I consider myself a born vegetarian, the reason being I grew up in a religious and traditional Hindu family who never ate any type of meat. However there were some months in the whole year my dad would demand an egg omelette and my mum had a special pan for it, she would tie her handkerchief on her nose and make a funny (and bad) face and somehow make an attempt to make it. I still remember all those episodes and looking at my poor mums face my dad gave up eating the eggs too. 😀
Even though I never ate anything non vegetarian I always had a fascination for all those delicious looking dishes. A long time ago when I was a kid, I saw a traditional Shepherd’s Pie demonstrated by Delia Smith and I wrote it down on a piece of paper as if I was going to cook it the next day. Well I did get a chance to cook it for my Carnivore husband 😉 after 10 years and he was not very chuffed with it because of course the desi tadka (Indian taste) was missing. 😛 So I created this recipe with Indian flavours and he devours it!
I like to make this pie with chicken thigh mince but you can use lamb or beef, just change the baking time.
So if you are spice lover like my husband who enjoys Western dishes with Indian touch, do give this recipe a try!
Ingredients for topping:
- 2 large or 300g desiree potatoes
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp heavy cream
- ¼ tsp nutmeg powder
- ½ tsp white pepper powder
- 2 tbsp cheddar cheese grated
- Salt to taste
- 250 g chicken thigh minced
- 1 onion finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp fresh thyme finely chopped
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp saffron soaked in 1 tsp milk
- 1 cup green peas (optional)
- ¼ cup chicken stock or water
- Salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F.
Boil the potatoes until they are mushy. Drain the potatoes after they completely cooked. While they are hot, add in the butter and whisk them with a wooden spoon. Add the cream, salt and spice powders and mix it well. The potatoes should be loose but not runny, so adjust the cream accordingly.
In a frying pan, heat butter and olive oil. Add in the garlic and let it become golden on a low flame. Add in the onions and continue to sauté till golden brown.
Add in the minced chicken and rest of the ingredients, continue to sauté for 10 minutes.
After the water dries out a bit, pour the mince in a greased baking pan.
Layer the mashed potatoes, sprinkle the cheese evenly. Bake it in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes till the top is nice and golden brown. To give this effect you can also place the pan under the broiler for 5 minutes or use a chef’s torch.
Let it stand for 5 minutes and then serve.