What is the difference between a curry and a Balti ?


What is the difference between a Karahi and a Balti

What is the difference between a curry and a Balti ?

Balti is the Hindi word for the bucket. Most Balti dishes like Tarka daal, urad dal, or murgh masala are served by Indian restaurants in cast iron round-bottomed woks with two handles. Dishes with a lot of gravy, like dal tadka or karahi curry, are served in a deep bowl with handles. Balti is the name given to the utensil used to serve the curry-based dish.

A curry can be spicy, mild, sweet, sour, nutty, nut-free, creamy or flowy, tempting, saucy, or an excellent dish. Identifying the difference between the two types of curries can challenge anyone new to the curry culture. 

The traditional aromatic spicy curry is part of most South Asian cuisines and balti dishes prepared from the union of flavours - tangy, sweet, sour, spicy and creamy, loaded with regional immunity-boosting herbs, finger-licking roasted meat, chicken or vegetables,  or made into a light stew with seasonal greens, can be prepared into deeply spiced dry variant presenting amazingly delicious flavours or a hot flowy mildly spiced creamy version. 

Meat and chicken curries and tikka masala are the most popular of all served by Indian restaurants globally. In India, everyday vegetarian meals contain vegetable and lentil curries made from locally available seasonal vegetables like ridge gourd, cauliflower, capsicum, potatoes and lentils. 

These vegetable-based or lentil dishes sauteed with rich curry masala and tomato get unrecognizably fantastic and flavourful renditions favoured for heavenly, rich, and enticing flavours.   

What is Balti?

Balti is the vessel used for preparing and serving curries. It translates to bucket in English. Traditional Indian meals were prepared and served in bales or buckets. Even today, in social ceremonies or langars, foods are served in vessels that look like buckets. Some utensils are like shallow buckets with handles. In these metallic vessels, vegetables or meat are cooked with spices over high heat into a thick or thin curry, sometimes into a stir-fried variety. 

The origin of Balti curries remains controversial; it is associated with both Indian and Pakistan cuisine and Birmingham in the United Kingdom. Food enthusiasts use the term Balti to cite the mouthwatering savours in the Baltistan region. The typical Baltistan cuisine accommodates a variety of tastes to indulge your taste buds and provides a completely satisfying array of mouthwatering dishes. 

The Birmingham Balti is a fusion of Kashmiri recipes created by the city's Mirpuri community in the 1970s, and there has been a long campaign to get protection for the name status from the EU. 

The Birmingham balti is a lighter, milder, quickly cooked recipe similar to those made in India and Pakistan. Still, the recipe caters to Western tastes and is less spicy and healthier. 

What Is Curry?

The medium curry, e.g. Dopiaza, Rogan Josh, Bhuna, Balti or Karahi, are made in tomato-based curry brimming with meat, vegetable or chicken pieces, onions, ginger-garlic and peppers.   The tender chicken pieces soaked in buttery creamy marinaded mildly spiced Indian Murg Maklahni is the most ordered Indian recipe. 

Spices like cumin, garam masala, coriander, turmeric, and additional herbs are added to give the sauce a smoky, tangy flavour, a unique texture, and a smooth, velvety consistency. 

Most curries are made from a balanced blend of spices, sometimes grated coconut, cream and many chillies. For instance, curry sauces can be prepared with a marinade of Indian spices and a harmony of green chillies, raw mango powder and jaggery to get a wonderfully balanced sweet, sour, tangy, spicy version, or you can get a creamy milky nutty sauce prepared from coconut milk and crushed almonds. 

Multiple varieties and tastes are offered by lip-smacking, delicious Indian curries that are popular worldwide. Some curries are made from herbs and creams, some varieties can be prepared from ginger-garlic and tomato pastes, and others can be made from coconut milk and regional herbs. 

Some regional curries are made from raw mustard, tomato, red chillies and garlic paste. Regional roadside restaurants and dhabas in the Indian subcontinent serve numerous regional miscellaneas. 

