Friday, 24 January 2014

Indo-Scots Fusion Burns Night

Over the years the Scottish haggis has undergone many guises from its traditional serving with mashed neeps  and tatties  on St Andrews Day or Robert Burns Night, to celebrate the Caledonian national bards birthday. 

These days there are many fusion ways to eat the hearty haggis. There is haggis samosas, haggis pakoras, haggis pasty, haggis spring rolls, haggis wontons, haggis lasagne, haggis pastitsio, haggis moussaka - a creation of my Greek flat mates when I was at University of Glasgow, haggis tostadoshaggis Tex Mac nachos, haggis sandwiches, haggis panini's, haggis bon bons, haggis pies, vegetarian haggis Scotch eggs! haggis quesadillas and even haggis wraps, in fact you name it, and someone, somewhere had made it!

Well here is my fusion offering that I created four years ago when Scotland was my home - Portobello Mushroom Haggis Pakoras with Curried Neep Chips.  

Please follow this link for some more interesting facts about Scotlands ethnic and cultural diversity and its fusion influences on cuisine.  In the cities of Scotland, you will often see aPunjabi-style haggis on menus at pubs and restaurants. To the traditionalhaggis recipe additional ingredients such as onions, cumin seeds, garlic, ginger, green chillies and other spices are added and Naan bread, rotis and chappatis replace the traditional 'neeps' and 'tatties'.

When I lived in Scotland, its diverse communities were recognised in a BBC Radio Scotland transmitted a programme Ravi Burns. In place of Burns's 'Address to A Haggis', the Scottish Sikh comedian actor Sanjeev Kohli gives us Ode to a Samosa: "Wee sleekit, cowrin' triangular tastie, oh what a picnic is in thy pastry'. The novelist Alasdair Gray also recited 'To a Mouse' against a background of sitars.

Now back to my dish. You may already know that every South Asian (m)Ummi Ji whether she is from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh will have her own traditional recipe for pakoras, but the one I am using for this recipe combines both Scottish and Punjabi cuisines. I often serve this with curried neep chips and mint-yogurt chutney. 

Portobello Mushroom Haggis Pakoras with Curried Neep Chips
Serves 4
For the Portobello Mushroom Pakoras
200g gram flour also known as chickpea or besan flour
1 tablespoon of garam masala
1 generous tablespoon of dried methi, also know as dried fenugreek leaves
1 teaspoon cumin or Ajwain seeds (also known as Bishop weeds seeds)
Salt and red chilli powder to taste
1 fresh green chilli, minced
Tepid water as required
6 – 8 large Portobello mushrooms
Sunflower or olive oil for frying
To make the pakora batter, put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and minced green chilli and mix. Add water gradually and mix the batter until smooth but not thick. Leave aside for 5-10 minutes.
Steam the haggis for 20 minutes, then break it up with a fork so that it can cool down.
In the meantime, wipe clean the mushrooms and cut out the core.
Heat the oil in a frying pan for 5 minutes. Scoop out a tablespoon of haggis on the mushroom, press and spread it gently with the back of the spoon. Add more haggis if required but not too much. Do this with all the mushrooms. When this is done, gently place the mushroom into the batter to coat, I use my hands, but use a spoon if you wish to ensure batter covers the mushroom.
Heat the vegetable oil. Place 2 – 3 mushrooms into the pan, ensuring not to crowd them out and fry for 3-4 minutes until golden-brown. Turn the mushroom over so that it is evenly golden. Once cooked, remove from the pan and place onto a kitchen towel to dry.
For the curried neep chips
One large swede, turnip or rutabaga, peeled and sliced into chips
Toss in generous coating of olive oil
Bake in a moderate hot oven, turning now and again until slightly golden.
In the last 10 minutes, sprinkle over either 1 teaspoon curry powder or garam masala and a sprinkling of salt. Cook for a further 10 minutes. Then serve warm.
A variation of this post was originally written in January 2010.


  1. I see you can now get a product called "Staggis", made of venison!

  2. They look yummy, making my tummy rumble! Will have to see if I can track down some vegan haggis!

    1. Thanks Sooz. Hope you find some - otherwise make your own variation!


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