March 19, 2010

Keema Pie with rosti topping

Keema Pie



I’ve had a keema pie recipe from a really old issue of Delicious magazine sitting in my recipe folder for quite a while, but never got around to making it. It’s basically an Indian version of shepherds/cottage pie. What prompted me to try it was seeing another recipe in the April issue of Delicious which had a rosti topping instead of mash. Steve isn’t a huge fan of potatoes, so I consulted him on what his preference was and he decided that the rosti topping would be the lesser of two evils!



The new recipe uses lamb mince, but the old recipe uses beef mince, so it seems that they’re interchangeable. I used beef mince as that’s what I had available, but I only had 500g instead of the 750g the recipe said to use. I also substituted the 5 large skinned vine tomatoes for a tin of plum tomatoes as it was more convenient.


I only used about 1½ green chilies as they were really hot when I tasted a sample, so I also omitted the ½ teaspoon of hot chili powder as I have a tendency to make food too hot! But the finished dish wasn’t all that hot and I think using all the chili and the powder would have been OK.



I suffered really badly from the chili burning the skin on my hands, so I did a search on Google and I found the solution of rubbing salt onto my hands. I used coarse sea salt and I rubbed it on dry, which worked quite well and removed the really stinging burning sensation. But I discovered there was still some chili on my skin when I went to take my contact lenses out and my eyeballs started burning! So I used the salt again using wet hands and it seemed to have worked as it didn’t hurt when I put my contacts in this morning. So next time I will chop the garlic, ginger and chilies in my mini chopper to avoid so much contact with my skin!



We both really liked the flavour of the mince as the spices were really nice, but it was a bit too watery. Next time I will leave the lid off the pan when simmering. I would also leave out the spinach, as even though I squeezed out the water I’m sure it released more water when baking. The old keema pie recipe uses peas instead, which is a much better idea and actually more traditional.


We were both disappointed with the rosti topping as it didn’t go very crispy, even though I’d also shoved the pie under the grill. Steve thinks the sweet potato was to blame. Making this topping was sooooo much extra work and totally not worth the effort! So next time I would just use a mash potato topping, or even just serve the mince with some rice.


The recipe below is how I made it and not the actual recipe from the magazine.

  • Serves: 4
  • Takes: 1 hour 45 minutes to make
  • Oven temperature: Gas mark 6/400°F/200°C



  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Knob of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 long green chilies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon hot chili powder
  • 500g beef mince
  • 300ml beef stock (I used Knorr Touch of Taste)
  • 400g tin peeled plum tomatoes, discard the juice
  • 200g spinach
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 medium potato, coarsely grated
  • 1 medium sweet potato, coarsely grated
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced



  1. Heat 2 Tablespoons of the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion, season well and fry until softened. Add the finely garlic, ginger and green chilies and fry for a couple of minutes.
  2. In a separate pan, dry-fry the cumin and coriander seeds until fragrant, then crush in a pestle and mortar with the turmeric and chili powder until finely ground. Add to the onion mixture and fry for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the mince, increase the heat and fry for about 10 minutes until the meat is brown, Drain off the excess fat, then add the stock and tomatoes, breaking them up as you mix them in. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the meat is cooked and the sauce has thickened slightly (remove the lid if it’s too watery).
  4. Put the spinach in a colander over a large saucepan and pour over a kettle of boiling water, then refresh in cold water. Squeeze out the excess water. Stir through the curry with the lemon juice and garam masala and season to taste.
  5. Put the pan of hot water that you used to wilt the spinach on the heat and bring back to the boil, then place the potato, sweet potato and onion into it and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain, then tip into a clean tea towel and squeeze out all the excess liquid. Place in a bowl and toss with the remaining oil and season.
  6. Tip the keema into a large ovenproof dish and top with the blanched rosti topping.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes at Gas mark 6/400°F/200°C until the rosti is golden on top – place under a hot grill for 5 minutes if it’s still not brown enough!



  • This dish can be frozen at stage 6. Bake for 40 minutes from frozen at Gas mark 6/400°F/200°C.


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