Healthier Chicken Balti Recipe

If you don't cook Indian food on a regular basis this recipe will start with a treasure hunt for the ingredients. These aromatic spices add a lot of zing and nutrition and you will fall in love with the flavors. This chicken Balti recipe has been modified to make it even healthier. Have fun and enjoy the WOW factor when you serve it.


1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces 1 1/2 tbsp sunflower or grapeseed oil 1 red bell pepper, deseeded, cut into small chunks 1 cup organic passata (uncooked tomato puree with no additional ingredients) 1 medium tomato, chopped 1 cup baby spinach leaves 1/8 cup fresh coriander, chopped (cilantro) 1 small to medium green chilli (aka: Hari Mirch, Hari Mirchi, Finger Chillies, mirchi) 1 medium onion, coarsely grated 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped 1 inch-piece ginger, grated or 2 tspn powdered ginger 1 tbsp lime juice 1 tsp paprika 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper powder (optional for spicy heat) 1 cinnamon stick 3 cardamom pods, split (somewhat an acquired, rather floral taste. If this is your first time maybe go with 1 pod) 1/2 tsp cumin seed (substitute powder if seeds are not available) 1/2 tsp turmeric 1 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp ground coriander 1 tsp garam masala (Indian spice blend, commonly available.) Black pepper to taste Salt to taste Serve with chapatis bread or basmati rice (optional)


Put the chicken in a medium bowl. Mix in the lime juice, paprika, cayenne powder and a grinding of black pepper, then leave to marinate for at least 15 mins, preferably a bit longer.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large non-stick wok or sauté pan. Add in the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, whole chilli and cumin, and stir-fry briefly just to color and release their fragrance. Stir in the onion, garlic and ginger and fry over a medium-high heat for 3-4 mins until the onion starts to turn brown. Add the remaining oil, then drop in the chicken and stir-fry for 2-3 mins or until it no longer looks raw. Mix the turmeric, cumin, ground coriander and garam masala together. Sprinkle into the pan, lower the heat to medium and cook for 2 mins. Pour in the passata and 1/2 cup water, then drop in the chunks of pepper. When it starts to bubble, lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 mins or until the chicken is tender.

Stir in the tomato, simmer for 2-3 mins, then add the spinach and turn it over in the pan to just wilt. Season with a little salt. If you want to thin down the sauce, splash in a little more water. Remove the cinnamon stick, chilli pepper and cardamom pods. Scatter with fresh coriander and serve with warm chapatis or basmati rice, if you like.

Adapted from a recipe from Good Food magazine, June 2012