I was in Birmingham a few months ago and learnt that it was the city of Balti houses and Balti curries. Apparently it is home to a sizeable Pakistani population and they have introduced fast-food curries served in Balti dishes to the city and later to all over England.
The Balti is a flat-bottomed wok made of pressed steel. So a curry cooked and served in a balti is a Balti curry. I cooked my curry in my wok (for high heat and fast cooking) and served it in a small Balti. Though traditionally, these curries are cooked in heavy-bottomed iron pots for slow and long simmering. Anyway, here's my Chicken Balti.
Chicken Balti :
10 Chicken skinless upper-thigh pieces
1 Tbsp ground Turmeric
1 Tsp Salt
1 Onion (sliced)
3 Tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste
2 fresh Chillies (sliced)
1 Tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 Tsp Mustard seeds
1 Tsp ground Paprika
1 Tsp ground Coriander
1/2 Tsp ground Cinnamon
A pinch of ground Cloves
2-3 Tbsp T0mato purée
10 Curry leaves
4 Green or black Cardamoms
1 Bay leaf
1 Green pepper (cut into pieces)
1 Tomato (chopped)
2 Tsp Sugar or Palm sugar
Juice from half a lemon
Fresh coriander leaves
Marinate the chicken pieces with the salt and turmeric for at least 30 minutes.
Heat some peanut oil in a wok and fry the chicken pieces till almost cooked. Remove and set aside.
Add the onions in the oil and fry till softened. Add the cumin and mustard seeds, the ground spices and the ginger-garlic paste.
Add the peppers, chillies and fresh tomatoes. Stir in the curry leaves, tomato paste, bay leaf and cardamoms.
Pour some hot water into the wok. Stir well, add the sugar, lower the heat and cover the wok for a few minutes.
Return the chicken pieces to the curry to finish the cooking. Squeeze some lemon juice over the curry. Transfer to a small balti dish, garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with naans or chapatis.
This curry is for dinner this evening. At noon, I have 10 women waiting for me at the mythic Ristorante Cavallino in Maranello. I have organised a lunch there for those who would like to try out the restaurant or just join us for the company.