The History of Balti
Balti was introduced in Birmingham in the nineteen seventies by a Pakistan restauranteur (the owner of Adil now sadly closed located in the Balti Triangle). He wanted to attract more western custom to his cafe style restaurant as well as his mainly Pakistani/Kashmiri customers.
As a consequence he devised a dish which was cooked and served in the same receptacle, as was often the usual custom in northern Pakistan but uniquely the ‘balti’ was fast cooked and used vegetable oil not ghee. To achieve this aim, he joined up with a small Birmingham press forming manufacturer and designed a thin pressed steel flat bottomed bowl which would heat up quickly. This is now known as the balti.
The spices used in a balti vary from chef to chef but have core ingredients commonly used in all curries so it is the fast cooking in vegetable oil and cooking and serving in the actual balti pan which makes this dish unique.
A recent study by food analysists showed that a properly prepared balti contains unique flavour and health properties. This includes the caramelisation that takes place in the bowl over a high heat and the increased levels of iron (the most important element needed by the human body!) and less fat.
For a more in-depth history plus all things balti related, visit the Balti Birmingham website.