Balti Chicken

Balti Chicken (Shababs Recipe) 

This is the Chicken Balti recipe as demonstrated to me by Zaf Hussain at Shababs restaurant in the Birmingham Balti Triangle.

Please read this article about cooking Balti before attempting the dish.

There’s something refreshingly unique about a genuine Birmingham Balti. Strictly speaking, to be qualified as such, it must be cooked in an authentic thin pressed steel balti bowl on a high flame and served in it also.

Thanks to Andy Lees for his input, support, and for testing the recipe out.

Serves 1. 


  • 3 TBSP Oil (45ml)
  • 50g Chopped Onion (about a third of a medium one)
  • ¼ Green Pepper, chopped (from a medium sized one)
  • 1 Green Chilli, whole or chopped
  • 3 Garlic cloves, chopped
  • ¾ of a medium Tomato, chopped into small chunks
  • 150-175g Fresh Chicken thigh or breast, chopped into small pieces
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • ¾ tsp Turmeric
  • ½-1 tsp Chilli Powder (or to taste)
  • 300ml Balti Base Gravy (see Notes)
  • 2 tsp Kasuri Methi
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • ¼ tsp Garam Masala
  • Fresh coriander to finish
Balti Bowls at Shababs Restaurant, Birmingham
Balti Chicken


  1. Heat the pan/korai/balti bowl on full for a minute then add the oil. Stir the oil around a bit to coat the surface.
  2. Add the onion, green pepper, and the green chilli. Wait 10 seconds then stir in the garlic.
  3. Leave to fry for 15 seconds then add the tomato chunks, paprika, chilli powder, and turmeric. Stir together.
  4. After a further 15 seconds add the raw chicken. Coat the chicken and fry for a minute, stirring frequently.
  5. Then add 75ml of base gravy and mix it in.
  6. Leave to cook for 30-45 seconds, then mix in the kasuri methi, cumin powder, and garam masala.


  1. Add a second 75ml of base gravy, stir, then leave to cook for another 30-45 seconds, or until thickened.
  2. Repeat the step above two more times, thereby adding another 150ml of base gravy in two lots.
  3. Add a generous sprinkle of finely chopped fresh coriander stir, then cook for a further 15 seconds or until thick.
  4. An extra charred effect can be had by using a blow torch around the edges before serving.
  5. If you’ve been cooking in a korai or balti bowl, serve it in it.
  6. Enjoy with naan or chapati.


  • The balti is best cooked with a dedicated Balti Base Gravy. You can use any base gravy to make this recipe, but if you do, consider adding an extra ¼ tsp garam masala when making the curry.
  • All spoon measurements are level (1 tsp = 5ml, 1 TBSP = 15ml).
  • Keep the heat on full while cooking the balti, and stir only when necessary, for example to stir in new ingredients when added.
  • Cook for as long as required to get a lot of caramelisation around the cooking vessel.
Watch the Video

Books by Richard Sayce

Indian Restaurant Curry at Home Volume 1
Indian Restaurant Curry at Home Volume 2 Front Cover
Curry Compendium Cookbook


  1. BenzieTed

    This video started me down a fun road. Bought the Balti bowls from the UK, have all of the raw spices and ingredients on hand. I’m ready!

    Would love a Garam Masala recipe that matched up with the rest of the recipe so that’s it’s authentic.

  2. richnvicks

    Great recipe Misty, try and get to feature Royal Adeels in Brierley Hill on your travels if you can, it’s been there years mate and their shredded chicken madras balti is well, something simply exquisite. It’s a proper Bham Balti too.

    I use quite a bit less spice than what’s noted here and find it much more balanced flavour profile and sometimes use lamb for that extra sweetness.

    Keep up the good work! 👍🏻

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