We all love curries and I especially love a curry that is cooked from scratch. Before I give you the recipe for this quite unique dish I'm going to let you in on some interesting facts about one of the world's most enjoyed foods - curry!
Birmingham is well known as the birthplace of the Balti. The Birmingham Balti originated in the city during the late 70s, when Bengali curry chefs started to make their dishes lighter, healthier and served faster to suit Western tastes, according to the Birmingham Balti Association (BBA).
Here’s 10 things you probably didn’t know about the Balti, courtesy of Andy Munro, author of the book Going For A Balti.
1. The balti was the invention of a Pakistani restaurateur in the late 70s and the idea was to fuse Pakistani cooking with western tastes.
2. His restaurant, Adil, is still open in the Balti Triangle.
3. The original balti bowls were commissioned specially and made by a Smethwick firm
4. The oldest remaining balti bowl still in use is estimated to have been used to serve up more than 5,000 baltis - British craftsmanship at its best!
5. A genuine Birmingham balti is fast-cooked over a high flame and has to be served up in the dish in which it has been cooked.
6. A scientific study purported to prove that eating a Birmingham balti was equivalent to drinking half a pint of Guinness in its health benefits because of the iron traces from the bowl.
7. It’s got nothing to do with Baltistan and gets its name from the Urdu word balti meaning bucket.
8. However, in Pakistan, there is a tribe called the Baltis but it’s unlikely they eat the dish.
9. Birmingham’s balti has even been featured in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
10. The name of the now-famous Balti Triangle (in Birmingham) was originally invented with the strapline ‘lost in a sea of spices’ (obviously a nod towards the similarly-titled Bermuda Triangle in which ships and planes have disappeared).
So there you go..... a history lesson for us all. This is actually classed as a British curry.
For me I enjoyed making this dish as it was quite easy and like all curries full of flavour. There was no making of a curry paste or using store purchased paste - only a few ingredients are used to make this very tasting curry. I actually enjoyed it better the next day mind you. This very basic curry could easily be jazzed up by adding extra vegetables such as carrots or capsicums to bulk out the meal.
Balti Chicken Curry
Serves: 4 - 6
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 kilogram chicken thigh fillets, skin removed and chopped
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons tomato past
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons mild paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
400 gram can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken stock
freshly ground black pepper
freshly chopped coriander, to garnish
Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add chicken, cooking in batches, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes or until chicken is browned. Remove from heat.
Heat remaining oil in same pan. Add onions, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onions are soft. Add paste, cumin, paprika, coriander and turmeric. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant.
Return chicken to the pan with tomatoes and stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, over a low heat for around 40 minutes or until thickened.
Serve curry with steamed rice and garnished with coriander, if desired.