Balti is a spicy curry dish that is prepared with meat or vegetables and is cooked over high heat in a large, deep stainless steel or cast iron bowl that has two large handle loops. This vessel is called a balti so it is believed that the dish has become synonymous with the pot in which it is cooked. The dish is served at the table in the very hot balti pot in which it was cooked.
The curry is made by frying onions and tomatoes with a blend of Indian spices, then puréeing it. The chicken is cut into bite-sized pieces then pan-fried over high heat in oil, just like a stir-fry, until done. Finally the curry is added to the pot and everything is simmered together until the flavors develop and everything is cooked through. The curry is thick and a lot of depth to its flavor. It is quite simple to make and is absolutely delicious. This curry is best served with plain rice or your favorite Indian bread.
2 Tbs oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1-inch piece ginger, chopped
1 Serrano chile, chopped
2 tsp coriander, ground
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp red chile powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbs oil
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium red onion, cut into strips
1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbs cilantro, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt, if needed
1. Heat the oil in a pot over medium. Add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the onion and fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the ginger, garlic and green chile. Turn heat to medium-low. Continue frying until the onions become translucent.
2. While the onion fries, heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Dry roast the coriander, cumin, garam masala, cinnamon, red chile powder, paprika and turmeric until the aroma rises. Remove and let cool.
3. When the onions are ready, stir in the roasted spice mix. Then add the chopped tomatoes, salt and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes.
4. Remove the curry from the heat. Let cool a bit then transfer to a blender and purée the curry. Return the curry to the pot.
5. Heat the oil in a non-stick wok or pot over medium-high heat. Add the peppers, onions and chicken. Stir-fry until the chicken starts to brown, about 10 minutes. The chicken will not be cooked through.
6. Add the stir-fried chicken and vegetables along with any cooking liquid to the pot with the curry. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the cilantro and lemon juice. If the curry is becomes too thick, stir in some water, 1/4 cup at a time, to get the desired consistency. Add salt if needed.