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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Balti.....if you can't travel to the Balti Mile then you can make it yourself!

Balti is a curry well known in Birmingham, England. This spicy savory dish is scooped up using Naan Bread and rice is not served with it. Although Balti and Naan Bread are regionally from India, Birmingham is famous for making the best.

2lb Boned Lamb, beef or chicken, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 onions chopped
3 tblsp Vegetable Oil
2 small Tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp. Balti Mix (if you can't find this the recipe follows)
2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 green Pepper, seeded and chopped
1-1 inch cube fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 tsp Chili powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Fry the onions in the oil in a flameproof casserole until translucent.
Add all other ingredients except the meat, and 1/2 pint of water.
Bring to a boil; then add meat

Put the casserole in the oven and braise the meat for 45 minutes, checking every 10 minutes to give it a stir and make sure there's enough water.
When the meat is tender on the outside but still a little pink inside, take the meat out with a slotted spoon. Let the contents of the casserole cool a ltitle. Then empty the contents (without the meat) into a blender or food processor and liquidize.
This becomes your basic balti sauce, and should be the consistency of thick soup. Add the meat back to the sauce and continue cooking in the oven until tender. About 30 minutes longer.
Serve with Naan Bread.

Balti Mix recipe
4 tblsp (60 ml) coriander seeds
2 tblsp (30 ml) White cumin seeds
2 pieces cassia bark, (2 inch)
1 tsp (5 ml) fennel seeds
2 tsp (10 ml) black mustard seeds
4 whole cloves
1/2 tsp (2 ml) wild onion seeds
1/2 tsp (2 ml) fenugreek seeds
1 tsp (5 ml) dry fenugreek leaves
10 dry curry leaves
1 tsp (5 ml) Green cardamom seeds
1/2 tsp (2 ml) lovage seeds
Roast, cool and grind the whole spices
Mix with the ground ones, and store tightly covered

Naan Bread
2 tblsp Warm water (110 degrees F)
1 tsp. white sugar
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm milk
1/4 cup plain yogurt, room temperature
1/4 cup margarine, melted
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp poppy seeds (optional)

Put warm water in a small bowl, add sugar and yeast and stir until dissolved. Set aside for 5-10 minutes or until it foams. Blend in the warm milk, yogurt and melted margarine. In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder and poppy seeds. Pour in the yeast/milk mixture all at once and work it into the flour, using your hands. Continue mixing, adding flour or water as needed, until the mixture leaves the sides of the bowl. Knead for 6-8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth and let stand in a warm place to rise for about 4 hours or until doubled in volume.
Preheat oven to 550 degrees F (285 degrees C) or your oven's highest setting and set a rack in the lower third of the oven. Place a large pizza pan or iron griddle on the rack and preheat. Also preheat the broiler. Punch the dough down and knead briefly. Divide into 6 pieces and shape them into balls. Place them on the oiled plate and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let balls rest for 10-15 minutes. Roll out and stretch each ball until it is about 10 inches long and 5 inches wide. Remove the pizza pan from the oven, brush with oil and place one of the pieces of bread on it. Bake at 550 degrees F for about 4-5 minutes until bread is puffed and has brown spots, then transfer to a wire rack, returning pizza pan to oven to keep hot. Place bread under broiler until "charcoal" dots appear on the surface. Wrap finished bread in a towel while baking the remaining loaves. (If your pizza pan is beg enough, try baking two loaves at a time.

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