Vegan Balti

Here is my recipe for a vegan curry - it is a British style “wet” curry: Although it has Indian origins, I am told no self-respecting Indian person would ever eat this! I believe the word “Balti” means bucket - the dish was formulated for the British market by basically slinging lots of ingredients together. It is a really good way of using up left-over vegetables, or of getting a vegetable “hit” if you feel down - hence the ingredients list can be easily adapted and you’ll still get good results :smiley: . A good hot curry is said to stop you getting colds and flu.


  • 2-4 tbsp of vegetable ghee (or other oil for frying)
  • 1 onion
  • A tin of plum tomatoes and/or Tomatoe puree
  • 1tsp cornflour (optional)
  • Soy creem or fake yoghurt or mango chutney (optional)
  • Lots of mixed vegetables: I would use a couple of handfuls of chopped mushrooms, a chopped pepper, frozen garden peas, a large carrot (sliced) and some broccoli or cauliflower florets. You could also used diced tofu, soy mince or TVP pieces, or lentils or chickpeas.
  • Some hot curry powder or paste (balti or madras, or vindaloo if you feel adventerous) - strength varies between brands, so try 2 tsp, and add more to taste. If you cannot get a curry powder, use 1tsp chilli powder, 1tsp paprika, 1tsp cumin, 1cm chopped ginger, a couple of crushed garlic cloves, and 1-2tsp garam massala (if available).
  • Coriander (fresh if possible)


  1. If you have vegetables that need boiling (root veg, broccoli, frozen peas), bring a pan of salted water to the boil and parboil them.

  2. Gently heat the vegetable ghee in a deep-sided frying pan, and fry the onions until soft. If you are using other veg that needs frying (mushrooms, peppers, tofu) fry that too.

  3. Add the curry powder or paste to the frying pan, and gently fry for a couple of minutes to allow the flavours to infuse. Be careful not to burn the spices.

  4. Add the tinned tomatoes and/or tomatoe puree, and about a cup of water (more if you are only using the puree). Add the boiled veg and/or soy mince. There should be enough liquid to simmer all the vegetables.

  5. Simmer gently for half an hour (or longer!) - the longer you leave it the more the flavour will develop :slight_smile: Check regularly, to make sure it does not boil dry! And add more water as necessary.

  6. While you are waiting, prepare a side dish. You could make a salad with fresh chopped onions, coriader and lemon juice, or some basmati rice, or a naan bread (check to make sure it hasn’t been made with yoghurt or butter), and/or a traditional side dish like Sag Aloo (spinage and potato), Brindal Bhaji (Aubergine spiced fritters), Bombay Potatoes or a Vegetable Samosa - there are plenty of recipes for these on the web. Or you could be a total Brit and eat it with chips and lager :smiley:

  7. The curry is ready when it has turned into a thick sauce, and the vegetables are very soft. Add a handful of chopped coriander before removing from the heat. If the curry is still a little watery, thicken it by adding a teaspoon of cornflour dissolved in a little cold water.

8) As a finishing touch, you can stir in an extra dollop of ghee for a very rich dish. Some people like to stir in cream or yoghurt (or vegan alternatives) to “cool” the dish a little, or use mango chutney or a dash of lemon juice. Or you could garnish with more chopped coriander, a fried half of tomato, or some thinly sliced (and de-seeded) chillis.

Is the recipe very different without vegetable ghee? I remember when I was vegetarian I’ve tried butter ghee in a curry and it didn’t differ much from a carry on standard here refined sunflower oil.

If you were to make a very rich curry, the taste would be slightly different, and as the curry cooled it would become a little creamier. The vegetable ghee I have has quite a distinctive flavour, but is easily overpowered by the other ingredients.

I often make it with a little sunflower oil instead, as it is much healthier :slight_smile: You may need to use a little cornflour to thicken the curry (or some other thickener?), but it works very well 8)