An amazing chicken balti curry, tender chicken pieces in a fragrant sauce, this one of the most popular curries in Britain.
Balti Chicken Curry
This chicken balti curry is one of the most popular curries you can eat in Great Britain. It is spicy, incredibly aromatic, comforting, everything that Indian food normally is.
Indian food must be the best in the world. I like a lot of things when it comes to food, but Indian food definitely has a special place in my heart. I discovered Indian food when we were living in London, I had never had it before, and I was hooked immediately.
What is a balti dish?
The name balti seems to come from the dish this type of food is cooked in, which is a round-bottomed or flat-bottomed steel or iron pot with two handles. The origin of the name seems to be found in the Portuguese word balde, meaning bucket.
The origins of balti food are not to be found in India (like most of us would think), but in Birmingham, UK. Kind of the same as the chicken tikka masala, the most popular chicken curry in Britain, which originates in Glasgow and not in India. Check out my paneer tikka masala, it is delicious!
The balti style of cooking became popular in the 1970s when a large Pakistani and Kashmiri population arrived in Birmingham. Nowadays, there are over 100 restaurants in the city serving balti-style food.
Balti food describes meat and vegetables being quickly cooked, unlike many other Indian one-pot dishes, which are slowly simmered for a longer period of time.
- I used a whole medium chicken, which I cut into 8 parts: thighs, legs, breasts, and wings.
- You can make the chicken balti using only thighs or drumsticks. The cooking times will remain the same.
- If you make the balti dish using only chicken breast cut into smaller pieces, reduce the cooking time. Check after 7-8 minutes already, the meat pieces should be cooked through, but should not be allowed to overcook.
Like any good curry, this dish contains lots of spices (all Amazon affiliate links):
- cinnamon sticks
- cardamom pods
- black peppercorns
- cumin seeds
- fresh ginger
- garam masala
- pure chili powder
You can adjust the heat of the dish by using more or less chili powder than recommended. I make a rather mild version of this balti curry most of the time.
How to make chicken balti?
- Skin the chicken, Indian food is cooked with skinned chicken most of the time. You will not want the floppy chicken skin in a curry (or stew) anyway.
- Cut into 8 pieces.
- Chop the onions and the tomatoes. Mix all the spices in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Fry the onions until golden (Step 1).
- Add the tomatoes and the spices, including the salt. Lower the heat and fry everything for about 4 minutes, stirring often. (Step 2 and 3)
- Now add the chicken pieces and fry until the spices have penetrated the meat and the chicken begins to get some color, about 7 minutes. (Step 4)
- Add the yogurt, stir well, cover the pan and cook on low for about 15-20 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. (Step 5)
- Check to see if the meat is cooked through by cutting a chicken thigh close to the bone, there should be no red or pink to be seen. (Step 6)
- Adjust the taste with lemon juice, and more salt if necessary. Sprinkle with coriander.
How to serve?
- You can serve the chicken balti with basmati rice or Indian bread. Try this naan bread recipe, for instance, it is not Indian, but it is delicious and a perfect fit for this balti dish.
- This dish can be served immediately, but it can also be made in advance and reheated before serving.
- That’s a great thing about Indian food, it is perfect for serving to guests, as you can prepare most anything in advance and just reheat it before serving.
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Chicken Balti (Spicy Indian Curry Recipe)
- 1 chicken about 1.5 kg/ 3.3 lbs
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 3 medium onions
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cardamom pods
- 5-6 black peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger grated
- 1 teaspoon garlic grated
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon chili powder more or less to taste
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- coriander leaves
- Clean and skin the chicken, cut it into 8 pieces. Set aside.
- Chop the onions and the tomatoes.
- Saute: Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onions and fry until they are golden brown. Add the tomatoes and the spices, including the salt. Lower the heat and fry everything for about 4 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the chicken pieces and stir-fry until the spices have penetrated the meat and the chicken begins to get some color, about 7 minutes.
- Add the yogurt, stir well, cover the pan and cook on low for about 20 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. Stir in between to make sure that the food doesn't stick to the pan.
- Check to see that the chicken is cooked through; I make a small incision on the thickest part of a chicken thigh near the bone; the meat should not be pink anymore. The internal temperature should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit/ 75 degrees Celsius.
- Add the lemon juice, some more salt if necessary, and the chopped coriander and serve.