Did you know that Balti is actually the name of a cooking pot and serving dish?
I learned to cook this recipe in a balti dish in India but did not think to bring one home with me. Balti dishes in the late eighties were a bit hard to come by in Turlock California but I soon learned that a good quality wok did the job just fine.
I absolutely love balti dishes. I was taught to make them by a chef named Mohammed in a small village about an hour from Mumbai. Balti dished are normally accompanied with nan bread instead of rice. As curries go, they are quite dry so it is easy to scoop up the curry with a nan. No spoons or forks should be used if you want to eat this dish the traditional way.
I have personally made this dish hundreds of times in my home kitchen. As with all the dishes I make, everything is done by taste. Feel free to add a little bit more of this or a little less of that. Most important, have fun.
Balti dishes are great crowd pleasers.
(Makes enough for 4 to 6 people.)
2 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter – Vegetable oil will do
2 red bell peppers cut into one inch pieces
1 large onion cut into smallish pieces
6 cloves smashed garlicOne hot chilli pepper finely chopped (I use five but I like things hot.)
1 Tablespoon roasted and ground cumin seeds
6 skinned free range chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
1 Tablesoon ground paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 finger long piece cinnamon stick
3 Tablespoons Balti spice mix
1 400ml tin of chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon garam masala
In a very hot balti pan or wok, heat the ghee or oil.
Ad the onions and fry until the begin to caramelise and brown. Remove the onions from the pan and add the peppers and garlic. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add a little more ghee and throw in the chicken pieces. You may need to do this in batches. When the chicken is browned but not completely cooked through, remove from the pan. Be sure that you mean is properly frying and not just stewing in the meat liquid.
Now add the paprika, turmeric, tomatoes, balti spice mix and cinnamon stick. Add about a cup of water and let throw in the other cooked ingredients. You can now let this simmer for about half an hour. Be sure not to let it go too dry. In should be runny but not soupy. You need to be able to pick up the curry with your nan bread, remember!
Taste you balti for seasoning, add a little salt and pepper and the garam masala. Squeeze in a little lime juice and serve with lime wedges and chopped corriander.
Enjoy with hot nans and plenty of ice cold beer.
I would love to hear how you got on with this dish. It is an easy dish that tastes great. Hope you enjoy it.