Chilli chicken balti

Chilli chicken balti

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  • 15 g fresh root ginger
  • 6 fat garlic cloves
  • 2 largish tomatoes, quartered
  • 1½ tsp garam masala
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp paprika, for colour
  • 1 rounded tbsp full-fat yogurt
  • Salt, to taste
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ¾ tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6–10 green chillies, whole but pierced
  • 500 g boneless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
  • Large handful of finely chopped fresh coriander leaves and stems


  1. Blend together the ginger, garlic and tomatoes until smooth. Stir in the ground spices, yogurt and three quarter teaspoon of salt.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they have popped.
  3. Add the bay leaf, onion and green chillies and cook over a moderate flame, stirring often, for six to eight minutes, until the onions are well browned.
  4. Add the blended ingredients and cook on a high flame, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and most of the excess liquid in the pan has evaporated. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the paste releases oil.
  5. Add the chicken and stir it in the thick masala for a few minutes. Add enough water to come halfway up the chicken. Bring back to a boil and cook for seven minutes.
  6. Increase the heat and toss the chicken in the sauce for another five minutes; the sauce will reduce to a lovely creamy consistency.
  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking, adding lots of black pepper and a little lemon juice if your sauce is not tart enough. Stir in the chopped coriander and serve.