Some curry varieties are made into stir-dry variants, roasted over traditional clay ovens or stir-fried, which may involve many spices added to the meat and simmers, resulting in a thick, flavoured sauce. For instance, Chicken tikka masala is one of the most ordered versions of any Indian takeout. It is the classic medley of an outrageously creamy sauce and aromatic herbs.

What is a Balti curry?

Balti is the term used for cast iron round-bottomed wok, also called karahi - the utensil in which the curries are cooked. To recreate the traditional Balti-style dishes, most restaurants serve in a wide-mouthed shallow or deep flat-bottomed skillet. 

Balti vs Curry -There are a variety of recipes prepared in typical Balti cuisine, which can range from spicy curries to mild, flavourful options. 

Types of Curry

Indian curries are famous globally for their unique combination of flavours, texture, colours, spices, aromas, and heat levels; the broth, which can be added as a main or side dish, gives a unique balance of spiciness and tanginess. 

The traditional stew can be made into an extra flavourful version with ginger, garlic and curry leaves, or the curry sauce can be prepared into a nutty, mildly creamy sauce, seasoned beautifully into ridiculously packed herbs and spices, something surprisingly a cinch to make.  

A curry can be korma, tikka masala, Pasanda, Balti bhuna, Dopyaza or other varieties. One of the famous curries, Rogan Josh, is a flavoursome dish made from the paste of garlic, ginger, browned onions, red peppers, tomatoes, and local chillies cooked into a rich gravy with aromatic spices like bay leaves, cloves, and cardamom. It is a signature dish of Kashmiri cuisine and part of a multi-course meal known as wazwan. 

Some popular vegetable-based and lentil curries served by popular local restaurants, like the Aloo gobi, which is loaded with potatoes and crunchy cauliflower florets cooked in spices and mango powder and Aloo-matar or Matar-paneer, are famous vegetarian dishes. The spinach lentil curry is a greeny version presenting an immensely distinctive and pleasant choice. 

Types of Curry :

Most popular curries are chicken or meat varieties; some, like kofta or korma, can be made of vegetables or lentils. The typical Dahi wala curries or kadhi varieties are made from lentils. Creamy curry can be made from yoghurt and nut pastes. In many recipes, roasted vegetables or meat pieces are dipped in creamy, saucy curries and served as Dahi wala curries that resemble the typical butter chicken. 

  • Bhindi Gosht, made in India into a dry curry instead of a saucy variety, is loaded with bone-in mutton pieces; Okra is added to the cooked mutton. It can be served with steamed rice or chapatti. 
  • The typical Madras curry is a regional variety prepared from chilli powder, strong regional spices, curry leaves, coconut milk and paste. Chicken 65 is one of the Chennai-based spiciest curries devised from deep-fried chicken pieces coated with super spicy aromatic herbs and often served as a starter or snack at get-togethers or ceremonies. 
  • The famous korma is a good entry-level curry for those who like less spicy. The pale yellow dish contains meat or vegetables cooked in yoghurt or cream; sometimes, nut paste enhances texture and taste, and then fruits are added to garnish. It is a rich dish served at family get-togethers and parties, mildly spiced or sweet, liked by all. 
  • A rich variety served at regional feasts is the Awadhi curry, which uses herbs like saffron, cardamom, kewra and glittery gold and silver foils(called vark) in garnishing and decoration.
  • The Tikka Masala uses chicken or meat pieces. Still, it can be made into a vegetarian variety with lentils and vegetables marinated in spices and dry roasted in skewers in a tandoor. Roasted pieces can be dressed in a flavoursome, creamy, tangy tomato sauce.  
  • Pasanda is a mild, sweet, spicy curry prepared from meat using regional Indian herbs, coconut milk, almonds, and cashew paste. 
  • The Jalfrezi is a curry that originated in Bengal and got its name from Jhal Porhezi. Jhal is a Bengali word. Jhalfrezi is prepared from stir-fried meat, fish or vegetable pieces. It includes a lot of green chillies and can be medium to spicy with onions, cabbage, peppers and tomatoes.  
  • A keema curry is made from chopped meat, and the typical Kolhapur curry resembles the spicy butter chicken version; it uses curry leaves, red chillies and other spicy regional herbs and tomatoes in preparation.

