Burns Night recipes - with a twist

Robert Burns. Picture: Contributed
Robert Burns. Picture: Contributed
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HAGGIS may be the traditional Burns Supper fare, but preparing it in the time-honoured fashion needn’t be a prerequisite for a 25 January gathering.

For a post-modern update on the bard’s birthday dinner, take some inspiration from the cuisine of other countries – after all, Burns Night is one of Scotland’s most beloved exports, so why not import a few recipes in return, for a celebration here at home?

With its long-established Scottish diaspora, Hong Kong is an enthusiastic Burns Supper outpost. Repay the compliment by trying some haggis dim sum as a starter – like these potsticker dumplings.

The next destination on the culinary tour is Mexico, with haggis nachos also making an ideal first course – just substitute haggis for the more oft-seen chilli con carne, piled on to corn chips with the usual accoutrements of sour cream, salsa or pico de gallo, guacamole, melted cheese and chillies or jalapeños. If you really do need a recipe to make nachos, you’ll find one here.

London’s finest food emporium Fortnum & Mason claims to have invented the humble Scotch egg, but then so does Yorkshire, and with India and North Africa also reported as its place of origin, the moniker is most definitely a misnomer, making a Scotch egg made with haggis in place of sausage an exotic enough addition to the menu.

Sticking with India, haggis pakora have become a mainstay in Scotland’s curry houses – make your own with this recipe – while traditional Vietnamese summer rolls made with one rather non-traditional ingredient might be one Scots Asian-fusion appetiser your guests haven’t tried yet.

Moving on to the main course – and a part of the world with among the most sizeable of populations of Scottish descent, where Burns Night might just be celebrated with even more enthusiasm than it is in Scotland – take inspiration from the good ole US of A, with this instructive blog post on preparing haggis sliders (or mini burgers, as they were known as recently as 2013) or this recipe for the dish du jour with a less ubiquitous Scottish twist: Irn-Bru pulled pork.

While Italy may not have much in the way of a Scots diaspora, Scotland is certainly home to a sizeable Italian community, well-known for having made an immeasurable contribution to its adopted country’s culinary culture. For a Highland homage to a Mediterranean classic, try this haggis lasagne.

We Scots have never needed much help finding ways to eat sweets, so forego the foreign influence for dessert and take inspiration from home turf, with these Irn-Bru cupcakes or, for the (slightly) more sophisticated Burns soirée, this sorbet, which could also be served as a palate cleanser between main course and pudding.

South Americans have been adding spices and chilli to chocolate for thousands of years, a practice which inspired one Scottish chocolatier to extract the spices used in making haggis and add them to her truffle recipe – perfect for your Burns Night petits fours.


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