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Spiced Shepherd’s Pie – Kheema Purr Batata

by Cyrus Todiwala from Simple Spice: 120 easy Indian recipes with just 10 spices (Mitchell Beazley)

Kheema (Spiced Mincemeat) is a much-loved staple food throughout the subcontinent, even at breakfast, when it is combined with eggs & tomatoes. Of course, it is almost mixed into cooked rice, baked (as in this pie) or enjoyed with soft rolls, bread or chapattis. It can even be used as a vol-au-vent filling. Serve this pie with the vegetables of your choice.

Serves 4-6


Red Chilli Powder 1 tsp

Garam Masala ½ tsp (see recipe below, or use shop bought)

Ground Turmeric ½ tsp

Ground Coriander 2 tsp

Ground Cumin 1 tsp

Water 200ml (7fl oz)

Sunflower Oil 3 tbsp

Ginger & Garlic Paste 2 tbsp (see recipe below)

Fresh Green Chillies 4-5, chopped

Onions 2, chopped

Lean Minced Lamb, Mutton or Goat 500g (1lb 2oz) (Nigel substituted 200g of Macsween’s Haggis for 200g of the lamb)

Lime Juice from ½ lime

Chopped Fresh Coriander 1 heaped tbsp


For The Topping

Floury Potatoes 400g (14oz), roughly cubed

Butter 15-30g (½ - 1oz)

Cumin Seeds ½ tsp

Fresh Green Chilli 1 finger-type, finely chopped

Freshly Ground Black Pepper ½ tsp

2-3 egg yolks (optional)


Combine the dried spices in a small bowl & mix with the measured water. Cover & set aside.

Heat a flameproof casserole dish & add the oil. When a haze forms, add the Ginger & Garlic Paste & green chillies. Sauté, stirring well to prevent sticking. Once the paste becomes pale & aromatic, add the onions & continue to sauté over a low heat until they are reduced almost to a pulp. You might need to add a little water now & then to deglaze the bottom of the pan.

Stir the soaked spices, adding a little more water to the bowl if they are stuck to the sides, then add to the onions. Sauté until the oil emerges, adding a little water again if the mixture shows signs of sticking.

Turn off the heat & add the minced meat, breaking it up with a spatula & combining it thoroughly. I sometimes add a little water to help this process along. Return the pan to the heat & cook gently, stirring regularly, for 20-25 minutes, until the minced meat is cooked. Add salt to taste, then stir in the lime juice & fresh coriander.

While the meat is simmering, preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. When boiling, add some salt & the potatoes, & cook for about 8-10 mins, until tender. Drain well, then return the potatoes to the pan & place them over a low heat, stirring with a wooden spatula from the bottom up until they look dry, slightly crushed & fluffy. Mash well. Put the butter & cumin seeds on a board & chop them together. Add to the potato along with the green chilli & black pepper, & beat again until creamy. (For extra richness, you can add more butter or the egg yolks, if you wish).

Tip the meat mixture into a deep pie dish & spoon the mashed potato on top. Spread it out using the back of a fork to give the topping character. Place in the oven for 12-15 mins, turning the dish from time to time so that the top browns evenly. Serve immediately.


Chopped tomatoes can be added to the minced meat if you wish (3-4 should be enough).

To give them meat a lovely sheen, add 3 tablespoons tomato ketchup & cook until it is absorbed.

For the Garam Masala


Green Cardamom Pods 6-8, crushed & seeds extracted for use

Cinnamon Stick 2 x 7.5cm (3in) pieces

Cloves 5-6

Cumin Seeds 1 tbsp

Coriander Seeds 2 tbsp

Black Peppercorns 1 tsp


Preheat the oven to 130C/260F/Gas Mark ¾. Place all the spices on a baking tray & place on the middle shelf of the oven for 10-12 minutes. After this time, turn off the oven, leaving the tray for another 20 mins. Remove the spices from the oven & allow to cool.

Transfer the spice mixture to a grinder or mortar & whizz or pound to a fine powder. If using a grinder & it gets too hot, the powder will stick to the edges of the bowl, so every now & again loosen the coarse pieces of spice from the sides, then grind some more. Transfer the powder to a sterilized small airtight jar & store in the refrigerator.

Ginger & Garlic Paste - Adrak Aur Lehsum Masala

This is a very useful paste as garlic & ginger are so often used in Indian recipes. The important thing is to work with equal weights of ginger & garlic. Whatever amount you want to make those listed below are just examples. The larger your blender, the more you will need in order for the blades to process it efficiently.

Makes 250g (8oz)


Garlic 115g (4oz) roughly chopped

Fresh Root Ginger 115g (4oz) peeled & roughly chopped

Oil (any except olive oil) about 2 tbsp, plus extra for preserving


Put the garlic & ginger into a blender, add the oil & add a dash of water & whizz to a purée. If too thick, add more water & a little more oil until you get a smooth consistency.

Transfer the paste to a container, cover with a layer of oil to preserve, seal tightly & store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. Use as needed, always using a dry spoon & keeping the rim of the container clean. If the paste begins to dry out, pour some oil over the top before resealing.

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