat a ‘extra pepperoni with a thin crust’ any day of the week.

Sartaj, 26 Earlham Street, London, WC2 H9LN. Tel: 020 7831 1413. Open: Mon–Wed noon-2pm and 5.30pm-midnight, Thur–Sun noon-midnight.

Sartaj on Urbanspoon