The Birmingham Balti

Birmingham is the culinary birthplace of the famous 'balti'. Invented in the mid-nineteen seventies by a Pakistani Brummie restauranteur, the balti bowl he had specially designed and manufactured was made in Birmingham and still is in the Washwood Heath area of the City by the Birmingham Balti Bowl Company.

The specially designed balti bowl is made of thin pressed carbon steel so it heats up quickly and unlike a wok is flat bottomed with flat handles for stability on the stove. The bowl builds up layers of flavours as it is used over a period of time. Typically, the authentic balti is cooked using vegetable oil not ghee with fresh spices, chosen according to the preferences of the chef, and added during the fast cooking process over a high flame.

Both cooked and critically served up sizzling hot in the balti bowl in under ten minutes, research by University College Birmingham suggests greater health and taste properties than that found in a standard curry. This includes more iron (said to be the most valuable element for the health of the human body), less saturated fat and a smoky caramelisation which top chefs strive to attain but is found naturally in a balti.

The balti first found fame when it appeared in restaurants in the 'Balti Triangle’ area of south east Birmingham. Due to increasing competition over the years and the dish being adopted by restaurants outside the area, there are now just a handful of the original and authentic balti houses left in the Balti Triangle. However, they are well worth seeking out in their original setting whilst authentic balti restaurants can also be found dotted across the city and the wider Black Country area, helping to keep the heritage of this quintessentially Brummie dish alive.

For more detailed information on the background to balti visit

Birmingham Balti Restaurants