Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The food is a hot curry-style dish, most likely taking its name from the thick flat-bottomed steel or iron pot in which it is both cooked and served. Normally the balti is served with large unleavened naan bread; pieces of which are torn off by hand and used to scoop up the hot curry sauce from the red-hot pot. Side dishes and starters usually include onion bhajis , samosas, poppadums and creamy dips .
The origin of the word
The exact origin of the word is debated. The following origins are sometimes given:
1) The balti (meaning, literally, "bucket" in India) refers to the steel or iron pot. This is the usual explanation.
2) The origin of the food would not appear to come from the region of Baltistan or the Balti people who live there; they cook a very different type of Tibetan-influenced food that is based around pasta/noodle dishes. However, Baltistan is a very remote and little-visited mountainous area on the border of Kashmir, and so it is possible that Kashmiris in Britain may have tried to give their newly-invented dish a cover of spurious 'authenticity' - by claiming its origin as being in mysterious Baltistan.
4) An alternative theory is that it comes from a particularly hairless Indian chef, known to all his mates as Baldy. the term corrupted into a reference to his signature dish, the balti
Balti restaurants are often known in Birmingham as 'balti houses', although they are not private residences. Balti houses have a reputation as being cheap places to eat. In part, this is because they commonly have no alcohol licence , although customers who wish to drink are welcome to bring their own alcohol with them. The interior of a typical Birmingham balti house was traditionally simple, with the earliest balti houses being remembered as having newspapers used instead of table cloths. Indeed some of the more traditional establishments still have a plastic cover over the tables with the menus secured underneath. Most balti houses are run by Kashmiri and Bangladeshi muslims, and the two groups dispute who invented the balti and when.
Balti houses originally clustered along & behind the main road between Sparkhill and Moseley, to the south of Birmingham city centre. This area (comprising the Ladypool Road, Stony Lane and Stratford Road) is still sometimes referred to as the 'Balti Triangle' and contains possibly Birmingham's highest concentration of Balti restaurants, as well as some of the oldest to be found in the city.
The food and its style of presentation proved very popular during the 1980s and grew in the 1990s; Balti restaurants gradually opened up throughout the West Midlands and then a large part of Britain. The expanded curry market in Britain is now said to be worth some £4 billion annually; but some still claim that it is impossible get a 'proper' Balti outside the urban West Midlands. There is even a balti house in Australia, appropriately named the Brum Balti, that plays a non-stop selection of tunes by 1970s Birmingham soft-rock bands such as Electric Light Orchestra and The Moody Blues.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details