I am often asked about my favourite baltis . I reckon that in the last 40 odd years I’ve had well over 2,000 so I’ve put together my perfect menu along with recipes.
Kirrans Spiced Fish
Kirran was a small homely restaurant run by a lovely old fella called Abdul Hafeez and it’s undoubtedly the best fish starter that I’ve ever tasted!
- 340 grams of silver hake skinned, boned and chunked
- half tbs of ground ginger
- half tbs of garlic powder
- 225 ml of plain yoghourt
- half tbs of chillipowder
- one tsp of salt
- one tbs of ground coriander
- five tbs of veg oil for frying.
Put fish chunks in a bowl and sprinkle the ginger and garlic powder over them. Toss the pieces to get even coverage pour on yoghourt then stir. Add chilli powder, salt and coriander and stir again. Cover with cling film and leave overnight or at least for a couple of hours. Heat oil in frying pan on a moderate flame and then fry the marinated fish for around five minutes for each side and serve, if desired with a dip of your choice.
Royal Naim Chicken Masala Balti
To be honest, the Royal Naim, now sadly closed, was my all time favourite so below is a recipe that needs the ingredients splitting into two for the main balti (not the sauce) and cooked individually.
Ingredients (base sauce)
Makes around 750ml
- 3 tbs of vegetable oil
- 4 chopped onions
- 1 small piece of peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 1 large crushed garlic clove
- half tsp of turmeric
- 1 tsp paprika
- half tsp of ground coriander
- half tsp of chilli powder
- 1 chopped tomato
- 1 tsp of garam masala
- 1 tsp salt.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a moderate heat and fry the chopped onions with ginger and garlic until the onions are transluscent. Add tomato and stir fry, breaking it up with a spoon. Pour in 300 ml of water and stir in all the other ingredients. Bring to the boil then cover with a lid and simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes. Remove, allow to cool then pour into a blender and liquidise.
Ingredients (Enough for Two Main Baltis)
- 2 large skinned and boned chicken breasts
- 4 tbs of vegetable oil
- 2 chopped onions
- 2 chopped tomatoes
- 2 chopped fresh green chillies
- half tbs each of ground turmeric
- ground cumin and ground coriander
- 1 tsp of salt
- 2cm of peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 4 crushed garlic cloves
- 2 ladles of balti sauc
- 1 tsp of garam masala
- 1 tsp of dried fenugreek
- 300 ml of plain yoghourt
- two palmfuls of chopped fresh coriander.
(Note: Split the above ingredients 50:50 for each balti)
Heat the oil in the balti pan over a moderately high heat and fry the onion until tender. Add the tomato and fry until it is soft and pulpy breaking up with a spoon. Put in I tablespoon of water and add the chilli, turmeric, cumin, ground coriander and salt. Stir well and put in the ginger, garlic, chopped coriander and chicken and stir for up to ten minutes. Add the balti sauce, garam masala and fenugreek. Put in the yoghourt gradually stirring as you go and then simmer on a low heat for up to eight minutes or until the chicken is tender. Serve with chopped coriander as a garnish on top.
I always like something a bit unusual so this is worth giving a go for some colourful naan dipping.
Ingredients (Makes two large rotis)
- 1 tbsp of green masala paste
- 1 tbs of chopped spinach leaf (optional)
- 2 tbs chopped fresh mint
- 1 tsp of salt, 1 fresh chopped chilli
- 2 tbs of fresh chopped coriander
- 450 grm of wholemeal flour.
Put tossed ingredients into a blender adding enough water to achieve a pourable puree. In a large bowl put in the flour and add the green puree. Add lukewarm water gradually and work it into a lump. Remove and knead it on a floured board. Return it to the bowl and leave for 15 minutes then knead it once more. Divide into two lumps then roll each ball into a thin disc of circa 25 cms each. Heat a flat pan and when at full heat, place one of the rotis on it and dry fry until it becomes brown (1 or 2 minutes). Press down carefully, maybe with the bottom of a spoon or spatula, and make sure that you cook both sides.
I love a sweet Lassi and I had this Chikoo variety in India. Chikoo is an Indian fruit which looks like a cross between a Kiwi fruit and a Potato. It has a very understated brown and grainy flesh but when caught ripe is delicious.
Ingredients: (makes two drinks)
- 5 peeled, stoned and pureed chikoos
- 75 gram of caster sugar
- 450 grammes of whole milk natural yoghourt
- 45 ml of rose water.
Put all the ingredients into a blender with one pint of water and blend before chilling ready to serve’