Our inaugural foray into curry was recently marked by a triad of Baltis…or rather, attempts at Balti. However, much was learned in those first couple of weeks, despite the fact that Miss Curry has never had the pleasure of experiencing a real Balti.
Please don’t scoff. The truth is, the Balti just isn’t as known here in the States as it is in other areas. In fact, we highly doubt that it could be found in a public establishment outside of New York, and have it on good authority that it is even difficult to find there. Although surely there is a Balti pot bubbling somewhere in the States, the dish is usually found in British “Balti houses”, specifically in the city of Birmingham, where it is said to have been created- see The Balti Triangle, Birmingham.
According to the Wikipedia article on Balti (very scientific, we know,) it is named after the Urdu word Balty, meaning bucket. This refers to the large, cast-iron pot that each Balti is cooked and subsequently served in. The curry is meant to be steaming hot with a soupy consistency, and is known to be extremely spicy. Miss Curry tried to recreate this classic dish, with varying results, but finally achieved what may or may not be considered a “proper Balti”…although it was definitely a delicious one (details and recipe to come!)