Birmingham Balti Curry
Birmingham is UK’s second largest city and by far one of the most multicultural cities in the UK. Blacks, East Asian, Asians, Africans – Birmingham has it all and proudly so. After having gone to live in Spain for a year ,the diverse range of food is what I missed the most. As an overly enthusiastic foodie, I love Iiving in big multicultural cities. It means that you get to try more exotic foods and get a taste of different cultures.
Mind you Birmingham’s Balti curries have become such a ‘staple’ in the British diet now. As such, curries are considered part of the modern British menu. (Likewise, Chinese food is also a firm Saturday night favourite for many British households.) It then comes to no surprise that the Balti curry was ‘born’ in Birmingham given it’s rich and diverse culture.
In this food episode, I head to Adil’s in Balsall Heath who claim that ‘from these premises the balti cooking method was introduced to Britain’.
How was the Balti introduced to Birmingham?
Some say that during the 1970s, Pakistani and Kashmiri immigrants brought the Balti curry in to Birmingham. Since it has become a huge success to local tastes and has now grown into a multi million restaurant industry.
Now there are over 50 balti houses in the Balti Triangle which include the areas of Sparkhill, Balsall Heath and Moseley.
So what does balti mean?
Balti refers to the rather wok like bowl its served in rather than specific ingredients or a certain cooking technique. It has origins in the word ‘balty’ in Urdu, meaning bucket. However don’t worry, by no means are you served bucket like quantities! Some say contest that this detail is irrelevant and that the balti was not born in the UK but was already invented in the Baltistan region of Pakistan.
Either way, it can’t be denied that Birmingham is the Balti Capital of the UK with it’s unique Balti Triangle. So if you need a reason to come to Birmingham, let it be this world class piece of delight.
In fact, the UK Protected Food Names Association have gone as far to fight for the protected European name status of the Balti dish, which would make it on par to Spain’s serrano ham and France’s champagne.
Have you tried Balti before? Do you think the Balti should get protected European name status?