Curry Club 2, Series 1: Bring on the Balti

Nov 19, 2012 by

Last week was the 2nd Monday of the Curry Club. After much deliberation, we decided that it was time to introduce patrons to a true Anglo-Brit creation ‘The Balti’. Balti was given it’s christening by the Indian food loving community in Birmingham, U.K. – in fact there is an area where one can find every kind of Balti, known as the Balti Triangle. It’s literal translation in Hindi is ‘bucket’ but for our Brummy mates (those from Birmingham), it is a chicken curry cooked on high heat to seal in all that spicy goodness. Nobody is quite sure where that name came from but given that balti means bucket and the Brummies serve the dish in a ethnic, beaten metal wok, it is perhaps suggestive of the very vessel itself. The Balti has become increasingly popular over the years and has certainly stolen some limelight from the famed Chicken Tikka Masala, providing those with an aversion to cream and butter with a very strong alternative.

Patrons at Jones Wood foundry, Balti Night

As for the dish, we knocked it out of the park again (just sayin’..and nice job Chef Si!). Tender pieces of chicken coated in a peppery, spicy-sweet sauce that awakens the palate with a dash of vinegar. Your tongue is left in a frenzy of the most positive sort.

Chef Simon Firing It Up

We served this dish with Tulsi NYC’s artisanal fire roasted naans and our peas pilaf but quite frankly, the winning accompaniment was a chilled glass of Indian Pale Ale. The heat from the curry worked like magic with the carbonation and malty flavor of the ale and the whole experience left patrons feeling a little ‘moreish’.


Recipe for Balti Chicken


2 lb skinless chicken thighs, (with some bone)


1 TSP. Ginger, minced

½ TSP. Garlic, minced

¾ Tsp. Salt

1 TSP. White wine vinegar


1/3 cup cooking oil

1 TSP. cumin seeds

2 bay leaves

2 Green cardamoms

1 ½ onion

1 TBSP. ginger

1 TSP. garlic

½ TSP.  Haldi

½ tsp. chili powder/ cayenne pepper

1 TSP. Coriander powder, roasted and crushed

Salt (3/4 to 1 tsp)

½ TSP. fresh cracked pepper

1 heaped TSP. Kasturi methi, crushed by hand

1 TBSP. Tomato puree

3/4 can peeled plum tomatoes, crushed

Heaped TBSP. plain yoghurt




1)   Combine chicken, vinegar, ginger, garlic and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside for 1 hour


1)   Remove from chicken from refrigerator

2)   Heat oil, add cumin, as it darkens and sizzles around add onions, cook on high until it brown at sides and gets jammy (you should need to scrape bottom of pan as you mix as the onion sticks..if not, heat is not high enough and it will make you sauce a dirty brown color with a slushy texture)

3)   Add ginger and garlic, cook to lose rawness and it turns golden. Add cayenne pepper, coriander powder, fresh cracked pepper, Kasturi mehthi, crushed by hand

4)   Add tomato puree. Cook to remove rawness. Add crushed tomatoes. When oil separates, add sugar and add the chicken and continue to cook on high for 4 minutes. Add ¼ cup of hot water bring to boil, reduce to simmer.

5)   When ¾ cooked through, add beaten yoghurt. Cook until yoghurt loses the milk color




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1 Comment

  1. As you know, the Anglo-Indian culture and the Indo-Canadian is very similar..particularly in Toronto..The Balti also made its way to our local hole in the wall in Toronto – so lovin’ it!!

    Cheers Mate,



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