The history of the Balti is tricky to trace, says chef Alasdair Nunn of RachAls Kitchen Ltd, the Halifax based caterer.
But the common consensus is that it was invented (adapted) in Birmingham during the Seventies thanks to the arrival of Pakistani immigrants.
The meaning of the word Balti is easier to trace however. It can be found in the Urdu, Hindi, and Bengali languages and means “bucket”, describing the two handled dish which the curry is cooked in, but more commonly now, served in.
Its origins can be traced to the area of Baltistan, in northern Pakistan, where a cast-iron wok, similar to the Chinese wok, is used for cooking. This makes sense, since Baltistan shares a border with China
Now I don’t claim this is an authentic Balti but I honestly don’t think you will find a quicker, tastier curry, making this “Balti” a fantastic mid-week treat.
Or, when served with all your favourite Indian side dishes, an indulgent weekend feast.
Ingredients - Serves 4
4 tbsp tomato puree
3 tbsp plain yogurt
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chilli powder
2 crushed garlic cloves
3 tbsp mango chutney
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp cooking oil
4 trimmed and sliced chicken breasts
150 ml of hot water
1-2 green chilli
Good pinch of fresh coriander
75 ml fresh cream
lIn a bowl mix the tomato puree, yogurt, garam masala, chilli powder, garlic, mango chutney, salt and sugar together.
lCarefully heat the oil in a wok (or a deep pan as this mixture does spit) then add the above mixture.
lLower heat and cook the wet mixture for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
lAdd the chicken and stir until it is well coated in the mixture then carefully add the hot water.
lContinue cooking for about 10-12 minutes, until the chicken is tender stirring from time to time.
lAdd green chillies, chopped coriander and cream, stir in and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
lServe with rice of your choice and warm flat breads.