Walking around London during my recent trip I saw many restaurants called Balti House. I have heard about Balti (pronounced Bulti) curries and seen Balti restaurants but had never tasted Balti since my experiences have focused more on South Indian cuisine. This led me to ask what is Balti?

Balti is a spicy curry dish that is prepared with meat or vegetables and it is cooked over high heat in a large, deep stainless steel or cast iron bowl that has two large handle loops. This vessel is called a balti so it is believed that the dish has become synonymous with the pot in which it is cooked. The dish is served at the table in the very hot balti pot in which it was cooked. The word ‘balti’ translates from Hindi and Urdu, the language of Pakistan, to the English word ‘bucket’. This is fitting since the pot is bucket shaped.

Balti is thought to have originated in the Baltistan region of Pakistan but this style of cooking was brought to England in the 1970s and became famous in Birmingham, northwest of London. Since then this style of cooking has taken the U.K. by storm and has become popular in the U.S. Many restaurants specialize in all recipes Balti. They usually called Balti House or Balti Restaurant. It is also found on the menus of most Indian restaurants. Sometimes it is featured in its own section of the menu. Balti curries can be vegetarian or non-veg with meat, chicken, seafood.

Balti Chicken Curry

Chicken Balti Curry made by stir-frying the chicken then added it to a rich curry is made of onions, tomatoes and spices.

Now that I have told you how it is cooked and how it most likely originated, I will share with you how it is made. The curry is made by frying onions and tomatoes with a blend of Indian spices, then puréeing it. The vegetables and meat, if using, are cut into bite-sized pieces then pan-fried over high heat in oil, just like a stir-fry, until done. Finally the curry is added to the pot and everything is simmered together until the flavors develop and everything is cooked through. The curry is thick and a lot of depth to its flavor. It is quite simple to make and is absolutely delicious. This curry is best served with plain rice or your favorite Indian bread.

I have created my own version of Balti Chicken Curry. I hope you try it and like it as much as my family does. Next week, I will share my recipe for Balti Vegetable Curry.

 

My daughter loves Chicken Tikka. Every time we go to an Indian restaurant it is the only dish she orders because she wants to eat healthy, lean food and isn’t a fan of runny curries. Since I make Chicken Tikka Kababs fairly often at home I decided that I needed an easier (and faster) way to make it. This led me to create my own Chicken Tikka Spice Mix so I could shorten the time to create the marinade. I create a double batch of this spice mix, store it in a jar and then scoop out a few spoonfuls when I need to marinate my chicken.

Since the recipe uses ground spices and nothing has to be roasted or fried in a skillet, preparation is quite simple. Only a set of measuring spoons and several fresh spices are required. Here is my recipe:

Chicken Tikka Spice Mix

1 Tbs ground coriander

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp red chile powder

1 Tbs garam masala

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves, woody stems removed and leaves crushed between your fingers

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp amchoor powder

1/4 tsp ground ajwain

1/4 tsp turmeric

 

Mix all of the ingredients together. Store in an airtight container and use as needed.

Chicken Tikka Spice Mix

Having homemade Chicken Tikka Spice Mix on hand makes dinner preparation easy.

Once you have a batch of Chicken Tikka Spice Mix ready to use, making this easy recipe for Chicken Tikka Kebabs is easy. First I prepare the marinade with yogurt, garlic, ginger and my Spice Mix then add the chicken. This can be done before I leave for the day. To make this process even easier, frozen minced garlic and ginger that are available in my grocery’s freezer section can be used. When I get home after the chicken has marinated all day, I simply thread the chicken onto skewers and grill them. While the chicken cooks, I prepare my Lemon-Cilantro Aioli, a delicious dip to go along with the chicken. Dinner can be on the table in no time at all. Simply serve with a green vegetable and, perhaps, a simple rice dish, if you have the time.

Try this recipe. Your family will thank you for a healthy and easy dinner. Preparing the Chicken Tikka Spice Mix in advance saves time and guess work. Try sprinkling a bit on roasted vegetables. It is delicious!

 

Chicken Tikka

Chicken Tikka Kebabs made with my Chicken Tikka Spice Mix

Try out my Chicken Tikka Kebabs recipe tonight!

 

My clay pot that is from Tuscany, Italy, turned out to be an excellent investment. I love the way it cooked so evenly and went from stovetop to oven with ease. Many recipes I have either tried or created myself required extra liquids to keep the meat or other ingredients from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot. That was not the case with this wonderful pot. The food that I cooked in it turned out to be rich in flavor, moist and tender, and perfectly cooked. Articles that I read said that my food would take on a bit of an earthy flavor from the pot but I’m not really convinced that is the case here or I was so impressed with the quality of the clay pot cooking capabilities that I didn’t notice. Any way, the food created in a clay pot turns out beautifully due to the capabilities that are inherent to this style of cooking.