Is Balti Spicy?

Balti curries can be mildly spiced. Some features are common to all the balti recipes. These are cooked stir-fried over high heat with vegetable oil and not clarified butter as in most meat and vegetable dishes. The meat used in the balti recipe is lamb and chicken; some rare varieties use prawns and pork. The vegetable–based recipes contain mushrooms or fresh cottage cheese ( paneer). 

Balti vs Curry: There is no strict rule used in the preparation of Balti recipes, and ingredients and spices also vary depending on the individual's choice. There is no definitive level of spiciness; the curries can be mild to spicy; some are spicier than pasanda or korma and milder than madras chicken and Jhalfrezi. 

Restaurants use different recipes to get the typical favoured dish instead of using the traditional cooking steps. 

What Is The Closest Curry To A Balti?

Balti vs Curry: The karahi curry is related to Balti and Jhalfrezi. Karahi is the term used for the round bottom metal work used to prepare the curry. The typical Balti is served hot in the yok in which it is cooked.

What is Chicken Balti Recipe?

A typical Balti chicken is tender chicken pieces cooked in Kashmiri chilli and perfectly blended and balanced local spices. The chicken balti recipe is prepared into a spicy, tender, delicious, thick, tomato-based, saucy, tangy, flavoursome curry that contains onion, ginger and a lot of Indian ground spices like garam masala and chilli powder sauteed with tender chicken pieces that absorb all the heat and flavours of the spices, enhancing the texture and suppleness of the dish.

What Does Balti Sauce Taste Like?

The basic ingredients used to prepare the curry are garlic, onion, and chilli peppers. A balti curry is generally cooked over a high flame with spiced vegetables or fresh meat. It can be cooked with additional spices or made into a mild variety with fewer spices. The species used in the preparation of Balti are cardamom and black pepper, which have healing and warming properties. These are herbs often used to promote digestion.

Is Balti Curry Good For You?

Balti curries are suitable for you if you do not like intense-flavoured curries. The cooks use regional herbs to get a balance of all tastes. Balti cuisine brings out a distinctive, fulfilling, aromatic, hearty meal. Balti curry has a thicker, more palatable sauce than a runny sauce served in a metal bowl with handles. It is considered good for any occasion or mealtime. 

Most food lovers order steamed rice, tandoori roti or Naan with balti meat or vegetables. [Naan is a bread-like, oven-baked flatbread that can be flavoured with garlic, cheese, or sweetening ingredients.] 

People like to order poppadoms with Balti. Poppadoms are crispy, thin, roasted flatbread used as starters, sometimes served with raita, raw onions, coriander and sauces. Balti can be ordered as a main or side dish along with lentils, pakoras, bhajis, aloo mater, matar paneer, rice, roti and salads to get a comprehensive multi-flavoured regional thali meal. 

In the Himalayan region, a balti blend is served by many restaurants. Exotic Himalayan herbs are used in cooking to get surprisingly delicious curries.  

What Is The Difference Between Bhuna And Balti?

Balti is the recipe prepared in an iron pan which has handles. The wok or iron pan is called Balti. Chicken, meat or vegetables can be cooked faster in such a wok and baltis are cooked without extra cream or clarified butter (ghee).  

Balti cuisine presents multiple chicken, shrimp, vegetables, paneer, lamb and beef recipes. 

Bhuna curry is a variety that has a thicker consistency; the term is used to describe a curry with an extra layer of spices. The cooking style of the Bhuna can be more aggressive, and it is made with bold, richer and flavoured herbs. A bhuna variant can be spicier than a balti. 

A bhuna curry served by an Indian restaurant refers to the way of cooking, not the dish. So you can have a bhuna gently fried vegetable or meat. Sometimes, the vegetables and meat are cooked in spices and juices released by the meat or other raw ingredients like tomatoes, onion, ginger, garlic or green vegetables to get a super concentrated bhuna with a lusciously thick sauce that clings to the vegetable or the meat pieces.


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