Crayfish Balti

I took inspiration  for our Burns Night main course from my Curry recipe book. This crayfish balti is a British curry. The balti originates in Birmingham, the curry capital of Britain. The word in Punjabi means bucket but it is presumed that the word batti meaning food would have inspired the original recipe.

Crayfish Balti
Crayfish Balti
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It is really amazing what we take for granted. Dave grew up on a farm and the water that was piped into his house came from a borehole. I can remember friends of my aunt’s having a reservoir on their small holding and I wonder if that is the water that was used in the house? I have only ever experienced municipal water where I have lived. We have been asked very politely to not flush this drinking water down our toilets. This is easier said than done as we just don’t produce enough grey water for our toilet. To use less water we are not flushing every time we ‘go’. But, for the entire time we were in the UK I relished in the luxury of flushing the toilet. And I could do so every single time!

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This to me was one of the highlights of our trip. Another highlight was indulging in a hot bath. I ran lovely hot water and added bubbles to my bath, not once but twice while we were away. The first time I enjoyed my afternoon coffee and the second time I indulged with hot chocolate. I just lay there reading my book thinking how blessed I was to have this opportunity. Many habits will stay with me when the drought finally ends, but being able to bath and flush every time are the two I am looking most forward to breaking. We broke with tradition on Burns’ Night this year. We started with haggis and tatties. There were no neeps in season in South Africa. We then had this crayfish balti for our main course.

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5 from 1 vote

Crayfish Balti

This is a curry dish inspired from Birmingham and is usually made with prawns
Recipe Category: Curry, Shellfish
Makes enough for: 4 people
All Rights Reserved: Adapted from Curry page 332


for the crayfish

  • 6 crayfish tails, out of the shell, and cut in half *
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 7.5 mls paprika

for the masala

  • 45 mls canola oil
  • 1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 cm fresh root ginger, grated, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 medium hot green chilli, deseeded and cut into long, thin strips
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into long, thin strips
  • 1 x 400 g tin whole cherry tomatoes
  • 1.25 mls ground turmeric
  • 1.25 mls cayenne pepper
  • 1.25 mls ground cinnamon
  • 2.5 mls garam masala
  • 2.5 mls ground coriander
  • 2.5 mls fructose
  • 150 mls water

to garnish

  • 1 handful fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped


for the crayfish

  • Place the crayfish tails into a bowl and pour over the lime juice
  • Add the paprika and stir to combine
  • Set aside to marinade while you make the masala

for the masala

  • Heat the oil over a medium temperature in a wok or large pan
  • Add the onion and fry until soft and just turning golden
  • Put 3/4 of the ginger into the pan together with the garlic, green chilli and red pepper
  • Cook until you can smell the ginger then turn up the heat and add the tomatoes
  • Add the turmeric, cayenne, cinnamon, garam masala, coriander and fructose
  • Cook until the sauce has thickened and then reduce the temperature
  • Add the water and stir to combine **
  • Tip the crayfish into the sauce, together with the lime juice and simmer until cooked through
  • Add the fresh coriander leaves and left over ginger and serve with naan


* or 500g king prawns, peeled and deveined
** at this stage you can turn off the heat and leave to use later. Just make sure it is nice and hot before adding your crayfish
Inspiration published on Lavender and Lime March 5:

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13 thoughts on “Crayfish Balti

  1. It’s true, we do take the luxury of turning a tap rather for granted. We’ve had very low temperatures in the UK this last week resulting in lots of frozen and burst pipes and then no water for many people. Not much fun. Gorgeous balti recipe, I love my curries and will give this one a go soon!

    1. I watched Sky News yesterday and I saw people in lines waiting for water! In winter and in the snow that cannot be fun at all.

  2. I love everything about this recipe, except for the fact that I can’t get any crayfish where I live. However, I think it would be spectacular with shrimp!

  3. I must agree, Tandy, that not flushing the toilet is awful. I was in CPT for the day a few weeks ago and the water in the airport was switched off for the taps and at a very low pressure for the toilets. It is really a bit much to not flush toilets in public places like that. Terrible. Lovely recipe.

  4. This look s so delicious Tandy. I love seafood in a curry. I also love to relax in a bath-nothing like it. With a hot chocolate…now that is living life!

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