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Saturday 22 July 2017

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Birmingham’s Balti Triangle of Tastiness

A "fake" Balti - not from Birmingham!

Unlike the Bermuda Triangle – where getting lost is bad news – the so-called Balti-Birmingham triangle is a great place to get lost in the city’s surprising signature cuisine

Serving Suggestion

A fun fact is that this Asian-style curry dish has a very good chance of being invented in the English Midlands. Counter claims put the origin in the northern Pakistani region of Baltistan. Either way, Birmingham is a hot-bed for sampling this spicy dish – and the dish itself is the reason for the name, with the metal bowl, similar to a wok, called the balti bowl. The Birmingham Balti Association has applied to give the term “Birmingham Balti” protected status as a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed product (TSG), meaning chefs would need to cook specific fresh ingredients in the same utensil as that in which the curry is served the Balti itself.

In a recent visit to Bath I ordered a Balti in order to take an original photo for this post and sure enough, delicious though the curry was, the geographic constraints meant that the serving was not in a Birmingham bowl (see the main image above – the “fake” Balti is on the right).

Specific, Yet Flexible Recipe

In terms of the recipe flavouring itself, garlic, ginger and fresh coriander often feature prominently and a naan bread is essential as the utensil for enjoying the curry – often shared by the whole table (wash your hands!).

As with many other curry-style dishes, once you have the sauce perfected, the “main” ingredients can be quite varied – allowing for a choice of meat or vegetarian options.

Finding a House

If you follow your nose to the middle of the Ladypool Road, Stoney Lane and Stratford Road areas of the Midlands city, then you’d be well on your way to being lost in the triangle, which serves parts of the Sparkbrook, Sparkhill and Balsall Heath regions. Once here, you are not far from a great selection Balti Houses – not restaurants; another specific requirement to being authentically Birmingham.

With so many recipes, I couldn’t select one, so here is a video to watch while you enjoy your favourite – maybe back in your hotel with a take-away!

Video courtesy of Balti Birmingham

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