The Balti Debate


The new Midlands Art Centre (MAC) held a debate on the beginnings of Balti with Andy Munro, Tom Baker (‘my perfectbalti‘ and still searching for the perfect naan!) and Aftab Rehman from The Mint Restaurant in Yardley. Whilst the end result of the debate supported the view that balti is a Brummie invention..the jury is still out on the origin of the name.
The latest theory (probably no more extreme than saying baltis come from Baltistan) is that in past times in Pakistan, there was a tax on ‘karahi’ meat due to pressure from vegetarians – to get round this traders renamed their pot cooked dishes ‘baltimeat’.  On hearing this theory, somebody in the audience said that at weddings, because of mass catering, meat was prepared in large buckets and because of this was called balti (bucket) meat…the name we know today was pinched from that usage.

The former is a great story but I reckon the latter is the more likely!