Flavours of History … but maybe not Balti

Peter and Colleen Grove have been legendary amongst the curry cognoscenti for many years with their curry guides and their National Curry Week which has raised thousands for charity. Although I think that Peter may sadly be no longer with us, their legacy lives on so I enjoyed reading  their ‘Flavours of History’ book  However, without trying to sound curmudgeonly, their piece on balti started off on the wrong foot with a picture of a heavy duty cast iron karahi and not the familiar pressed steel ‘balti’. In fairness, it was still an entertaining piece expounding a couple of amusing if incorrect theories about the derivation of the word.  These were ‘balti originated from Indian soldiers who wore tin hats in the World Wars and would heat whatever food was available on the move in the cup shaped headgear.’ More Blackadder and Baldrick than Balti! Just as bizarre was the theory ‘that the word comes from the Indian for ‘hubcap’ since Indian truckers would cook their Balti in a hubcap’ … apparently Lloyd Grossman’s theory … shame on you Lloyd! Still the book was a great read with a large and very informative section on the properties of various herbs and spices. Definitely worth more than a glance …

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