Classic Chicken Balti Curry

Chicken Balti Curry in a metal bowl
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Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 65 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
488 Calories
23g Fat
34g Carbs
40g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 488
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 6g 29%
Cholesterol 105mg 35%
Sodium 467mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 6g 22%
Protein 40g
Calcium 170mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is one of Britain's most popular curry dishes. It is easy to make especially if you prepare the spice mix yourself.

This Chicken balti curry recipe is from Birmingham City Council and the Balti Triangle in Birmingham. Birmingham became Britain's balti capital following its arrival in the city in the 1970's courtesy of the city's Pakistani and Kashmiri communities.

A balti curry is a curry cooked over a high flame with spiced fresh meat and/or vegetables, then cooked again with extra spices and served in the traditional round-bottomed balti dish. Though there are restaurants now serving the famous dish across the whole of the UK, you can make at it home and at a fraction of the cost. Do not be put off with the list of spices; prepare them yourself and you will certainly notice the difference. 


  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 1 piece ginger (fresh, peeled and grated; 1 centimeter)
  • 2 large chicken breasts (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 cup/250 milliliters vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
  • 1 teaspoon tomato purée
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large tomato (sliced)
  • For the Balti Spice Mix:
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds (crushed)
  • 2 tablespoon cilantro (fresh, chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 4 curry leaves (dried; crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
  • 3 green chilies (chopped)
  • 4 cardamom pods (split)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Assemble all the spices. You will find it easier to make the curry if you get all the spices ready beforehand.

  3. To begin the curry first you need to heat the oil in a large pan. Once it is hot but not smoking, add the lightly crushed mustard seeds; cook for 30 seconds only and be aware they may pop and spit out of the pan. Add the chopped onion, lower the heat, and cook for approximately 3 to 5 minutes until soft but not colored. Then add all the spices plus the garlic and ginger. Cook on a medium heat, taking care to ensure the spices don't burn.

  4. Add the chicken and stir well to make sure all the chicken is coated in the spices. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the chicken or spices are not burning.

  5. Add the stock, the tomato purée, a small pinch of salt, and the bay leaf. Stir again and then lower the heat. Cook gently for 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and tender. Then add the cilantro/coriander and tomato; stir and cook for another 3 minutes.

  6. Serve piping hot in balti dishes with naan bread on the side.