A healthy, hearty, mildly spiced curry with big bold flavours, this vegetable balti is the perfect pick me up during the middle of the week, or for a Friday night celebration. It’s a delicious dinner that will be a big hit with all the family!
So, if you’re looking for a vegetarian or vegan curry with lots of flavour and easy to source ingredients, this is the one for you!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- The spice mix is truly delicious!
- It’s a very flexible recipe that can be tweaked to your tastes.
- It’s really easy to make.
- I’ve got some incredible side dishes that go so well with this recipe.
Equipment you need for this recipe
There are a few important kitchen items you’ll need for this recipe:
- Cast iron saucepan – a quality cast iron pan is important to get the best out of your balti
- Wooden spoon – a trusty wooden spoon is key for every curry lover
- Spice grinder – if you can get a spice grinder, you definitely should! Grinding your own spices just before you cook them is even better than using ground spices
- Spice rack – if you’re a regular curry maker, a good spice rack is an absolute must
- Kitchen knife and chopping board – be sure to invest in a sharp kitchen knife and a non-slip chopping board
- Curry serving plates – the best way to serve an authentic balti
What to serve with this vegetable balti
If you want to keep things simple, go for steamed rice – the best side dish for any balti.
If you want to bring something a little different to the table, try my sweet potato rice, beetroot rice, keema rice, or pilau rice.
There are so many wonderful chutneys that go with vegetable balti. Try courgette chutney, rhubarb chutney, runner bean chutney or marrow chutney for a delicious spiced vegetable flavour on the side of your plate.
Indian cuisine has some fantastic flatbreads that can complement any balti. Here are some of my homemade favourites:
- Gluten free puri – this homemade bread is really easy to make and is an ideal side for mopping up the delicious balti juice
- Kashmiri naan – nutty and subtly sweet, kashmiri naan is ideal with afternoon tea, but goes equally well as a side for savoury dishes
- Peshwari naan – a classic Indian naan bread, peshwari naan is a simple, tasty homemade bread recipe that works perfectly with a lamb balti
Wines such as a Argentinian Malbec, German Riesling or a Sauvignon Blanc hold up really well to spices. You can also pair this balti with a Pinot Gris.
Variations to this recipe
- Make this recipe a meat-based balti by using diced chicken, minced beef or minced lamb.
- Make it spicier by adding red chilli. You can also add a little extra spice and warmth to your dish by adding an extra teaspoon of garam masala alongside the other spices. Garam masala is a blend of cinnamon, cardamom, ground mustard seeds, ground coriander seeds, cloves, mace and nutmeg. You could also add a teaspoon of standard curry powder.
- Make the balti milder by leaving out the paprika.
- Add any kind of veggie you like, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, kale, broccoli, spinach, aubergines or courgettes.
- If you prefer a sweeter taste to balance, add an extra teaspoon of brown sugar or jaggery. I do recommend using jaggery, if you can get hold of it.
- If you’re a big fan of creamy curries, you can add coconut cream or coconut milk. Use coconut milk or cream sparingly, as you don’t want to dilute the spices too much. If you prefer, you can also use a creamy yoghurt or, for a non-dairy alternative, you could use cashew milk.
- Fresh cauliflower is best for this recipe, although if you want you can use frozen cauliflower.
- You can use alternatives to butternut squash in this recipe, such as calabaza squash, pumpkin or even sweet potato.
- This recipe calls for frozen peas. You can swap them for fresh peas, or you can use any kind of beans or even chickpeas instead.
The kind of pan you cook with has a big effect on the flavour. Go for a heavy-bottomed cast iron saucepan for best results
What sauce should I use for this recipe?
This recipe calls for a base sauce which will bring a delicious authentic balti flavour to your dish.
Some balti ‘connoisseurs’ are very sniffy about the idea of using a commercial curry sauce, but there are some fantastic curry base sauces out there that are absolutely delicious and are made by family businesses who know how to make authentic curry sauces.
What is balti flavour?
Balti curries bring a slightly sweet, savoury, earthy rich flavour through a sauce that’s made up of onions, tomatoes, peppers, garlic, ginger and various spices.
Where do balti curries come from?
