How to cook… Balti Aphrodisiac


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.

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
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How to cook… Fish Tikka


Serves 4 as a starter

Fish Tikka is often overlooked for some of the more popular Tandoori recipes yet fish marinates really well and is quick and easy to cook. Fish makes a top Indian starter but also makes an excellent main dish if combined with Bombay Aloo and Spiced Indian Mixed Salad.

What you need…
• 4 white fish fillets, about 120-150g each
• 0.5 recipe of Tikka Marinade

How to make it
1. Pat the fish dry with a paper towel and coat the pieces in the Tikka Marinade. Leave for at least 15 minutes but preferably 24–48 hours.
2. Preheat your oven to 170 C. Place the pieces on a greased baking tray, ensuring all the pieces are kept well apart and cook, turning once, until the fish flakes with a fork and the marinade is crispy (about 20 minutes). Check one of the largest pieces to ensure it’s cooked. If not return to the oven.

To achieve those blackened edges the Indian restaurants get by cooking in the tandoor you can finish the fish off for a couple of minutes under a very hot grill. Just remove the fish from the oven a couple of minutes earlier.

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5 Best Goa Curries

Curry News

Goa is the smallest state in India yet it is the home to some great curries – often sizzling hot. The Portguese ruled the state for 450 years until 1961 so Goan dishes are often combine flavours from Portugal, Indi and often Africa (where Portugal had other colones). Here are Five of the Best Curries from Goa.

1. Vindaloo

Vindaloo is probably the best known of all Goan dishes and is now eaten all over the world. As the only state with a predominantly Catholic population there are few food taboos so the tradional dish is a slow-cooked Pork Vindaloo with lots of vinegar. British restaurants used the word vindaloo as a byword for very hot curry so although their Lamb Vindaloo, Chicken Vindaloo and Prawn Vindaloo are vastly different to the tradional pork version they have become hugely popular among fans of spicy curries.

2. Chicken Recheade

As much a pickling paste as a curry, Chicken Recheade is made by combining red dried chillies, black pepper, garlic, ginger, and spices with vinegar to form a paste that is used to marinate the chicken then cooked with chopped onions, tomato paste and garam masala. As with many Goan dishes it combines Indian and Portuguese styles of cooking and ingredients.

3. Ambot Tik

Ambot Tik is another hot and spicy dish from Goa that combines Portuguese and Indian flavours. It can be cooked with any any type of fish but popular choices are shark and prawns. If using prawns keep their shells on to soak up the range of flavours. To cook this curry, first create the aromatic masala by dry frying spices, combine with a sauce of onions, tomatoes and tamarind and add the prawns.

4. Goan Fish Curry

Goa’s location along the western coast of the country, by the ArabianSea, means seafood naturally features prominently in its cuisine. Coconut milk, tamarind, juicy white fish and blazing heat from the chillies creates a delicious Goan Fish Curry.

5. Chicken Cafrael

Chicken Cafrael, a simple dish to make – marinate the chicken in a green spice paste, then fry – is another classic curry from Goa. Originating in Africa (probably Mozambique) it was brought to India by the Portuguese. Although this is a dish that traditionally uses chicken legs you can also use bite-sized chunks of chicken.

How to cook… Chicken Kolhapuri


Serves 4 as a main dish

Chicken Kolhapuri is a rich, hot dish is from the city of Kolhapur in Maharashtra but is popular all over India, especially in the south west. The chicken is marinated, then a masala mix created. These are then added to sauce of onions and tomatoes to create this extremely tasty curry.

What you need…
• 800g chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 3 Tablespoons oil
• 600ml Base Curry Sauce
• 2 teaspoons chilli powder
• 0.5 teaspoon turmeric
• 4 green chillies (2 chopped and two sliced for garnish)
• A few coriander leaves to garnish (optional)

• 6 Tablespoons yoghurt
• 2 teaspoons garlic paste
• 1 teaspoon ginger paste
• 1.5 teaspoons chilli powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 Tablespoon tomato paste

• 15 curry leaves
• 4 peppercorns
• 2 cloves
• 2 cardamons, cracked
• 2 star anise
• 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
• 1 teaspoon crushed red chillies
• 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
• 2 Tablespoons desiccated

How to make it
1. Mix all the marinade ingredients and add the chicken. Make sure all the pieces are coated and set aside for 2 hours.
2. Dry fry all the masala ingredients in a pan until they release their aromas (about 2 minutes). Grind them into a powder and set aside.
3. Heat the oil to a medium heat, add the Base Curry Sauce and cook through for 5 minutes.
4. Add the chilli powder, the 2 chopped green chillies, tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.
5. Add the masala, mix well and cook for 5 minutes, adding a little water as needed.
6. Add the chicken and marinade, stir well, cover and cook until all the chicken is cooked through (about 10–15 minutes).
7. Garnish with the sliced chillies and/or (optional) coriander leaves and serve.

If the heat is too much for you then skip adding the chilli powder at stage 4.

If you like this you should try our
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How to cook… Chicken Livers Curry

Curry News

Serves 4 as a main dish

Often overlooked as an ingredient, chicken livers are excellent when curried. In this Chicken Liver Curry you need to marinate the livers first then cook them in a classic spicy tomato and onion sauce.

What you need…
• 600g chicken livers, washed and drained and cut into bite-sized pieces
• 3 Tablespoons oil
• 1.5 onions, finely chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, sliced
• 4cm piece of ginger, peeled and cut into slivers
• 1 teaspoon chilli powder
• 1 teaspoon coriander powder
• 0.5 teaspoon turmeric powder
• 1 tomato, chopped
• 1 Tablespoon tomato paste

• 1 teaspoon chilli powder
• 0.5 teaspoon salt
• 0.25 teaspoon ground black powder
• 1 teaspoon garlic paste
• 3 Tablespoons chopped coriander
• 1 teaspoon garam masala
• Salt to taste

Soaking the livers in milk before marinating for 30 minutes will remove the bitterness.

How you make it…
1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together and coat the chicken livers with it. Set aside for 15 minutes.
2. Heat 2 Tablespoons oil to a medium heat and fry the chicken livers until they all brown (about 4-5 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
3. Add the rest of the oil to the pan and fry the onion until it softens (about 5 minutes).
4. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute.
5. Add the chilli powder, turmeric powder, tomato, tomato paste and a little water, mix well, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally and add more water if needed.
6. Add half the coriander, garam masala and salt and mix well.
7. Add the livers with any juices and stir fry until the are soft and buttery (about 2-3 minutes).
8. Check a piece of liver to ensure it is cooked and once you are happy add the rest of the coriander and serve.

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