Monday, January 4, 2010

Indian Style Shepard's Pie

My first taste of curry was instant love. In the small town I grew up in we had a large South Asian community and one very good indian restaurant. Unfortunately the man that owned it Both my parents are crazy for curry and I was always willing to be an utter angel just to go to this restaurant for dinner where I would be ungraciously tolerated(he literally would glare at me the whole meal). This did not dim my enthusiasm. One of my most cherished childhood memories was at Expo 86' in Vancouver where I considered the whole experience an eat around the world festival. Cheese at the France pavilion,Sauerkraut and Schnitzel at the German pub and a highly prized tin of excellent curry powder from the Sri Lankan pavilion(my Mom still has the gorgeous tin).

For me winter's cold demands indian flavours this dish combines ubiquitous yellow curry powder with other indian flavours like coconut, cinnamon & almonds. The play of salty and sweet is duly honored in this dish- which I lovvvvve ! My small person enjoys this and my feeling with kids and curry .. is dish it out early and dish it out often. An easy way to start introducing curry to the unexposed is added to mayo for dip with fries- I still dig this !

OK the only resemblance this dish actually has to Shepard's Pie is that there is ground beef on the bottom,mashed starchy tuber on top and you bake it. It is still comfort food, easy to prepare, easy to reheat and enjoy tomorrow. Delicious, healthy, big flavoured real food !

Indian Style Shepard's Pie

  • 2 large yams peeled, halved and sliced into 1 inch chunks
  • 1lb lean ground beef (sub turkey or chicken)-preferably organic or of known origin*
  • half a yellow onion diced
  • 1inch of peeled minced ginger approx.1 tbles
  • 2 large cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup raisins- use less if you are not a huge fan
  • 1 packed cup of fresh baby or chopped large leaf spinach
  • 1/3 cup of dried unsweetened fine coconut
  • 1/4 cup of whole almonds -which you will fresh pound in a mortar & pestle(or other vessel) to a rough powder
  • 1 tsp total of fine salt ( half for the yams after mashing and half for the meat mix)
  • 1 tbles yellow curry powder- check if it contains salt ! and adjust salt accordingly
  • 1 heaping 1/2 tsp of Ceylon cinnamon powder - Cinnamomum zeylanicum-medicine !
  • 1 tbles + 1 1/2 tsp of virgin coconut oil -the kind that smells of glorious coconut !
  • pinch or two of cardamom powder -which will be added to the almond meal
  • pinch of salt -also added to the almond meal
You could substitute cooked millet(or tofu) for the meat in this dish to make it totally vegan

*Meat of known origin or MOKO is from the this blog Great Resolution Alex !

All the health benefits you may have heard about cinnamon are about real (true) cinnamon Cinnamomum zeylanicum

In a large pot cover the yams with water and boil until fork tender approx 20 minutes on med- high heat. Preheat oven to 375 F
Meanwhile to a hot pan add 1 1/2 tsp of virgin coconut oil and onion cook over med-low heat till translucent(do not brown), stir in garlic and ginger cook for 1 min, then stir in curry powder and 1/2 tsp of salt, increase heat to med, add meat and cook through so no pink is left. Remove from heat and add raisins and spinach.
Drain yams very well, mash till smooth add in the 1tbles coconut oil ,coconut, 1/2 tsp of salt and cinnamon then blend well.
In a bread loaf pan firmly press down meat mixture in a single layer then evenly spread mashed yam mixture on top. Freshly crush almonds into a rough meal(you can do this in a mortar and pestle or in a bag) add in cardamom and salt. Sprinkle this evenly on to the top of the yams.

Place on center rack in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes.Then broil on high for 1-2 minutes keeping on eye on it just so almonds lightly toast. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 -10 mins. Makes 4 servings- Hope you love it as much as I do!


Laura said...

You have just blown my MIND!! Love the idea of creepy glaring rest. owner. Haha we still get that here we get stuck in the WORST tables when we go w/kids or worse separate rooms.

So adding this to my menu next week.

Dylan said...

I believe Grant Achatz said this (I may be wrong), and I subscribe to it: curry is the most versatile spice out there.

Well done, looks incredible!

Organic Brewmaster said...

OK I finally made this wonderfully yummy dish. The second time was better, so my two suggestions that improved it are: First, use one large yam, not two.; Second, double up on the spices in the lamb, and braise lamb with some dark beer (I used my organic chocolate stout) for a while to deglaze pan and add some malty sweetness. I also used Panko bread crumbs instead of almonds because I was out of almonds....good substitute.

Megan Carroll said...

My memory of expo 86 was the swiss pavilion, the indoor ski hill and the chocolate! I just took my four yr olds to an indian restaurant where we were stared down by the waitresses... Ah what we do for a good curry...

Megan Carroll said...

Also Laura, this may show up on a meatless monday if I can tweak it... I am thinking lentils?

Cookin' Canuck said...

What a wonderful take on Shepherd's Pie! Healthy and decadent all at the same time. I will be in Victoria next week and am thinking about driving up to visit your farm.