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
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
181 Calories
6g Fat
11g Carbs
21g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 181
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 51mg 17%
Sodium 253mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 21g
Vitamin C 36mg 180%
Calcium 63mg 5%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 449mg 10%
*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.)

Balti is a type of pan to cook in, ideally stainless steel, that is also used to serve the curries. So balti is more a style of cooking in a special dish than it is a set recipe—you can find balti curries made of goat, lamb, or in our case, chicken. Believe it or not, the city of Birmingham in the United Kingdom made balti cooking big and famous thanks to its undeniable love for flavors and dishes imported from the Middle East, India, and Asia. Following the arrival of balti cooking in the city during the 1970s, courtesy of Pakistani and Kashmiri communities, Birmingham became Britain's balti capital. This chicken dish was one of the most popular curry dishes.

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 world, you can make it at home and at a fraction of the cost. Although the list of ingredients is long, most of them are dry spices that are easily found. Simply measure and organize all of the ingredients before you start for a smooth cooking process. The prize for your hard work is a fragrant filling meal that also makes great leftovers and can be kept in the fridge for two days.

This chicken balti curry recipe comes courtesy of the Birmingham City Council and the Balti Triangle in Birmingham. Serve it with fresh naan, the traditional side that also helps you scoop up all of the delicious sauce and juices left in your bowl.


  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

  • 4 dried curry leaves, crushed

  • 1 teaspoon palm sugar

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds

  • 3 medium green chiles, coarsely chopped

  • 4 cardamom pods, split

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds, lightly crushed

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 (1/3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

  • 2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 cup vegetable stock, or chicken stock

  • 1 teaspoon tomato puree

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 large tomato, sliced

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Mix the garam masala, curry leaves, palm sugar, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, nigella seeds, green chiles, and cardamom. Set aside.

  3. Heat the oil in a large pan. Once it's hot but not smoking, add the lightly crushed mustard seeds. Cook for 30 seconds only, and be aware of the hot oil splatter as the seeds might pop a little.

  4. Add the chopped onion, lower the heat, and cook for approximately 3 to 5 minutes until soft but not colored.

  5. Add the garlic, ginger, and mixed spices. Cook on medium heat, ensuring the spices don't burn.

  6. Add the chicken pieces and stir well to make sure all the chicken is coated in the spices. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid the spices from burning.

  7. Add the stock, tomato puree, a small pinch of salt, and the bay leaf. Stir well, lower the heat, and cook gently for 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and tender.

  8. Add the cilantro and slices of tomato, stir and cook for another 3 minutes. Serve piping hot in balti dishes with naan bread on the side.