Hungry Hubby and I spend quite a bit of time talking about food, funnily enough. We talk about our next meal as we are eating our current one and I don’t think we’ve ever planned a day out, or a weekend for that matter, without giving proper consideration to where and what we will eat.
Which is probably why we both need a thorough beasting by a personal trainer twice a week!
Hungry Hubby is really good at suggesting things I haven’t thought about making and I think he came up with a genius idea this time. We were both in the mood for a pie (cheese and onion for me, steak for Hungry Hubby) but our local pie shop didn’t have any :O So in the absence of a pastry cased slab of comfort, between the two of us, we came up with my Instant Pot Keema Pie.
If you aren’t familiar with Ye Olde British cooking, this will take a little explanation. Really, this Keema Pie is more of a pudding but I thought my non-English readers may be slightly confused as pudding is most commonly taken to mean something sweet these days, so pie it is.
It’s a very traditional British dish made with suet pastry, the twist being that I have added some nigella and fennel seeds to the pastry (like I do in my naan bread) and filled the case with keema – a homely Indian dish of minced lamb cooked with a selection of gentle spices. We Brits adore Indian food and you’ll find many varieties of pies filled with all sorts of curried dishes up and down the country, in shops and pubs alike.
It’s very much a rib-sticking dinner, is a suet pudding, and perfect for colder weather. It’s comforting and filling and as you will see, very economical to make. Suet pastry is the easiest of all pastries to make and handle and to convince you that you need to try it, I’ve made a little video to show you how to make the pie with it here:
See how easy it is to handle? You can be quite firm with it and it will be no worse off for it so if pastry worries you, this is a great place to start. Suet puddings/pies are usually cooked on the hob in a steamer but this pie would take a whopping 2.5 hours to cook that way! Thanks to the Instant Pot, it can be cooked in 50 minutes. And it cooks beautifully after a steam then a quick pressure cook to finish it off with. The self-raising flour gives a lightness and the steamed suet gives a wonderful flakiness to the pastry and it rises beautifully on cooking. Be generous with your foil pleating!
Keema is a lovely soothing Indian dish which is fast to whip up (8 minutes in the Instant Pot!) and it has delicate spicing with little or no chilli in it. I add some here as a seasoning so the meat stands up to the hearty pastry. A wisp of cinnamon brings warmth and I personally always add some dried mint as it bares beautifully with both the lamb and the peas. It’s a great bridge between the British and Indian ingredients in this dish. Pies and puddings like these are served traditionally with mash and peas, and plenty of gravy.
For my Keema Pie, I went with cumin and fennel carrots which I steamed then finished in the oven and I gave my mashed potatoes an Indian flare with some turmeric, garam masala and finished that with some spices and garlic that had been tempered in butter and a little oil. There aren’t masses of gravy here but there are enough juices from the keema and with those delicious spiced buttery puddles in the creamy, fluffy mash are more than enough to leave you completely satisfied. And looking for your sweatpants or pyjama bottoms ;)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 small red onion finely chopped
- 2 fat cloves of garlic minced
- 1 inch of fresh ginger finely chopped
- 300 g lamb mince
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 400 g can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 3 tbsp fresh coriander chopped
- 100 g frozen garden peas
- 220 g self raising flour
- 110 g suet
- 1 tsp nigella seeds kaloonji
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 125 ml cold milk
- Butter to grease with
- 1.5 lire pudding basin
- Greaseproof paper
- Tin foil
- A rubber band or string
Start by making the keema. Turn the Instant Pot onto Sauté and add the oil, when hot, add the onion and cook for a few minutes until starting to colour.
Add the lamb mince and stir very well to break it up and once there are no pink bits left, add the garlic and ginger and cook briefly before adding all the spices and dried mint.
Stir well, add the tomatoes and 3 tbsp of water only (swish the tomato tin out with it first) then turn off the Sauté function.
Put the lid on, turn vent to Sealing and set 8 minutes on Manual. When ready, do a Quick Pressure Release. Stir in the garam masala and coriander then transfer the keema to a bowl to cool to room temp.
Make the pastry by stirring the flour, suet and seeds together in a bowl then dribble in enough milk to bring it together to a smooth dough. You do need to knead suet pastry a little bit to bring it together but stop once smooth. Flour the work top and leave it to one side for 5-10 minutes before rolling out into a circle 0.5 cm thick. Cut out a quarter of the circle and reserve for the lid.
Transfer the larger piece of pastry to the greased pudding basin (make sure you take the butter all around the edge also to prevent sticking later) and push it into place firmly, pinching to seal the join. Take a little extra and form a small disk to reinforce the base (or top when it's turned out) and push it into place. Trim the excess off with a knife and use some scraps to pad out any thin areas you may have. Any leftover can be added to the pastry for the lid and re-rolled to a circle.
Mix the peas into the keema and spoon into the pastry case. Place the lid pastry over the top and press the edges down very firmly, again trimming off any excess with a knife.
Generously grease the greaseproof and place over the domed pie, topping with the foil - put a pleat in it first to allow for expansion. Use a rubber band or some string to hold them in place and crimp up the foil and paper.
Place in the (washed out!) Instant Pot on top of the trivet. Pour in enough boiling water to come up half way up the basin and firstly Steam for 20 minutes before pressing Cancel and cook for 30 minutes on Manual with a Quick Pressure Release to finish. Make sure the vent is set to sealing throughout both cooking phases.
Stand for up to 15 minutes before turning out onto a shallow bowl or dish with a lip.
You can make the keema a day ahead up to adding the peas and chill well covered overnight in the fridge, which makes this a very quick assembly job there after.
The keema also stands alone as a dinner in itself - it's so fast to cook, you never need go without your curry fix midweek ever again! Serve with steamed basmati rice and eat from a bowl, curled up in your favourite chair.... heaven :D
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