Clay Pot Chicken Curry

Clay Pot Chicken Curry

 

My Clay Pot Chicken Curry recipe could not have turned out better if I had watched over it every second. Following a two part cooking process of creating the curry on the stove and then finishing the cooking in the oven made this dish easy and successful. First I made the curry by cooking the onions in specially seasoned oil. This laid the foundation for the chicken pieces to become tender and succulent as they absorbed the exquisite flavors by baked in the oven. Much less water had to be added since the closed pot retained all of it. Once the pot was in the oven, I didn’t have to tend it until it was done.

 

The first step of seasoning the oil and cooking the onions consumed most of the work. By the time the chicken was added, the meal was ready to be baked on its own to an exquisite finish. Check out the Clay Pot Chicken Curry recipe here.

 

My next post will feature the rice dish that I made using my clay pot. Baked Basmati Rice is absolutely delicious and incredibly easy to make.

 

I have to admit that this clay pot is one of my favorite kitchen purchases.

Last week I wrote that saffron is one of the most important spices in Indian cuisine. To give credibility to my statement, I am sharing my recipe for Chicken and Saffron Curry. In this recipe, I marinate chicken pieces in a delightful spice and yogurt mixture before it is cooked then it is added to a rich, creamy curry that has been infused with saffron threads. It is easy to make and great with rice and a simple green vegetable. It is a heavenly dish that family will love; your guests will request the recipe. For those who do not enjoy hot, spicy
food, this is a recipe for you!

 

Chicken and Saffron Curry has a rich creamy curry sauce with a hint of saffron.

Chicken and Saffron Curry

 

I hope you enjoy my Chicken and Saffron Curry recipe!

 

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips!

All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.

Chicken with Basil Curry from Kachi's Kitchen

Chicken with Basil Curry from Kachi’s Kitchen

In early November I was given a small basil plant as a gift from our local Indian grocery store as part of its Diwali celebration (Deepavali in Kerala). If I had made plans a bit earlier, my Basil with Chicken Curry recipe would have been a perfect candidate for Recipe of the Month.

 

The first step in my Basil with Chicken Curry recipe is to marinate the chicken breasts in a lightly spiced dressing. The curry is made from a special blend of spices that marries the key ingredient, basil, to form a rich base for the final dish. The chicken is finally grilled and then set atop the basil curry just before serving.

 

Since my family loves the flavor of fresh basil they find that it works well in this Indian recipe as a welcome change.

 

 

 

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.

I have been waiting for the temperature to reach a reasonable spring level for weeks. Spring is finally here so I can clean my grill and start cooking outside. The recipe of the month of May, Grilled Chicken Cafreal recipe, is based on a Goan recipe that I have adapted for grilling. This dish originated in a Portuguese colony in Africa that was brought to Goa where it became very popular. It is also popular in my home; it has replaced Chicken Tikka as my daughter’s favorite recipe!

 

Grilled Chicken Cafreal is based on the authentic recipe from Goa India.

Grilled Chicken Cafreal is based on the authentic recipe from Goa India.

 

Grilled Chicken Cafreal is quite easy to make. First the dried spices are roasted and ground to augment their wonderful flavors. Next the marinade is made with handfulls of fresh cilantro, lime juice, ginger and garlic and is applied to chicken. After an hour or two it is simply grilled.  Goan cuisine is based on the presence of three flavors; this recipe features two of them: hot (from the chiles) and sour (from the limes). If ‘hot’ is not a flavor you enjoy, feel free to reduce the number of chiles all the way to one so the heat is eliminated but the flavor remains.

 

Since my Grilled Chicken Cafreal recipe is a dry dish (has no curry or sauce) it is delicious with a green salad and summer vegetables like corn on the cob. When I prepared the recipe for the photo, I saved the leftovers for the next day and sliced the cold chicken over a bed of Romaine for a simple but tasty dinner.

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does!

 

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.

During my trip to India, I had the opportunity to try a chicken curry with fenugreek leaves and absolutely loved it. This herb is very mild and has a flavor similar to that of celery with a delicate texture that subtly enhances the character of a recipe. It is high in nutrition like spinach so it is often found in salads and various curries. Fresh plants and dried leaves are available at most Indian grocery stores at very low prices. Don’t use fenugreek seeds in this recipe, as they are not interchangeable.

