Balti Ideas, Tips and Serving Suggestions
There is a lot of speculation over the name Balti. The most popular explanation is that it comes from the two-handled dish in which it is served. The phrase “Balti cooking” could also have been coined and abbreviated from the Baltistan region of Northern India.
However, it seems that Birmingham is taking credit for creating this dish and its associated style of cooking. The first Balti houses that sprang up in the Midlands all shared a similar cooking technique: a fast stir fry method along with a thick, rich tomato sauce. Back then they would “Balti” just about anything, including a dish called Exhaustive Balti, so-called because it had so many ingredients that you would be exhausted just to eat it.
The Balti signature flavours have been distilled into that same thick tomato sauce, plus a tangy edge that lends itself to a variety of different ingredients. You can’t go wrong with a classic mix of chicken and red pepper, or a combination of juicy king prawns and fresh peas topped with a handful of fresh coriander. However, we’ve got a few tips and tricks to make your Balti come to life this Spring, using tasty ingredients that are just coming into season.
Try it with:
- Chicken thighs with spring greens like kale or spinach. Stir the greens into the sauce right at the end and then tuck in!
- A whole guinea fowl, for a very traditional dish. Check our Guinea Fowl Balti recipe for more information on preparing your bird.
- Homemade meatballs and loads of chopped mixed peppers. Make your meatballs with a mixture of pork and beef mince for a lighter texture.
- Firm white fish like hake or monkfish. This can be either added to the sauce near the end of cooking, or you can bake it separately and drizzle the curry over the top.
- Baby spring vegetables braised in stock. To retain their crunch, these are best added nearer the end of cooking, after the sauce has simmered for 15 - 20 minutes.
- Try roasting the red pepper first for a smokier finish.
- You can use any vinegar with the Balti , but we recommend cider vinegar for a tangy but fruity flavour.
- The Balti is perfect for scooping up with a soft and doughy Previns Naan Bread.
- Garnish with chopped spring onion or finely sliced raw mangetout for a crunchy finish, or, for a more fragrant and light dish, try garnishing with heaps of our leafy Herb Salad.
- Make the most of seasonal veg and serve it with spring greens or asparagus cooked using our Gujarati Green Bean Pack.