What's the difference between Balti and Bhuna ?


What's the difference between Balti and Bhuna

What's the difference between Balti and Bhuna ?

Dal Balti and chicken bhuna are often found on the menus of Indian restaurants. English translation of Balti is a bucket, and Bhuna is fried. If you order a Balti dish – it means a curry stir-fried in plenty of spices and herbs, served with cilantro leaves. 

Dal makhani, Tarka daal, Karahi curry and Dal Makhani are commonly served as Balti.  It is the best option for people who want to have a satisfying main course meal and is often served with rice or roti (or chapati).

Recipes with vegetables or meat (or chicken) can be dry fried with bhuna masala. Bhuna Gosht refers to mutton marinated in herbs and aromatic spices, dry-fried with onions and tomato paste.

Food is a way of life, part of the culture, and keeping it varied provides multiple nutrients that improve your health and metabolism. Each preparation represents the diversity in history, tradition, agricultural practices and eating habits. Indian foods are known for curries, considered a favourite of many worldwide. Some special varieties of curries, like Karahi and Balti or bucket, are named after the serving bowl. 

In reality, you can choose from hundreds of Indian dishes, and many restaurants in the UK capital city offer a fusion cuisine where you get an evolved version of the traditional recipe offering a brand new taste yet having a combination of traditional savours. Most Indian Balti or Bhuna are tomato-based curries, jalfrezi, rogan josh, madras style or tandoori variation. 

One can even get a healthier variant of stir-frying or grilling, like  Fisk tikka and chicken tikka. Both balti and bhuna curries provide complete, satisfying, relishing meals suitable for weekend dinner parties or formal meetings, often served with Biriyani, chapati and salads.

What Is Chicken Balti?

Some believe the word Balti curry means the bucket chicken curry, which is British and not Indian. Balti dishes are a fusion of various Indian curries though a typical Birmingham Balti is considered lighter and faster to cook than the recipes made in India and Pakistan. Even the tikka masala, rogan josh, tandoori and korma can be cooked in the balti style. 

One of the common styles of preparation of all chicken balti dishes is stir fry on high heat, where you may use vegetable oil instead of ghee. On the other hand, you can cook chicken on slow heat with onion, garlic, spices mix, turmeric and aromatic herbs.

If you are preparing a vegetable-meat Balti, in that case, you cook the veggies and meat to get a unique medley where meat and vegetables, onions, spinach, potatoes and mushrooms are cooked quickly over high heat, like stir fry and then made into a soupy, less oily meal. 

Vegetarian balties recipes are prepared from different veggies, lentils, paneer, and sometimes mushroom instead of meat or chicken. 

What Is Chicken Bhuna?

Bhuna chicken curry can be one of the curries having an extra layer of spices so that Bhuna curries can be bolder and not mild, and the taste can be richer and spicier. Most curries are eaten with Biriyani or chapati, and Biriyani is made from aromatic basmati rice, meat, herbs and yoghurt. 

Bhuna is about frying as meat is cooked in the juices of the meat pieces, and you do not add water; instead, you can add cream or butter to get a thick, intensely flavoured sauce often served with green peppers and sliced onions. One of the similar variations is Bhindi Ghost which is a drier variant. 

Chicken Bhuna resembles the Pasanda, derived from the Mughal Emperors' court dish. The word Pasand means favourite, used for the prime cut meat in traditional preparation. The modern Pasanda is a pale yellow curry made from cream, coconut milk, cashew, or almond paste, and it can be made into a vegetarian variety with vegetables instead of chicken or meat curries. 

What Is Bhuna Curry?

To make Bhuna curry, you need to use lamb or chicken, where the raw meat is marinated overnight in a blend of spices and then cooked with added flavours, sometimes with beans and tomatoes. 

Subsequently, the dish is garnished with fresh ginger, garlic and onions, and in the final step, a mixture of fresh herbs and spices is added to the dish. 

To get the best vegetable or meat bhuna flavours, you must allow enough time to cook the vegetables or meat slowly. 

Chicken Balti Bhuna

Chicken balti bhuna is an incredible formula from intense, well-spiced, moderately heat-warming, flavourful components. Chicken Bhuna served in a steel vessel, is often named Chicken Balti Bhuna.

Birmingham Balti houses often take credit for the word Balti, and the meat used in typical Balti is lamb, but you can also get pork and prawns in some Balti recipes. 

Many Balti houses offer exhaustive Chicken Bhuna Balti recipes with comparable cooking procedures offering thick, rich tomato, saucy less oily versions of curry offering a tangy edgy flavour to excite your tastebuds and satisfy your appetite. 

Such recipes are made from a combination of chicken, red pepper, or fresh peas cooked with chicken or prawns. Eateries even offer Guinea Fowl Balti or Chicken with kale or spinach. 

How Hot Is A Balti?

Bhuna and Balti come under medium spiced preparations like dopiaza, rogan josh and Karahi, and Bhuna is a dry variant compared to Balti. On the other hand, Rogan Josh and Bhuna are similar in many ways as they are both prepared with many tomatoes, but Bhuna tends to be drier than Rogan Josh. 

However, most balti curries have thick tomato–based gravy. Therefore, a Balti sauce can be thicker than standard preparation, and meat served in Balti can be thicker. 

Karahi, Balti and Bhuna are Medium in heat and spicy content; alternatively, you can order Madras, Jalfrezi, Dhansak or Ceylon curries to get spicier curries. Madras being the spiciest and flavoursome, has the thickest sauce. 

