National Curry Week

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Birmingham Balti’s European status

The Birmingham Balti is aiming for the stars to win the EU’s Protected Food Name scheme. Food enthusiasts are pushing the popular dish towards recognised European status amongst famous names such as Champagne or Parma Ham.

 

Stilton cheese, Melton Mowbray pork pies and the Cornish pasty have already achieved this prestige. If the Balti joins these ranks it will have to be globally referred to as the Birmingham Balti by anyone using the cooking method.

 

The famous cuisine is a British blend of Kashmiri Pakistani recipes created in the 1970s by Birmingham’s Mirpuri community. The dish stands out from the rest as people must cook meat off the bone rather than use vegetable oil instead of ghee and cook dry spices alongside fresh garlic and ginger.

 

It is cooked in the “Balti”, a thinly dense steel dish for fast cooking over a gas fire, then presented in the dish to be eaten with naan bread or chapattis.

 

The campaign is headed by Birmingham’s renowned Balti lover Andy Munro on behalf of the Birmingham Balti Restaurant Association.

 

The government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) claims Protected Food Names elevates the food and drink industry which is the country’s largest manufacturing sector.

 

DEFRA claims the entire food chain contributes £97 billion a year to the UK economy and employs one in eight people.

 

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “Curry is a great part of our food heritage along with fish and chips and pork pies.

 

“Let’s hope the popular Birmingham Balti recipe follows in the footsteps of our other iconic foods like the Cornish pasty and Fenland celery.

 

“It would be a wonderful boost for this great city’s world famous Balti Triangle.

 

“Legally protecting food names creates new jobs and attracts more tourists to the area.

 

“We hope other producers are encouraged to do the same and unlock the full potential that their original recipes can bring.”

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