Nac Mac Vegan: adventures in rabbit food


Haggis and Tattie Pakoras

It’s Burns’ Night, when it is traditional to eat haggis, tatties and neeps while drinking whisky. Instead, I created a dish which represents modern Scotland in all its diverse wonderfulness.

First you need to catch your haggis. The vegetarian haggis (Haggis herbivorii) has been increasing in numbers of late, and researchers think that h. herbivorii makes up 25% of the haggis population in Scotland. They are primarily urban creatures, so one should not be hard to find. They have expanded their territory from their traditional haunts in the corners of wholefood shops, and can often be found lurking in supermarkets. Some have reported success in breeding them in captivity.

I managed to bag the commonest subspecies, the MacSween Vegetarian Haggis (h. herbivorii macsweeniensis) for this recipe, which makes lots.

approx. 500g vegetarian haggis
half a dozen medium potatoes
1½ cups gram flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp ajwain seed
1 tsp dried chillies, or to taste
1½ cups water

Give the seeds and chillies a good bashing in a mortar and pestle then stick them in a food processor or a bowl with the gram flour, baking powder and turmeric. Add about half the water and mix well, then add the rest of the water as you continue mixing until you get a smooth batter. Put it to one side.

Cut the potatoes up into small pieces and parboil about 5 minutes. Drain and allow to cool a bit. Meanwhile, skin your haggis and break the flesh into small pieces – around the size of a hazelnut. Put the pieces in a bowl as you work, and dust them with flour (gram, wheat or rice) to stop them breaking apart too much.

Add the potatoes and mix. The haggis will break up a bit. Don’t worry. Add the batter and mix some more. Do not despair as the haggis breaks up some more. It really doesn’t matter as long as there are some nice lumps.

Heat vegetable oil or vegetable ghee in a deep fat fryer (for the sensible), a frying pan, or a wok. When it is hot, turn the heat down a little – the pakora need to cook fairly slowly about five minutes a side. Put tablespoonsful of the mixture into the oil and deep fry until both sides are a dark orangey brown. Don’t overfill the fryer. Remove when done and drain. Eat as soon as they are cool enough with a dipping sauce — a good cheating pakora dipping sauce is a mixture of mint sauce and tomato ketchup. They will keep quite well and freeze if you don’t eat them all.

If I had been able to get a neep smaller than a beach ball, I would have used some, also parboiled, instead of half the potato.

I challenged myself to go a month without drinking alcohol, so whisky was not on the menu. Instead, I drank some of this rather fine Braes O’ Gowrie Sparkling Elderflower from those nice Cairn O’Mohr people.



  1. This looks really interesting. My DH loves veggie haggis AND pakoras, so I think this would be a hit.

    I just found your blog, and you’ve got some really interesting recipes. I’d love to try the Nutmese and Trumese recipes you’ve posted, but am wondering where you acquired the “mug-shaped, loose bottomed cake tins” you mentioned?

    Comment by Felicity — 13/02/2010 @ 01:10

    • The tins were a pain to obtain – I got them from a fabulous cookshop by Pike Place Market on a trip to Seattle. Since then, I have obtained this pudding steaming sleeve from Lakeland, which looks as if it will be really good for nutmeats. I haven’t had time to experiment with it though.

      Comment by Feòrag — 19/02/2010 @ 18:29

      • Thanks for the info… I was afraid those tins would be hard to find! The pudding sleeve looks interesting; never heard of one before. I might try the recipe(s) steamed in a slow cooker, maybe in a pudding basin.

        Comment by Felicity — 22/02/2010 @ 13:30

      • I’ve used pudding basins, with success, though the shape isn’t that convenient.

        Comment by Feòrag — 20/03/2010 @ 14:43

  2. […] right now on the blog there are two posts that just totally spoke to me.  The most recent one is a posting for Burns’ Night, which features a recipe for vegetarian haggis ‘with tatties and neeps’ (potatoes and […]

    Pingback by I’m in love with a blog. « Vegan Activist — 20/03/2010 @ 13:53

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