A selection of news articles by Andy about the Balti and the Balti Triangle ...
PLANNING FOR WHAT?
I visited one of the Balti Triangle's pioneer restaurants recently and they were depressingly downbeat due to the continued saturation of eateries in the area ... particularly fast food joints. Last time I spoke to BCC Planning Dept, they said that they were clamping down on permissions on hot food outlets across the City ... apart from the Balti Triangle. Not sure of the logic there!?
'RETURN OF THE FLOCK?
One of the Balti Triangle's most popular restaurants, co-incidentally called The Popular, has undergone a makeover. This cosy restaurant has made an excellent job of the décor but, on my last visit, I'm sure that I spied a 21st Century version of flock wallpaper. What next? Black Forest Barfi?
The bid to secure 'Traditional Status Guaranteed' EU status rumbles on with the documentary evidence of the minimum 30 year origin rule now satisfied courtesy of the 'Balsall Heathan' magazine. Next up is another visit from DEFRA ... a genuinely helpful bunch but not helped by the pernickety Eurocrats. Apparently, a number of previous attempts by British producers for EU status have failed with the applicants giving up the ghost after many years of trying ... however, we press on. I suppose it's typical and perhaps, I should write to Nigel Farage ... or there again, perhaps not.
CURRY TOO HOT FOR BRUM
Yet again, it appears that the local authority and partners have gone cool on the National Capital of Curry competition, due to be held in the Autumn. Proposals sent to the local authority, local paper, and the College of Cakes have met with that ultimate weapon of public servants ... 'silence'!
I was at Shabab recently for a visit of the 'Discovery Channel' programme makers who were filming a programme about curries and wanted to cover Birmingham's famous Balti. The presenter was well known Iranian comedian Omid Djalili. I'm pleased to say that he massively (and genuinely) enjoyed his Balti Chicken and Mushroom Vindaloo. We also prepared the same dish one in genuine balti style, cooked and served up in the 'balti' using vegetable oil compared to one cooked in a frying pan in ghee and then transferred to a dish. There was a noticeable difference in taste with Omid much preferring the former genuine article.
Incidentally as part of the programme, Omid had been to a Grantham curryhouse the day before to sample (allegedly) the world's hottest curry prepared using a new hot hybrid variety of peppers. He managed one spoonful and with a paramedic on hand, his heart rate immediately doubled. Incidentally, he described the next day as 'painful'.
Our bid to secure TSG protected EU status for the 'Birmingham Balti' partly depends on finding a 'balti reference' from over 30 years ago. We've got one for late 1984 but need a reference from before March of that year. We know it predates that but need the evidence. So, if anyone has any bright ideas ..............
On the basis that people visiting this site are curryholics, it's also worth a visit to Dan Tombs' excellent site at greatcurryrecipes.com.
I'm putting pen to paper to record the history of Birmingham's most famous culinary dish and its Birmingham beginnings. I would love to hear from you about your first balti...when it was, where it was, why you enjoyed it and any funny tales also welcome! I can be e mailed on
The Balti Triangle recently hosted a visit from a budding filmmaker making a film about Balti as part of their University project. A short film Charlotte Armer made for her Filmmaking Practises Module at University of Birmingham about the balti and it's cultural heritage in Birmingham.
An interesting stat was revealed where it seems that people outside Birmingham know more about Balti than the residents. Is it another case of a City's own community not appreciating what they've got ... add to that list the Jewellery Quarter, Custard Factory etc etc. Maybe something that Marketing Birmingham should consider ....