Jalfrezi is cooked with pepper, tomatoes, onions and sliced chillies. 

  • Ceylon curries can be spicy and hot, but the presence of coconut offsets the sting. Similarly, Bombay curry made from whole chicken contains a light stock, where the skin and bones may be discarded and vinegar and coconut are added to get unique flavours. But, again, coconut sweetens the recipe and removes the signature sourness. 
  • Achari curries have a flavour of traditional pickles. Achari curries are popular in North West India, and the spices used to prepare them are turmeric, fenugreek, Kashmiri red chilli powder, fennel, mustard, and black onion seeds.
  • Chicken 65 is an iconic Chennai recipe with deep-fried chicken coated with super spicy sauce. It can be eaten as a snack or a starter. 
  • Another popular Punjabi curry made of chicken or lamb shanks is Dhaba curry which can be just like Rogan Josh but with added tomatoes.  
  • A unique variation of goat meat or mutton prepared by the Persian community in India, often part of the Gujarati cuisine, is the stewy Dhansak made with goat meat and lentils. It is served with caramelised brown rice. 
  • Jangli Maas is one of the curry varieties of meat made in Rajasthan of India, popular for its fiery flavours due to the generous inclusion of red chillies.  
  • Keema is the Indian curry identified for the use of mince and tomatoes.

Korma, Kofta, Kodi Kura, Kolhapuri, Kashmiri curries, Tikka, and Pasanda, are red, fragrant buttery saucy variations of curries. In contrast, the plain tikka grilled in the oven with light spices served with herbs, onions, and chillies offers an option to avoid curries. 

Balti Vs Curry

Balti is curries served in stainless steel bucket-like bowls. Balti is the name of the utensil used to prepare and serve the recipe. The cast iron dish is often used as a serving dish in roadside eateries and local regional dhabas. 

It is wok shaped and has two handles, and it was traditionally used to cook and serve food at family feasts and social gatherings. Like Balti, one can serve curries in Karahi, which come sizzling on the table and are often eaten with Biriyani or chapati. 

What Is A Bhuna Balti?

Bhuna is the cooking technique where you fry meat or chicken with spices in oil over high heat. Bhuna is the word used for frying at high temperatures and simmering away the meat in its juices to 

get a thick, intensely flavoured sauce. The variant can be served with green pepper and sliced onions. In Urdu, Bhuna means to be fried. Most bhuna recipes are thick, deliciously intense, coated with sauce and well-spiced, perfect for chilly winter feasts. 

Bhuna Balti is a special type of curry where the vegetables, chicken, or meat are fried and cooked with extra spices and then mixed with a curry which can offer a mild curry texture with richer exquisite flavours of Bhuna which are not too strong or weak. 

The exquisite flavours of Bhuna infuse the ingredients, which make the flavours intense and consistent. Bhuna masala curry is made with cumin, coriander, black pepper, curry powder and garam masala flavours. These spices offer unique flavours that can be less intense, though the cooked chicken or meat tastes amazing and can be appreciated fully when mixed with such intense herbs.

Most eaters in London confuse Balti and Bhuna, and some dishes on the menu may be both Balti and Bhuna as both are a version of curries that continue to evolve into new incarnations where you must identify and distinguish between the dishes offering mild to hot taste and those with high butter content.

Bhuna and Balti variations can be offered as lentil-veggie- mix, mixed vegetables, or chicken or meat-based curries. Bhuna curries have spices and herbal ingredients gently fried in a generous amount of oil, and then the meat or veggies is added to the preparation. 

The recipe is left to cook slowly in the juices of the meat or veggies. As a result, Bhuna is moderately saucy; it has a lot of deep, spiced flavours. However, the popular Bhuna is not a vegan recipe; it is often made from meat or fish, and a typical vegetable-based Bhuna dish is often cooked slowly on low heat with spices to get the best flavours. 

Is Balti Spicy?

Balti comes under medium spicy recipes; though there are no definitive ingredients, one cannot ensure the level of spiciness; instead, different forms of curry flavours can be cooked in a balti, and most standard Balti is cooked with a medium level of spiciness. 

Some restaurants may use flexible standards for determining the spiciness, and they may offer spice up or tone down depending on the choice of the guests.

Is Chicken Balti Spicy?

There are many speculations over the name Balti. The most popular explanation is that it comes from the two-handled dish of Baltistan, the region in North India, and another claim it originated in Bengal. Generally, using steel bowls or Balti is common in most of India at community kitchen offerings like Bhandara, Bhoj, and langar or social gatherings or even rural ceremonies. 

Balti refers to metal containers, but curries prepared in such pans remain one of the favourite beef and chicken or lamb curries for many reasons. It contains a delicious blend of spices, chillies, garlic, tomatoes, onions, and peppers. 

Balti is a pressed steel bowl, and the sweet caramelised taste of the food prepared in Balti comes from the Maillard reaction, the chemical reaction between amino acids reducing the sugars triggered by cooking at high temperatures. Such curries are perfect for scooping with soft, doughy naan bread or chapati. 

Chicken balti, balti bowl or chicken bucket name refers to the pot or the cooking vessel rather than the dish. It is cooked with aromatic Indian spices like Kashmiri chilli powder and bursting layers of flavours.

A typical Balti dish may contain allium vegetables and tomatoes and has less oil than butter chicken or kofta curries.


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