This recipe is based on Rick Stein’s classic fish pie recipe but with an Indian twist. The addition of traditional Indian spices to the milk and cream mixture in which the seafood is lightly poached, and using “aloo bharta” or Indian style mashed potato for the topping bring the flavours of the sub-continent to this classic British dish. (A kind of reverse colonialism, I suppose.)
Prep time: 1hr 20 mins Cooking time: 30 minutes
3 flathead fillets (or any firm white, unsmoked fish)
1 medium size fillet of smoked cod or haddock
8-10 green prawns peeled
1 egg yolk (to brush top of mash)
300ml milk + 3 tablespoons for mash
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 finger length of ginger peeled
3 potatoes (fluffy potatoes like Desiree or King Edward)
6 cardamom pods
1.5 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cummin
handful of curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
handful of coriander leaves
1/3 cup of plain flour
Hardboil 2 eggs (about 8 minutes) then cool and cut into quarters.
Cut fish and prawns into bite-size pieces.
cut the onion in half. Stud one half with the cloves.
Place seafood, and clove studded onion in with the milk, cream, the cardamom pods, 1/2 Teaspoon of the turmeric, chilli powder, cummin powder, garlic, ginger, white pepper and half the curry leaves into a pot and bring to a boil., then simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Drain the fish mixture, reserving the milk and cream. Put the fish pieces only, not the spices, into a shallow ovenproof dish. Arrange the quarters of egg through the dish. Set aside.
Melt 50g of butter in a non-stick pan, add flour and mix through. Take off the heat and slowly add the milk/cream cooking liquid mixing to form a smooth sauce. Return to medium heat and cook gently, stirring constantly to cook out the flour and create a rich, smooth sauce.
Pour the sauce over the fish and eggs to just cover, then cool in fridge for an hour.
Whilst fish mixture is cooling….
Peel and cut the potatoes into cubes.
Bring a pot of water to the boil and add potatoes, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Cook for around 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender and ready for mashing. Drain and set aside to “dry”.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Thinly slice the other half of the onion.
Finely chop the coriander.
Melt 50g of butter in a pan, add rest of curry leaves and mustard seeds until they begin to splutter.
Add sliced onion and cook gently until translucent and golden.
Mash potatoes adding 3 tablespoons milk to create a smooth, spreadable consistency. Add the onion mixture, including the melted butter to the mash.
Add the chopped coriander. Mix through the mash.
Add salt if necessary.
Remove the fish mixture from the fridge and spread the mash carefully over the top. Score the surface with a fork, then brush with beaten egg yolk.
Place in oven for 10-15 minutes until mixture is warmed through and top is golden and crispy. (I finish off using the grill to get a really golden crunchy top if necessary)
Serve with steamed vegetables or salad.