If you’re looking for a good curry in the UK, everyone knows that Birmingham is the curry capital. (Sorry Bradford but it’s true.) The Indian food here is next to none, from fine dining to family restaurants. There’s a rich tradition that has spawned two iconic curries.
More than one? We hear you ask. Yes, more than one. See, everyone knows about the Balti Triangle and its famous stir-fry-style curry. But few know about Birmingham’s other iconic curry: Phall. Sometimes considered the world’s hottest curry.
Phall doesn’t quite have the storied history of its Balti cousin. All anyone’s really confident about is that it originated in Bangladeshi-owned curry houses in Birmingham. But one rumour suggests the curry was started in the ’80s as a revenge tactic on drunken customers that came in demanding the hottest curry on the menu.
Its notoriety, however, has spread much further than its origins and can be enjoyed (if that’s what you call it) all over the world. You can even experience the ‘phall challenge’ at the Brick Lane Curry House in New York City!
What makes it ‘the hottest curry in the world?’
Like all spicy things, the secret to the heat is lots of chilli of course! Typically phall is a thick, tomato-based curry made using up to 10 or 12 very hot chillies. Depending on where you go, they might even use Habanero, Scotch Bonnet, Carolina Reaper or ghost peppers.
Lots of ginger, garlic and fennel seeds are often thrown in for good measure, alongside plenty of spices like garam masala, hot paprika and turmeric. But, of course, every chef has their own special recipe. So no two phalls are the same. We just recommend having a pint of milk on hand if you want to tackle this infamous curry yourself.
Where can I order a Phall in Birmingham?
Unlike the legendary balti, or even the not quite as hot vindaloo, you might struggle to find phall on the menu at many curry houses in Birmingham. Some places we did find it at were Balti 2000, Mijan Balti Hut and Balti Queen. If you ask around, however, we’re sure most chefs in Birmingham would love the chance to see you sweat it out.
But if you want to try the hottest curry in Birmingham, you have to check out Lime Pickle. Not actually called a phall, but The Devil’s Dish keeps up the Brummie tradition of being “the world’s hottest curry.” It has to be preordered and you also have to sign a health disclaimer before you eat it. (It’s so hot the chef has to wear a gas mask while cooking.) If you can complete it in 15 minutes, Lime Pickle will reward you with £100 to your chosen charity. Learn more about it here.