"The greatest Indian cook in Britain"Jay Rayner "The Observer"
"Cook with love. Love your cooking" Gita Mistry

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Burns Night Bradford Style

Yesterday was Burn's Night. It is the night when Scots the world over celebrate their great lyric poet. I am not Scottish but I love Ae Fond Kiss, Red Red Rose and of course The Address to A Haggis  What could be more evocative than these lines:

"His knife see rustic Labour dight, 
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight, 
Trenching your gushing entrails bright, 
Like ony ditch; 
 And then, O what a glorious sight, 
Warm-reekin', rich!"

Eat your hearts out advertising copywriters.

Though India has plenty of links with Scotland haggis isn't one of them. Having said that, they do serve haggis pakoras in Scotland. I ate those little morsels in both Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Unless anyone out there can correct me, most haggis recipes include some king of offal - lung heart and liver from sheep.I did however find one that used pork lung that sung its heart out to me.

Personally I prefer veggie haggis because it is neat, sweet and tasty filled with pulses and barley without the internal operational drama. I for one would choose the veggie option although some may argue it defeats the object.
Its more about the occasion than whether one chooses meat haggis or a  veggie haggis.  They both use spices of pepper nutmeg and mace and at times home made recipes have dried coriander.  I am sure Robert Burns would have loved the creation of the veggie haggis so that so many others could join in the fun of celebrations years after to come….

I visited my local Morrisons - a guid Scots name though Sir Ken is as Yorkshire as I am - on a haggis hunt. I say "hunt" because a Scottish lady once told me that a haggis was a wee beastie with two legs shorter than the other the better to run round Schieallion.They had a grand choice as you  can see.One of the mangers asked me what the fuss was about so I told them all about Burns night drawing quite a crowd in the process. I was looking out for Grants haggis because an auld wifie told me she swears by it.

Yesterday evening we celebrated Burns night and on the menu: .

  • Japanese ramen for a starter 
  • Pouting with red peppers in delicate spicy turmeric & tarmirand sauce
  • Vegetarian & traditional haggis bhajis,
  • Mushroom and potato bhajis
  • Steamed Basmasti rice
  • Spicy tomato dip
  • Fresh fruit and jelly because we love it!

So here is my recipe for haggis bhajias

Ingredients for the bhajia batter
450g of Haggis meat or veggie
170g of gram flour
2 teaspoon of garlic and ginger paste
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 a teaspoon of red chilli powder
1/2 a teaspoon of gara masala
1/2 green rocket chili
2tbsp of chopped fresh coriander
Rapeseed oil to fry

1. Heat the oil and set the temperature to 160c
2. Make the batter for the bhajias by putting the gram flour, salt, red chili powder, gara masala, ginger and garlic green rocket chili paste, and chopped coriander in a bowl and mixing together well.
3. Then add some water to the mixture, to make a smooth batter making sure its thick enough to coat the piece so not too runny, leave to rest for 30 mins 
4. Cut the haggis into small diced pieces, dip them into the gram flour batter, and deep fry until they go golden brown.

Serve, Eat whilst still hot and crunchy.

We didn't run to a piper but Nina Simone more than made up for that. Why Nina Simone? Her songs are very similar to Burns. We celebrated the immortal memory.

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