Classic chicken balti

Classic chicken balti


20 people made this

About this recipe: I like balti curries as for me they are a blend between Chinese stir fries and Indian curries - they are not really of course! Here's my take on chicken balti. It is actually not as bad as the list looks as it is really a case of putting all the ingredients together in a wok to stir fry.

steenbergs Yorkshire, England, UK

Serves: 6 

  • For the balti tomato sauce
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 1 onion, medium sized and roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated root ginger
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 125g chopped tomatoes
  • For the stir fry
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 500g chicken, cut into 2cm cubes
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 - 2 green chillies, deseeded, halved then thinly sliced
  • 100g spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 200g button mushrooms, halved
  • 2 tablespoons chopped tomatoes
  • 100ml water
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Handful chopped coriander leaves

Prep:30min  ›  Cook:45min  ›  Ready in:1hr15min 

  1. The first stage is to make the balti tomato sauce. In a heavy bottomed pan, dry roast the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds for about 2 minutes, then take out of the pan and put on a cool plate.
  2. Now add the butter (or ghee for a richer balti) to a heavy bottomed pan and heat to sizzling hot. Add then stir fry the onion and garlic until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the fresh ginger and stir once. Add the toasted spices and the spice powders (chilli and turmeric) and stir these in, turning for about half a minute, making sure it does not stick to the pan. Finally add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. Blitz this tomato sauce either with a hand held blender or take out and pulse in a Magimix until smooth. Return to the pan and keep on a very low heat with the lid on.
  4. Now we come to the second stage which is the stir fry and the bringing together of the balti.
  5. Preheat the oven to 100 C / Gas 1/4.
  6. Add half of the sunflower oil to a wok and heat until smoking hot. Stir fry the chicken cubes in batches until sealed. Put the cooked chicken pieces into the warmed oven. When complete, clean the wok.
  7. While frying the chicken, measure out and mix the ground spices together (the cumin powder through to cardamom powder).
  8. Add the remainder of the sunflower oil to the wok and heat until hot and smoking. Add the red and green peppers, green chilli, spring onions and button mushrooms and stir fry for 4 – 5 minutes, stirring constantly, making sure it does not burn and is fried well.
  9. Tip in the mixed spices and stir through twice, then add the smooth Balti tomato sauce and mix in, plus the tablespoons of chopped tomatoes.
  10. Heat until simmering, then add the water and reheat to a simmer, mixing all together. Cook on a gentle simmer for 15 minutes.
  11. Add the cooked chicken pieces and mix together. Add the garam masala. Cook for a further 10 minutes. About 2 minutes before the end add the chopped fresh coriander and stir through.
  12. Serve hot with naan, plus we like dhal with it.


You can cut down the individual spices and use 2 teaspoons of balti spice mix in stages 1 and 2, and 2 teaspoons in stage 8.

See it on my blog

Axel Steenberg's Blog On Chicken Balti

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Reviews (2)


Nice dish, but it needs some salt, I added also more garlic and chilli. - 02 May 2016


first time ive made a curry from stratch and it tasted amazing - 27 Mar 2013

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