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Authentic Chicken Balti

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This chicken balti recipe will get you restaurant quality results.

I first learned to make chicken Balti at a restaurant called Shababs in Birmingham’s Balti Triangle.

This is the recipe I learned that day and it is the chicken Balti I make most often and also teach at my cookery classes. 

It’s the real deal unlike so many chicken Balti recipes out there.  

chicken balti

Chicken balti cooked in an authentic stainless steel balti bowl.

One of the key ingredients in a true chicken Balti is the Balti bowl itself.

You can cook this chicken balti in any pan and it will still be delicious. 

That said, part of going out for a balti is experiencing having your curry served to you sizzling hot in the same balti bowl it was cooked in.

I recommend picking up a couple of Balti bowls if you want that experience. They aren’t expensive and can be purchased right here from the Birmingham Balti Bowl Company. 

I am not affiliated with them but highly recommend their product. 

Use a real Balti bowl to cook this chicken Balti and you will love being able to experience an authentic Balti at home.


Most chicken Baltis served at restaurants are not actually Baltis.

Unfortunately, these days most Baltis are not cooked the way they should be.

They are still delicious but the presentation is all wrong. Most chefs cook their Baltis in a regular frying pan and then serve the curry in an ornamental Balti pan.

As I said above, you could do this too. But just think about that sizzling hot chicken Balti you could be dining from if you use a real stainless steel Balti bowl.

How I got to know Balti…

Andy Munro is one of the leading experts on all things Balti. You can read more about him and the Birmingham balti scene right here.

I met up with Andy recently and he showed me his Birmingham, Balti Birmingham.

We visited all of his favourite Balti restaurants and Shababs was one of them. That opened my eyes to the real thing. A good chicken Balti is a work of art.

Make it as it should be and you will be in Balti heaven!

The base sauce

The slow cooked base curry sauce is another of the most important ingredients in a true chicken Balti. It’s easy to make and one of my recipes is here.

My site features many recipes that call for the base curry house style sauce. 

The smooth base is one of the things that makes a British curry, British. If you want that famous flavour and texture, you’ve got to make the base!

Can I make a Balti without making the base sauce?

Yes and no. In order to get a Balti right, the base sauce must be used. You can still make a delicious curry without it as I show in my chicken Balti from scratch recipe here. 

chicken balti

Baltis should be quite thick when served. Perfect for soaking up with hot naans.

Pre-cooked meat

Another important ingredient in an authentic chicken Balti is pre-cooked chicken. 

In my chicken Balti from scratch recipe I cooked the chicken from raw. It works but adding pre-cooked chicken such as my tandoori chicken or stewed chicken will get you superior results.

Cooking the chicken first adds another layer of delicious flavour. 

The tandoori method gives an amazing flavour of smoky, marinated and grilled chicken. The meat juices can also be added to the sauce.

The stewed chicken option offers succulently cooked chicken with lots of sauce you can add with your base sauce. 

chicken balti finished

Here I used tandoori chicken in my Balti. It was amazing!

Finished Balti

Dig in!

If you like this chicken Balti recipe, you might like to try some of these favourites too…

Chicken Balti from Scratch
Aubergine Balti
Balti Dhal Fry

Yield: 1 - 2


Finished Balti
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes



  1. Heat the ghee or oil in a large frying pan or balti pan over high heat.
  2. Toss in the chopped onion and allow to fry for about 3 minutes or until the onion is beginning to turn soft and translucent.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and stir to combine. About 30 seconds should do the job. You just want to cook off the rawness.
  4. Spoon in the tandoori masala and curry powder.
  5. Now add the green chillies, bell peppers, chopped tomatoes and tomato puree. Give this all a good stir to combine.
  6. Add about half of the base curry sauce and bring to a simmer.
  7. Throw in the chicken pieces and top as needed with more base sauce. Remember, Baltis are quite dry curries so don't add too much. If you do, you could always cook it down.
  8. Simmer for about 8 minutes or until the chicken is heated through. Stir in more base sauce as needed.
  9. Add the cider vinegar and simmer for another minute.
  10. Just before serving, sprinkle the coriander into the curry and season with salt and pepper to taste and then add the lime juice.

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I hope you enjoy this chicken Balti recipe. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.


Tuesday 7th of May 2024

Hi, Why is this recipe so different to your Youtube Balti? Thanjs

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 14th of May 2024

My recipes have changed or been updated over the years. Some of the YouTube recipes are quite old but still work. The ones on the blog have generally had some tweaks so may be slightly improved. Thanks Dan

Mark B

Monday 22nd of April 2024

I just wanted to say 'Thank You' Dan. I make a lot of scratch curries and whilst they are quite nice, they always seem to be lacking something that I just can't put my finger on. This is how I found your site, by searching for that missing something.

I was reluctant to go to the lengths of making the base sauce, AND mixed powder, AND Madras curry powder AND the tandoori chicken, it all seemed a bit of a mission - however in the end I had to try it and I'm glad I did. I'm not sure which step made the most difference, but it was absolutely delicious - I'm converted - thank you so much.

Dan Toombs

Thursday 25th of April 2024

Thank you so much, I’m glad you enjoy the recipe. Dan

Craig Currie

Monday 25th of March 2024

How much base gravy did you use for 2 people??

Dan Toombs

Saturday 30th of March 2024

Use around 200 ml but more if you like a saucy consistency or less if you prefer it a bit drier. The exact amount to use isn’t an exact science so make it to your own taste. Thanks Dan


Tuesday 10th of October 2023

Hi. Is it really 2 table spoons of tandoori masala?

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 17th of October 2023

Yes, thanks for checking but that amount is correct in that recipe. Obviously reduce it a bit and add to taste if you feel it’s too much. Thanks Dan


Sunday 26th of September 2021

To add to my comment:-

What i find is important is the timing of adding salt/cider vinegar/lime

Imo this must be fone very near the end and not cook out these key flavours.

When done right Balti is a fantastic dish and soo underrated.

Obviously Birmingham is the best place for a Balti.

But tbh the Best Balti i ever had was a restaaurant named:-

Monihar Plumstead High St London SE18

Its no longer there - but incredible chef.

I would really like to locate that chef as imo he is one of the BEST BIR CHEFS i have come across.

Dan Thanks again for a great BIR recipe

Dan Toombs

Friday 1st of October 2021

Agreed and yes Birmingham baltis are amazing. Thanks very much. Dan

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