Curry houses bid to protect Balti
A group of city centre curry houses have applied for the area's famous Balti dish to be given EU protected status.
Restaurateurs in Birmingham have lodged a proposal to safeguard the "Birmingham Balti" which, if successful, would join the ranks of British stalwarts such as Melton Mowbray pork pies, Stilton cheese and Arbroath Smokies.
Members of the Birmingham Balti Association lodged the application for the dish to be registered as a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG), which means only curries conforming to a precise specification can use the name.
It includes the meal being served in the Balti dish in which it is cooked and fresh spices and vegetable oil being used.
In doing so, it is the first ethnic food in the UK to be the subject of a proposed TSG, the group said.
Andy Munro, secretary of the Birmingham Balti Association, said: "As a proud Brummie, I wanted to see the genuine Birmingham Balti protected as this is the city where the phenomenon started.
"Unfortunately the term 'balti' has almost become a generic term for curry and I want to ensure that the original fast-cooked dish is properly protected from being diluted in its use."
He said it has taken more than a year's hard work to get to formal submission even with support from Adas UK - the agency which helps in the application process - and Matt O'Callaghan, who masterminded the successful application for the Melton Mowbray pork pie.
Mr Munro added: "Birmingham now has some fabulous restaurants yet it is still the Birmingham Balti that is the initial culinary hook, as a recent article in the New York Times illustrates."
Founder participating restaurants from the city's so-called "Balti Triangle" include Popular, Adil, Al Frash, Shabab and Shahi Nan Kebab House.