I have a small, almost pocket sized Indian cookbook that I have used many times to make some Indian dishes for my partner and myself. This Balti Chicken recipe is one that I have made a few times a few different ways. I usually wouldn’t follow the recipe like I did last night, as the chicken seems to remain more succulent if it is added first with the onions and spices.
I found with adding in the chicken almost at the end of the process causes the chicken to be boiled within the spices and yoghurt rather than seared through shallow frying. While this probably adds to the flavour, as the spices have more time to develop, I did really miss the seared, crispy look you get from pan-frying the chicken before adding the yoghurt and tomatoes.
The colour of this meal left a lot to be desired. This recipe doesn’t use too many spices, and definitely not the very pigmented spices such as tumeric. The spice paste came out a very pale orangey-red, but did have a lot of kick to it. I did halve the ground chilli measure and also added in twice as much yoghurt as I wanted a good sauce to develop that would soak into the white rice we had the meal with. Basically, the colour of the dish did not at all resemble what was depicted in the photo next to the recipe.
I would recommend this recipe as I have made it time and again as it is easy, you can change the way you carry out the recipe, but as long as you use the same flavours it will turn out very similar in the end. I want to try Jamie Oliver’s Balti Chicken and see how this compares. So maybe that will be one for next week, as a sort of kitchen science experiment.
I have been unable to find a stockist of this cookbook.
- 3 T ghee or vegetable oil
- 2 large onions, sliced
- 3 tomatoes, sliced
- 1/2 t kalonji seeds
- 4 black peppercorns
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 t chilli powder
- 1 t garam masala
- 2 t garlic and ginger paste
- 700 g/1 lb 9 oz skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, diced
- 2 T natural yogurt
- 2 T chopped fresh coriander, plus extra sprigs to garnish
- 2 fresh green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
- 2 T lime juice
1 Heat the ghee in a large heavy-based frying pan. Add the onions and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until golden. Add the tomatoes, kalonji seeds, peppercorns, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, chilli powder, garam masala, and garlic and ginger paste, and season to taste with salt. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes.
2 Add the chicken and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, or until well coated in the spice paste. Stir in the yogurt. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
3 Stir in the chopped coriander, chillies and lime juice. Transfer to a warmed services dish, garnish with coriander sprigs and serve immediately.