A delicious classic curry that’s really easy to make and irresistibly tasty, lamb balti is a must for lovers of Indian cuisine.
It’s one of the most popular curries out there – and for good reason. Succulent lamb, onion, garlic, tomatoes and select spices, all cooked fast and hot. The results are spectacular.
Why you’ll love this lamb balti recipe
- The slow cooked lamb is tender and delicious
- Subtle spices perfectly complement the meat
- It’s a fairly simple curry to make
- It’s a versatile dish that you can tweak to your tastes
What to serve with this lamb balti
- Steamed rice – the best side dish for any curry
- Chutneys – papaya chutney is the perfect accompaniment to a lamb balti. The papaya pairs really well with the richness of the lamb. Any other kind of fruity chutney will do.
- Gluten free puri – this homemade bread is really easy to make and is an ideal side for mopping up the delicious balti juice
- Kashmiri naan – nutty and subtly sweet, kashmiri naan is ideal with afternoon tea, but goes equally well as a side for savoury dishes
- Peshwari naan – a classic Indian naan bread, peshwari naan is a simple, tasty homemade bread recipe that works perfectly with a lamb balti
I recommend pairing this curry with an Argentinian Malbec, German Riesling or a Sauvignon Blanc.
Variations to this recipe
- Vary the meat by using diced chicken or beef instead of lamb.
- Use different vegetables such as aubergines and courgette, in place of or in addition to the peppers.
- Make it vegetarian by omitting the meat and using vegetables.
- Make it spicier by leaving out the yoghurt and adding another red chilli.
- Add tamarind paste for a sour, citrusy flavour.
- Add mustard seeds for more heat
- Make the curry milder by leaving out the fresh chillies and adding more yoghurt.
Don’t be afraid to brown the lamb pieces on a high heat. You’ll get a fantastic flavour!
What is balti?
A balti – otherwise known as a bāltī gosht – is a type of dish where chunks of marinated meat are cooked on a high heat for a smokey, spicy flavour. The meat is then slow cooked together with sliced onion, finely chopped garlic, chopped tomatoes and spices, until tender and delicious. Coriander is added as a fragrant garnish.
Authentic balti curries tend to have less sauce than other curries, but in this easy lamb balti I've created a slightly more saucy version of this popular dish. I've also toned down the spices with the addition of natural yoghurt, making it easier for those who don’t like so much heat.
Traditionally baltis are eaten from stainless steel balti bowls, with naan bread on the side (garlic or peshwari usually). which are used to scoop up the meat and vegetables from the bowl! I also like to serve this lamb balti with pilau rice, mango chutney and raita too.
Where does balti come from?
Surprisingly, the first balti curries were cooked in Birmingham!
In the 1970s, new Pakistani restaurants were opening up all over the UK, with many of the best of them in the Midlands area. Some restaurants were experimenting with recipes and adapting traditional Pakistani dishes to cater for Western palettes.
How spicy is balti?
Balti is generally a medium spiced curry – a 4 or 5 on a scale of 10. Of course, the heat can be tweaked by adding a teaspoon or two of chilli powder, depending on personal preference.
How do you make the lamb tender?
The secret to making lamb tender in a lamb balti is to first brown it on a very high heat, before cooking in a sauce on a lower heat.
How do you store lamb balti?
The lamb balti can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored in the fridge. The flavours develop over time, so I often make this the day before I'm serving it to maximise the flavour.
Can you freeze lamb balti?
Leftovers can be frozen for up to 3 months in a freezer safe container. Defrost the balti in the fridge overnight before reheating in a saucepan or in the microwave.
Can you substitute lamb for a different meat?
You can, but I recommend using lamb for this recipe, as the rich earthy flavour goes so well with the spices.
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