 

My Fenugreek Chicken Curry recipe is easy to make and very healthy. The curry is made with vegetables and just a bit of yogurt to make it creamy. The richness comes from a unique technique employed in many Indian recipes – the spices are applied in three different layers to bring out the unique characteristics of the spices when tempered in hot oil, added to a boiling gravy and toasted and sprinkled on at the end. This may sound like a lot of work but it isn’t.

Fenugreek Chicken Curry recipe

Fenugreek Chicken Curry

 

Your family will love this recipe as much as mine does. Leftovers are even better since the spices have extra time to develop. 

 
 
Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.
 

All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.

During my trip to India, I learned that the infamous piri piri chile (also called peri peri, pili pili and bird’s eye chile) that originated in Africa was introduced to the Portuguese and then spread to its colonies, one of which was Goa. These chiles, which look innocuous with their small size of an inch in length, start with a green color and turn red when mature. The heat level of these innocent looking chiles is at the top of the Scoville scale and ranges from 100,000 to 225,000 SHUs (Scoville Heat Units). Its heat is triple that of the Thai chile pepper which is commonly available across the U.S. These chiles are not for the faint of heart or sensitive tastes.

 

Piri piri chiles from Goa, India.

Piri piri chiles from Goa, India.

 

During our visit to a spice plantation in Goa, my husband purchased a few bags of them for me. I am thankful that he did because I cannot find them in grocery stores in the U.S. (They are available online.) I wish he had purchased the whole box of packets because the aroma of the dried piri piri chiles is wonderful. They have a slightly smoky scent like smoked paprika but I can tell with one whiff that they pack a punch. If you cannot find them easily, I would recommend using dried Thai red chiles or Mexican piquin chiles instead.

 

Piri Piri Chile Sauce is a simple staple to make and can be frozen for future use. After grinding the spices, they are fried with onions and then ground. The flavor is adjusted in the last step. It is very easy to make. Based on my research, my sauce is not as hot as an authentic Piri Piri Sauce but that makes it easier to use in recipes. I hope you love its flavor as much as I do.

 

This month’s recipe, Piri Piri Chicken Curry, gets its flavor from my Piri Piri Chile Sauce. Another easy to make recipe, it can be prepared in one pot. Just fry the onions and peppers in a small amount of oil, add the chicken and sauce, and you have dinner ready. It is best served with plain rice or Chapatis. I serve it with both rice and Chapatis with Onion Raita on the side to contrast with the heat of the curry.

 

Piri Piri Chicken Curry is an easy to make Indian recipe.

Piri Piri Chicken Curry is an easy to make Indian recipe.

Enjoy!

 

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.

In my last post, I shared with you the history and approach to this sophisticated style of Indian cooking. This month’s recipe is Dum Pukht Chicken Biryani, the most elegant of the varieties I have tasted. It is special because spices are added during each step of the cooking process, in the chicken marinade, cooking the rice and the final preparation that come together in the end to deliver an amazingly sophisticated yet subtle meal. 

Chicken Biryani Indian recipe cooked in the Dum Pukht style.

Chicken Biryani Indian recipe cooked in the Dum Pukht style.

With the weather getting cooler, I tend to cook foods that give a warm and inviting feel to the table. This biryani does exactly that. I have enhanced the recipe to make it very simple. Even though it looks like the number of ingredients and steps is long, all I have done it make it really easy and clear to cook this Indian recipe in an efficient way. Serve simply with Onion Raita.

Let me know what you think after you make my Dum Pukht Chicken Biryani recipe!

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.

I asked my husband last week what I should pick for this month’s special recipe. He immediately suggested I use Bindi’s Mint Chicken recipe.  I’m not sure why it popped into his mind since I had never made it before but I am really glad that he did. I think you will like it very much.


 

Mint Chicken

Mint Chicken with Rice

The first time I tasted the Mint Chicken recipe was during a dinner at my sister-in-law’s house about 20 years ago. It had the most delicious blend of spices and herbs that I had tasted in a long time.  Chicken and mint are definitely intended to be cooked together. It is not a hot dish in the least. The first time I tested the recipe, I knew that without some Indian chili powder, it was needed. If you don’t like any heat at all in your food, this is a good recipe (without the chili) for you.


This is an ideal recipe for a busy weeknight dinner. Preparing the marinade requires just a few ingredients and 15 minutes of time. After you come home from work the next day, just grill the chicken and fry the onions. Dinner will be ready in no time. It is also good for a summer dinner with friends when the chicken can be grilled outside. Serve it with a salad and some grilled vegetables. Your guests will be impressed.


 

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.