Vegetarian Scottish Haggis Keema Curry
I decided to put vegetarian haggis together with hearty keema curry spices, thinking the finished dish would be a delicious, sweet, spicy and very nourishing main. You know what? I was right!
What Is Vegetarian Haggis?
In short, it is a vegetarian version of the classic Scottish dish served on Burns Night (the annual celebration of the Scottish poet Robert Burns). Most vegetarian haggis versions you can buy ready-made are also vegan, but make sure to check the label before purchasing.
In place of the animal heart, lungs and liver, the meat-free version makes use of mushrooms, lentils, pearl barley, oats and lashings of black pepper. While some think a vegetarian/vegan version of this Scottish delicacy is an abomination, many meat-eaters and plant-eaters alike find vegetarian haggis far more palatable. The finished product is wholesome, filling, sausagey, spicy and a little bit sweet.
As with the traditional meaty version, vegetarian haggis is typically served on Burns Night with 'neeps and tatties' (aka swedes and potatoes) along with a dram of whisky.
In the UK, ready-made vegetarian/vegan haggis is only really widely available in supermarkets on the run-up to Burns Night, but you can buy it online all year round.
What Is Keema Curry?
Keema translates as 'mince', and this curry is a quick Indian dish traditionally made with minced meat, tomatoes, peas, onions and spices.
It is usually lightly spiced, which makes it a great option for those who don't like a lot of spice in their food.
In this recipe, the vegetarian haggis stands in for the minced meat. That is the only way in which this version differs from a classic keema recipe, making this an unbelievably easy dish to get right. As with many other curries, it tastes even better if left for a day or two, as it gives the spices a chance to settle into the oats, lentils, barley and mushrooms.
The haggis takes on the flavours of this classic curry beautifully, while its lashings of black pepper complement the spices.
As with its meaty counterpart, this meat-free version is ready quickly if you use pre-made vegetarian haggis.
I have adapted this recipe from Nisha Katona's 'lamb keema' recipe, which can be found in her brilliant Mowgli Street Food recipe book. This dish makes a hearty, warming main on a dreary Saturday evening in January or February, or as a spicy alternative to the traditional Burns Night supper.
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 500 grams/18 ounces vegetarian haggis (I use Macsween), broken up with a fork
- 2 white onions, diced
- 5 centimeters/2 inch piece fresh root ginger, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 400 grams/14 ounces canned chopped tomatoes
- 400 grams/14 ounces canned chickpeas
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 1/4 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 200 grams/7 ounces peas (frozen, fresh or canned)
- 1/2 small bunch fresh coriander/cilantro, chopped
- 200 millileters water
- Place a large heavy pan over a medium-high heat and add the oil. Once the pan and the oil are hot, add the diced onions, ginger and garlic and fry until the onions are translucent.
- Add the vegetarian haggis. Stir to ensure the garlic, onion and ginger are mixed in. Fry for another few minutes until the haggis has heated through.
- Add the canned tomatoes, chickpeas, ground turmeric, chilli flakes, ground cumin, garam masala, salt and sugar.
- Add 200ml of water and bring to the boil.
- Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover and gently cook for 50-60 minutes. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary.
- Five minutes before the cooking time is finished, add the peas.
- Check the curry seasoning and add more salt or spices if necessary.
- Garnish your vegetarian haggis keema curry with freshly chopped coriander/cilantro.
Nisha Katona's original lamb keema recipe calls for a large green chilli that has been chopped and deseeded. I omitted it for this recipe, mainly because I didn't have one in the house!
If you would like to include the green chilli as per the original recipe, add it in with the peas and go a little easy on the chilli flakes—that is, unless you love spicy food of course!
There you have it - vegetarian haggis keema curry! It is comforting, spicy and nourishing, which makes it perfect for cold, dreary winter evenings.
I love it served with my fluffy basmati rice, naan and mango chutney. It also goes beautifully with 'tangled greens', another recipe from the Mowgli Street Food recipe book, which involves stir-frying cabbage with mustard and other spices.
Going with the Burns Night theme, I would also love to try this curry with spiced 'neeps and tatties' (aka swedes and potatoes), and a dram of firey whisky or hoppy scotch ale.
Vegetarian Haggis Sausage Rolls
If you liked this recipe, try my recipe for sausage rolls made with vegetarian haggis. They are a delicious vegan version of the classic British pub snack.
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© 2019 Kathryn Worthington