Recipe Shed: Balti Chicken with Spinach and Chickpeas

I admit, I’ve gone a bit overboard with the SPICES theme to this week’s Recipe Shed. But if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth going completely over the top in the doing of it.

This is an article I wrote for the gloriously delicious Chaat magazine, showcase of the British Curry Club. You have to be a dedicated spice lover to even contemplate this, but the rewards are worth it. Oh yes.


First things first: THE BALTI WORKSHOP

The Balti Pan
The Balti frying pan is known as a karahi. It is to Balti cooking what the wok is to Chinese. The karahi is a circular two-handed, all-purpose cooking pan used for stir-frying, simmering, frying and deep-frying. Small ones are used to serve food in and serve them straight to the table. If you don’t own one, you can use a frying pan.

Make a batch of these masalas, store them in your cupboard then rustle up a Balti whenever the mood takes your fancy


Makes 200g

4 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp cumin seeds
2 x 5cm cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp fennel seeds
4 cloves
1 tbsp black onion seeds
1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp green cardamom seeds
2 dried bay leaves
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp fenugreek leaves
10 curry leaves
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp lovage seeds

2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp paprika
1-2 tsp chilli powder (to your taste)

1. Roast, cool and grind the whole spices

2. Mix well with the ground spices and store


Makes 100g

2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp aniseed
2 x 5cm cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp green cardamom seeds
4 cloves
1 tbsp dried mint leaves
4-6 bay leaves

1. Roast, cool and grind the whole spices

2. Mix well with the ground spices and store


Makes 1 litre

1 free-range chicken, about 1.8kg
5 garlic cloves, quartered
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp Balti masala spice mix (see above)
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 litre water

1. Remove the meat from the chicken and put aside for another recipe.

2. Cut the carcass into joints and put in a large lidded saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients, over with water and bring to the boil.

3. Lower the heat, put the lid on and simmer for 30 mins. Check and add more water if needed. Simmer for a further 30 mins.

4. Strain the stock. Discard the solids. Leave to cool.

5. Transfer into sterilised jars and refrigerate or freeze until you need them.

Recipe Shed

And finally, put it altogether for this sensational recipe: BALTI CHICKEN, SPINACH, CHICKPEAS AND TOMATOES

Serves 2

2 boneless, skinless free-range chicken breasts
3 tbsp Greek natural yogurt
2 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp Balti masala spice mix (see above)
4 tomatoes
200g chickpeas, (from a can), drained and rinsed
200g fresh spinach leaves
100ml Balti chicken stock (see above)
1 tbsp Balti garam masala (see above)
Salt, to taste

1. Chop the chicken into chunks and in a non-metallic bowl combine with the yogurt and 1 tbsp of Balti masala mix. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours, or overnight.

2. Heat 1 tbsp ghee or oil in a large frying pan and add the onion, then the garlic and gently cook for 8-10 mins until the onion is soft and translucent.

3. Add the Balti masala and stir for 30 secs, taking care not to burn the spices.

4. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and stock. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 mins.

5. Add the chicken and yogurt marinade, increase the heat and cook on a high heat for 15-20 mins until the sauce has reduced and thickened.

6. Add the Balti garam masala, stir, then the spinach leaves and cook for a further 5 mins until the spinach has wilted.

7. Serve with your favourite vegetable curry dish and naan bread or chapatis.

• What spicy delights would you like to share? Come on, don’t be shy…enter your recipe into the linky below.

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NEXT WEEK’S THEME: In complete contrast to the extravaganza above, next week’s Recipe Shed theme will be: LESS THAN 5 INGREDIENTS





Filed under Poultry, Recipe Shed

7 Responses to Recipe Shed: Balti Chicken with Spinach and Chickpeas

  1. Anton1a

    An absultely awesome recipe, I love the use of the karahi, the MASSIVE selection of spices and even a balti chicken stock (I have never heard of this, will definitely be trying!). Job well done, Sir :)

  2. Pingback: Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

  3. Ali

    When you say spices you mean spices. Inspired me to re-stock the spice cupboard though. Looks delicious :-) and one thing I loved to cook is a really good curry that has a wow factor this could be it! :-)

  4. Your recipe looks amazing. I think I’m going to have to give it a try this week. Love this blog. Keep up the great work.

  5. Yum! Mine’s a rather tame entry I’m afraid…. still tasty though! :) x

  6. That is getting the tastebuds tingling, Really wonderful post. Pictures help too of course.