Today we show you how to make your own chicken balti curry recipe at home!
Balti is one of Britain's favourite curries, and for good reason, chicken, beef or lamb, with a delicious blend of spices, tomatoes, chillies, garlic, onions and peppers.
Traditionally served in a Balti dish with rice and naan bread on the side.
How to make a Chicken Balti Curry?
Check out our slideshow below, showing you how to make a balti from scratch.
You can read more in this blog post, including the history, substitutes and spice level advice.Or jump straight to the recipe card to get on with cooking a medium spiced homemade balti curry.
What is a balti curry?
Although balti curries are available in most British Indian Restaurants, it is unknown if they originate from a traditional Indian recipe?
There are a few beliefs of where the curry came from;
One view is that the curry originates from the Baltistan region in Northern Pakistan, where the name "Balti" comes from the Urdu word meaning "bucket".
The name may derive from the metal dish the curry’s cooked in, a bowl-like cooking vessel similar to a wok.
Balti houses started appearing in the 1970s in Birmingham, England. Beginning in a small area to the South of the city centre where three roads made up a 'Balti Triangle'.
In the 1980's they became more popular and spread to other parts of the midlands. You can now find balti restaurants and curry houses throughout the UK.
The Balti style of cooking has been adapted and localised to meet the taste of British people, with chicken or lamb being the most popular choice of meat. Plus vegetables such as onions, tomatoes, green and red peppers.
Traditionally a balti curry is served in a balti dish, but this is optional!
Create the curry sauce first, which simmers and thickens while cooking the chicken pieces.
Balti Curry Sauce
The base sauce for a balti is simple and easy to make;
Simply fry off the finely chopped onion in vegetable oil, sunflower oil or for the most authentic balti, ghee can be used.
Add garlic puree, chilli puree and tomato puree; we used purees for this recipe for ease. However, you can use fresh chillies or garlic and chopped finely.
Adjust the amount of chillies used or types of chillies used in this chicken balti recipe to your desired heat level. Check if the curry powder you use contains chill powder and adjust the number of chillies used accordingly.
We used Gia chilli puree, but I will give equivalent if you use a mild-medium spiced red or green chilli pepper.
Mild Balti - ½ teaspoon Chilli Puree or 1 small chilli pepper
Medium Balti - 2 teaspoons Chilli Puree or 2 chilli pepper
Hot Balti - 3 teaspoons Chilli Puree or 3 chilli pepper or use a spicier variant
We use a spice mix called garam masala, available from most UK supermarkets; it is a mixture of ground coriander, cumin, cardamom and cinnamon. We also add turmeric and paprika.
You can buy other curry powder mixes if you can't find it; just bear in mind if the blend you buy contains chilli powder, use fewer chillies, and some combinations may already include turmeric, so you won’t need to add more!
To finish the balti sauce add chopped tomatoes (tinned is fine), brown sugar and lime juice, add your desired amount of salt, then finally pour in the water, it may seem watery at this point, but it will thicken up nicely.
Turn the heat up to bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer for at least 15 minutes.
Balti Chicken, Peppers and Onion
Whilst the balti sauce simmers, get the chicken, peppers and onion cooked in the other pan.
Add enough oil in a large wok or frying pan to coat all around. Heat the oil, add the chicken, onions, green and red peppers with your choice of curry powder.
We used tandoori masala curry powder but you can use a mild, medium, or hot curry powder.
Stir-fry over medium-hot heat for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Check by cutting into a chicken piece.
Add the now thickened balti sauce into the wok with the cooked chicken, onion and peppers.
Sprinkle in a handful of fresh coriander leaves.
How to serve Balti Curry
Serve the balti curry with pilau rice, naan bread, onion bhajis and samosas. Or try some of our other Indian accompaniments; suggestions are below the recipe card.
We used the silver-handled balti dishes for extra authenticity, as seen in many curry houses these days.
Balti curries can be stored in the fridge for up to two days or frozen for a month (defrost before reheating).
Reheat balti curry in a microwave on full power for three minutes or until piping hot throughout.
📖 Step by Step Recipe
Chicken Balti Curry - Indian Takeaway Recipe
Balti Curry Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Sunflower Oil substitute with Ghee
- 1 Onions diced
- 1 flat tbsp Garlic Puree or 6 garlic cloves crushed
- 2 teaspoon Chilli puree can use 1-2 chopped fresh chillies instead (add extra if want hot)
- 1 tablespoon Tomato Puree
- 1 tablespoon Garam Masala Can use other curry powder blends
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- ½ teaspoon Tumeric
- 1 tin Chopped Tomatoes
- ½ tablespoon Brown Sugar
- ½ Lime (juice only) or vinegar
- 350 ml ( 1 ½ cup) Cold Water
- Pinch Salt
- Handful Fresh chopped coriander leaves substitute with 1 teaspoon dried leaf coriander
Tandoori Chicken Onions & Peppers - to add to Balti Curry Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Sunflower Oil or Ghee
- 3 large Chicken Breasts cut into bitesize pieces
- 1 tablespoon Tandoori Curry Powder substitute for other curry powder blends as desired
- 1 Onion cut chunky
- 1 Red Pepper cut chunky
- 1 Green Pepper cut chunky
Balti Curry Sauce
- In a large pan, heat oil on low-medium heat add the onions and gently fry for 5 minutes.1 tablespoon Sunflower Oil, 1 Onions
- Add garlic, chilli and tomato puree, stir through with the onions for 1 minute.1 flat tablespoon Garlic Puree, 2 teaspoon Chilli puree, 1 tablespoon Tomato Puree
- Stir garam masala, turmeric and paprika into the onions.1 tablespoon Garam Masala, ½ teaspoon Tumeric, 1 teaspoon Paprika
- Add chopped tomatoes, lime juice, sugar and salt.½ tablespoon Brown Sugar, ½ Lime (juice only), Pinch Salt, 1 tin Chopped Tomatoes
- Finally, pour in water, and stir the sauce together whilst bringing it to the boil.350 ml ( 1 ½ cup) Cold Water
- Turn down heat to a simmer and leave to thicken whilst cooking the chicken. Stir occasionally.
Chicken with Peppers and Onions
- In a wok / pan on medium heat the oil. Add chicken, onions, peppers.1 tablespoon Sunflower Oil, 3 large Chicken Breasts, 1 Onion, 1 Red Pepper, 1 Green Pepper
- Stir in curry powder, cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly.1 tablespoon Tandoori Curry Powder
- Check the chicken is cooked, by cutting into a chicken piece.
- Then pour the sauce in with the chicken, peppers and onion. Stir together for about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle in a small handful of chopped coriander. Stir throughHandful Fresh chopped coriander leaves
- Dish the curry into a balti dish with another sprinkle of fresh coriander. Serve with Indian side dishes such as rice, naan bread, samosas and onion bhajis.
We hope you enjoyed this Chicken Balti Curry Recipe, please leave us a comment below letting us know how you got on with making it, and what you like to serve yours with.
More Indian recipes
If you're looking for more Indian recipes to try, then look at our prawn masala, chicken pathia, bhuna or biryani recipes for the perfect main meal. We have a wonderful tandoori chicken tikka starter recipe.
Or if you're looking for Indian side dishes to go with this Chicken balti.
Give our Pilau Rice, Onion Rice, Coconut Rice, Raita and Mango Chutney recipes a go! They are effortless to make. One more fantastic Indian recipe to try is a Masala Tea perfect way to start or end your day.