Lancashire-hotpot-with-balti-vegetables

Vegan Balti Vegetable Lancashire Hotpot

It is a Lancashire hotpot recipe, but vegan and with delicious balti spices. 

Cook Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

This un-traditional, vegan, melt in the mouth, spiced version of a Lancashire hotpot recipe is truly comforting. As it slowly cooks in the oven, that beautiful aroma of the spices, garlic, onion, tomatoes and vegetables waft through the air. The slow-cooked but crispy layers of wafer-thin potato send the comfort credentials of this dish through the roof.

What Is Lancashire Hotpot?

Lancashire hotpot is, according to food writer Felicity Cloake, ‘one of the world’s great stews’. Traditional Lancashire hotpot is a slow-cooked stew originating from (you guessed it) Lancashire in North West England made of mutton topped with sliced potatoes. The dish as we know it today developed during the industrial period when families would carry a stew to the baker’s oven to slowly cook, while they worked punishing hours in factories. These days, there

What is Balti?

Although its origins are a little mysterious, the general consensus is that the balti as we know it was invented in Birmingham, England in the 1970s by Pakistani immigrants. There are hundreds of balti houses in Birmingham, but balti houses are also found all over the midlands. In my formative years, I spent many a boozy evening in ‘Balti Towers’ – a restaurant in my hometown of Burton on Trent, Staffordshire.

Balti vegetable lancashire hotpot

How I Came up With This Recipe

I wanted to create a comforting vegan dish that celebrates Brummie cuisine, and a vegetable balti seemed like a good place to start. As a general celebration of traditional British food, I have decided to turn my balti vegetables into a variation of a Lancashire hotpot.

The first time I made this, I used fewer potatoes. But the potatoes were so delicious that I decided to double the amount in my hotpot.

I have used carlin peas as one of the key ingredients in my recipe for Lancashire hotpot, but realistically, any dark legume works very well in this dish. Carlin peas feature heavily in British food from both the Birmingham area (grey peas and bacon) and Lancashire (parched peas) and they taste delicious with the balti spices. If you cannot get carlin peas, black beans are a wonderful alternative. 

The result is a delicious slow-cooked balti spiced vegetable stew topped with potatoes that are crispy on top and fluffy and soft underneath. It is vegan comfort food of the highest order.

Recipe Substitutions and Variations

Carlin peas: If you cannot get carlin peas, black beans are a delicious alternative. You can also swap them for other legumes that you have in your cupboard. Chickpeas would give the dish a lighter flavour. Green or puy lentils would also taste good. You could even use baked beans.

Balti curry paste: I have also tried this dish with tikka curry paste instead of balti, and it is very tasty

Potato: Try sweet potato, swede or celeriac for a slightly healthier topping.

I have used a mandolin to make my potato slices extra thin, but if you prefer thicker slices of potato or do not have a mandolin, just use a knife and chop them to your chosen thickness.

For this particular hotpot recipe, I prefer to use waxy potatoes, as opposed to floury. They hold their shape better, which creates a great texture when they are layered and baked. If you are unsure about what type of potatoes to get, Great British Chefs have a great guide here. If floury potatoes, like (king edwards for example) are what you have though, they are still delicious. 

Un-traditional Lancashire hotpot with balti vegetables

Why This Recipe Is Great

  • It is the perfect comfort food for those cold, rainy evenings in autumn and winter.
  • It is full of nutritious vegetables and spices.
  • It tastes indulgent, but at around 300 calories per portion, it is a great low-calorie meal. 

Cook’s Tips

  • When you are placing your potato slices on your hotpot, start with the smaller, ‘less pretty’ potato slices so that your prettier potato slices can go on top.
  • I have left the skins on my potatoes when slicing them. It is healthier, quicker and gives the dish a rustic look.
  • In this dish, the potatoes are the star of the show. It may take a little longer but seasoning each of your potato layers makes the most of the creamy, crispy potatoes. 

Equipment

  • 1 oven-safe heavy-bottomed pan with a lid. I have used a 20cm round roasting tin
  • Measuring spoons
  • Can opener
  • Knife for chopping
  • Mandolin (optional)
  • Chopping board

Cook time

Prep: 30 mins

Cook: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Total: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Vegan-Balti-Vegetable-Lancashire-hotpot

 Yield: Serves 2–4

Ingredients

  • 500g / 17.6 oz potato thinly sliced
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 400g / 14 oz tin carlin beans or black beans
  • 2 garlic cloves/teaspoons garlic paste
  • Generous pinch salt
  • Pinch sugar
  • 150g / 5.3 oz chopped carrot (canned, frozen or fresh)
  • 1 450g / 15.9 oz chopped tomato (canned or fresh)
  • 2 tablespoons balti curry paste and 1 extra teaspoon for brushing over potatoes.
  • 1 tablespoon oil for cooking ingredients and 1 tablespoon (or 15g / 0.5 oz) oil/vegan butter for adding to the potato topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
  • Fresh coriander leaves to finish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C / gas mark 6.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan on medium heat.
  3. Cook onions for 5–10 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic, chopped carrots and Balti spice, salt and sugar. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add your carlin peas (or legume of choice) and stir.
  5. Add your tomatoes.
  6. Finely layer your potato slices on top of the beans. Season each layer with a little salt.
  7. Brush your top layer of potatoes with oil or dot with vegan butter and season again with the Balti spice mix and a little salt.
  8. Cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour.
  9. Uncover and cook for another 20 minutes.
  10. Take your hotpot out the oven and sprinkle with a few fresh coriander leaves if using.

There you have it! Melt in the mouth, comforting, vegan, lightly spiced hotpot. For a comforting family meal serve your Balti vegetable hotpot in its pot at the table with greens and some tangy mango chutney. I also love it with some minty mushy peas as part of a vegan ‘chippy tea’. 

Pease Pudding and Roasted Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie

This un-traditional Lancashire Hotpot recipe is vegan and Is cooked with delicious Balti spices.

My vegan pease pudding and roasted vegetable shepherd’s pie is healthy, delicious, and perfect for autumn evenings. 

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