Balti Fish Curry Recipe

Balti Fish Curry Recipe
Balti Cuisine is a style of Indian food that can proudly trace its roots back to England. The city of Birmingham, with its large population of Kashmiri immigrants, is thought to be the birthplace of this delicious Indian method of cooking. The name "balti" literally translates into "bucket", but actually refers to the vessel in which the food is both cooked & served. The cooking vessel is similar to a heavy bottomed cast iron or copper bottom wok with large handles. The Balti cooking technique is similar to stir frying (fast cooking done on high heat), so it’s a good idea have everything ready before you start. Balti recipes are traditionally rich & spicy curries with lots of bold flavors.

My delicious Balti Fish Curry is a real family favorite & always a big hit with the kids. Tender pieces of lovely fish gently poached in a delicately spiced tomato based broth – simply heavenly! Personally, I prefer to use boneless/skinless fillets & any firm variety of fish will do - such as snapper, cod, haddock, sea bass, tilapia, mahi-mahi, flounder, sole, swordfish, grouper, butterfish, halibut… Also, feel free to sneak in a few vegetables into the dish if you like. You can also make this dish using shrimp (or prawns) in place of the fish, either way, I’m sure - it will be absolutely delicious.



1 lb of firm fish, cut into 2” size pieces
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 large tomatoes, pureed (you can use canned tomatoes if fresh tomatoes are not in season)
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1” piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
3-4 small green Thai chilies, slit lengthwise (to taste)
1 tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
6-8 fresh curry leaves
pinch of asafetida (hing)
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp smoked Spanish paprika
1 tsp ground coriander powder
½ tsp ground cumin powder
salt & pepper, to taste
2 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola)
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish


In a large deep skillet or wok on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, carefully add the mustard seeds. When the splattering subsides, quickly add the fennel seeds along with the asafetida, curry leaves & green chilies. After 30 seconds or so, add the onions to the pan. Let cook until just slightly browned and then add the garlic & ginger. Stir fry for a few minutes and then add the spices (turmeric, paprika, ground coriander powder, ground cumin powder, salt & pepper). Let the spices cook in the oil for a few minutes until fragrant, then add the tomato puree. Mix well to combine, reduce the heat to low and gently simmer the tomato sauce for about 5-6 minutes. Now add the fish and allow it to gently poach in the tomato curry until fully cooked. I recommend adding the fish just before serving, the cooking time will really depend on the size & thickness of the fish fillets. Lastly, garnish the dish with fresh cilantro leaves & serve with fresh rotis & fragrant Basmati rice.


You can use your favorite vegetables like baby spinach, green peas, various bell peppers, baby corn, carrots, green beans….

Balti FIsh Curry photo Balti Fish Curry_1.jpg

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