RECIPE – Spicy shepherd’s pie


My son loves this Indian version of shepherd’s pie. Created by my friend Devagi Sanmugam, it’s ideal if you want a spicy kick and an Asian flavor, and it’s a guaranteed success as a pot luck contribution. If you like this, check out more of Devagi’s recipes at

I skipped the cheese and substituted the chopped tomatoes with a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce because I wasn’t sure how many days it would sit in my son’s fridge, but it was still delicious.

Photo: Bernard Koh


Preparation:     20 minutes

Cook:              30 minutes

Serves              4

To make the keema

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely pounded

2 sprigs curry leaves

120g finely chopped onions

2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste

250g chopped tomatoes

500g minced mutton (or meat of your choice)

1 teaspoon salt

50g meat curry powder

300g water

200g frozen mixed vegetables

1 tablespoon lime juice

Chopped coriander leaves to garnish

To make spiced potato topping

750g potatoes, scrubbed and boiled till cooked

200g milk

80g butter

1 tablespoon cooking oil

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

2 sprigs curry leaves, shredded

2cm ginger, minced

1¼ teaspoon salt

100g grated cheese


  1. Heat the cooking oil in a wok on medium heat
  2. Add the fennel and fry until aromatic. Add onions and fry till a pale gold.
  3. Add ginger and garlic pastes and fry for 1 minute, and add the tomatoes. Saute till the tomatoes soften.
  4. Add minced meat, salt, mixed vegetables, water and curry powder.
  5. Simmer till mutton is cooked and gravy is thick.
  6. Turn the fire off, add lime juice and stir.
  7. Place cooked keema in individual oven-proof dishes or a large pie dish.
  8. To make the potato topping – boil and mash the potatoes coarsely with milk and butter.
  9. Heat oil or ghee and fry the mustard and cumin seeds until aromatic.
  10. Add curry leaves, salt and ginger and saute till fragrant.
  11. Cover with a sprinkling of cheese and grill.

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