Did you know that a typical balti house will get through 2000 kilos of onions and 300 kilos of chicken breast in a week? Did you also know that 'The Birmingham Bolti' was recently created to honour Usain Bolt after his success in the Olympics? Laura Porter has the low down on other fascinating Balti facts in her blog post for Great British Chefs
The Birmingham Balti is an excellent reason to go to The Midlands. This British-style curry has been popular in the area since the 1970s when the Pakistani and Kashmiri communities arrived. It's a thin curry best served in a steel balti bowl with a large naan for dipping. Balti is such a part of Birmingham culture now that the balti bowls are made in Birmingham and the Balti Triangle has around 50 restaurants and takeaways attracting customers from near and far.
Did you know? A typical balti house will get through 2000 kilos of onions and 300 kilos of chicken breast in a week – keeping many local suppliers in business.
Photo by Nick J Webb
This summer, the Jamaican Olympic Athletics team stayed at The University of Birmingham and their visit coincided with the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence. Birmingham has the largest Jamaican community outside London – Usain Bolt's cousin lives nearby in Wolverhampton – so there were five days of celebrations which clearly went down well with Usain Bolt and his colleagues as he said:
"The Birmingham people, when we were at camp, they were extremely great to us. They showed us a lot of love, and thank you guys – you guys helped us come out here and do our best."
l-r Mohammed Afzal Butt, Imran's, Emma Gray from Marketing Birmingham and head chef Talib Butt - photo by Visit Birmingham
In honour of the fastest man on the planet, the Head Chef at Imran’s Restaurant, based in the Balti Triangle, has created 'The Birmingham Bolti' as he wanted to acknowledge the Jamaican team's respect for the city, especially after the Olympics 200 metre race when Usain Bolt and Warren Weir, who won gold and silver respectively, told the world to "Big Up Birmingham".
So what is a Birmingham Bolti? It has the main ingredients of a standard Birmingham Balti but the Jamaican twist comes with jerk chicken, rice and peas as the basis of this hot and spicy dish.
Protect The Birmingham Balti
Photo by Simmo1234
The chefs of Birmingham are incredibly proud of the Balti and therefore the Birmingham Balti Association has made an official application in June 2012 to the EU Protected Food Names scheme for the Birmingham Balti to be given Traditional Speciality Guaranteed Status (TSG).
While curries can often be high in saturated fat because of the ghee, the Birmingham Balti uses vegetable oil so you can almost feel health conscious having a curry here.
There's a 12 week consultation coming to an end this month then, if there are no objections to the Birmingham Balti plan, it will go before Defra which will decide whether to forward it to the European Commission.
Blog post by Laura Porter
What do you think of having a curry named after Usain Bolt? What are some of your favourite curry dishes? Let us know over on Great British Chefs Facebook page.