The very first balti curries were invented in Birmingham, England. With the emergence of Pakistani restaurants in the 1970s, new twists on authentic recipes were being created. One of the most popular of these was the balti – a medium spiced dish adapted for western tastes.
Is vegetable balti hot?
It’s not too hot – around about 4 or 5 on a scale of 10 on the heat scale. That’s because there’s no chilli – either fresh or ground chilli. Instead, the heat comes from earthy spices such as cumin, paprika and garam masala.
It’s also quite flexible, so you can add more heat by adding a teaspoon of chilli powder or some fresh chilli.
Are baltis vegan?
Yes, you can cook a balti that is made vegan, and this vegetable balti is 100% vegan friendly!
Just be sure to use a curry paste or curry sauce that is vegan.
What do you put in a vegetarian balti?
A veggie balti usually consists of a hearty main vegetable – in this case cauliflower, although you can add any kind of vegetables you like.
Common vegetables added to veggie balti include onions, peppers, butternut squash, peas, broccoli, beans, sweet potatoes and mushrooms. A spicy curry paste is usually added.
How do you store veggie balti leftovers?
The leftovers to this curry will taste even better the next day! So, all the more reason for making a big batch and keeping some for later.
Allow leftovers to cool down, then place them in an airtight container. Put the container in the fridge and store for up to four days.
Can you freeze this dish?
Absolutely! This vegetable balti freezes especially well, as there’s no cream in the ingredients.
To freeze leftovers, simply allow it to cool completely before placing it in a freezer-safe airtight container. Freeze your balti for up to six months.
More delicious curry recipes
There’s something about cooking curries that brings so much enjoyment! Once you’ve made this balti, try some of these:
- Vegetable korma – one of the most popular Indian recipes out there, this is creamy and delicious. Mildly spicy and full of flavour
- Mixed vegetable curry – this fakeaway food is packed full of flavour with a bit mix of flavours
- Brinjal bhaji – an aubergine dish that’s easy to make and full of flavour. If you’re looking for a healthy vegan curry, you can’t go wrong with this one
- Mung bean curry – full of protein and extremely good for you, this mung bean curry brings some spicy warmth and sensational flavour… and it’s completely meat-free!
- Cauliflower kurma – another delicious veggie curry that uses cauliflower as its main ingredient
- Marrow curry – a wonderful, healthy curry with fragrant spices and big bold flavours
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: 6 Servings 1x
- Diet: Vegan
A warming, mildly spiced curry with lots of tasty flavours. Easy to make for a weeknight meal, read on and learn to make this vegan Vegetable Balti!
- 30ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2.5cm (1in) fresh ginger root, grated
- 1 cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 butternut, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 500ml (2 cups) curry base sauce
- 12g (2 tbsp) ground cumin
- 19g (2 tbsp) ground turmeric
- 14g (2 tbsp) paprika
- 2 red peppers, chopped
- 2 green peppers, chopped
- 4 tomatoes, chopped
- 160g (1¼ cup) peas
- 9g (2 tbsp) garam masala
- 12g (1 tbsp) dried fenugreek leaves
- fresh coriander leaves, for garnishing
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onions for 5 minutes or until softened.
- Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for another 2 minutes.
- Tip in the cauliflower and butternut. Pour in the curry base sauce and stir in the cumin, turmeric and paprika. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the peppers, tomatoes and peas. If the curry doesn’t look saucy enough to your liking, add up to 250ml (1 cup) of water to it to give the vegetables enough liquid to cook in. Cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked and the sauce has thickened.
- Stir in the garam masala and dried fenugreek leaves, then garnish with coriander leaves. Serve immediately with your favourite Indian accompaniments. Enjoy!
- For best results, use a fresh cauliflower. Frozen cauliflower can be used though.
- Frozen peas were used in this recipe.
- If you prefer your vegetables on the crispy side, cook them for a shorter amount of time, and vice versa.
- Kasoori Methi is another name for dried fenugreek leaves, just in case you’re out shopping and can’t find it.
- Fancy other vegetables? Feel free to substitute it with other vegetables such as mushrooms, potatoes, kale, etc.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Pan Fry
- Cuisine: Indian
Keywords: vegetable balti, balti curry recipe, vegan curry recipe, vegan indian recipe, mixed vegetable curry, vegetable curry without cream, healthy vegan curry
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