When I got a mail reminding me that there was a Pot Pie event on, I realized that I didn’t know what exactly a pot pie was. After due research (where else but on the internet), I understood a pot pie to be a pie, usually single serving size, with a savoury filling in a sauce made of flour, butter and milk (roux). The pie may or may not have a bottom crust but definitely would have a crust on top.
Now the idea of a pie with a semi-liquid filling didn’t sound very appealing to me as it seemed I could end up with a soggy crust. So I decided to make a pot pie without the sauce but with a spicy Indian style vegetable filling. I found a great recipe for a pie crust using oil instead of butter. The crust turned out crisp and flaky, really good. The pie was tasty but a bit dry (because I made it without the sauce, of course) and this filling could be made with the roux, if preferred. I think I now understand the idea behind the sauce in a pot pie!
I also made a few mini pies with this recipe using my muffin cups. These turned out to be nice snack idea.
For the crust: 2/3 cup oil (preferably olive oil, I used a sunflower + rice bran oil mix) 2 cups all purpose flour 1 cup whole wheat flour ½ cup ice cold water 1 tbsp white vinegar 1 tsp salt 1 tsp baking powder
For the filling: 1 onion, finely chopped 1 tomato, finely chopped 2 potatoes, boiled and mashed 1 ½ cups vegetables of choice, chopped (I used yard long beans, carrots, green peas and cauliflower) ½ cup cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas) ½ cup paneer (cottage cheese), crumbled 1 tsp ginger- garlic paste ¼ tsp turmeric powder 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder 1 ½ tsp coriander powder 1 tsp cumin powder 1 tsp garam masala (this is available in Indian stores) salt to taste 1 tbsp oil
For the Crust: Place the oil in the freezer for about 3 hours or till the oil becomes thick like honey. Place all the ingredients in the food processor and pulse till it comes together into a ball. Remove, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for about an hour. Roll out the refrigerated dough, lightly dusting with flour if necessary, and place in your pie pot. Here, as I was making 3 individual servings of pot pie, I divided the dough into three and then divided each portion into two, one larger portion for the bottom crust and a smaller portion for the top crust. Roll out the dough for the bottom crust and place in the pie dish. Bake blind at 190C for about 15 minutes till cooked and is beginning to brown. I did this as I didn’t want to end up with a soggy crust.
Heat the oil add the ginger-garlic paste, then onions and sauté the onions till soft. Now add the tomatoes and cook till soft. Add the turmeric, chilli, coriander and cumin powders and stir till the raw smell disappears. Add the vegetables, garbanzo beans and salt and stir till everything is well coated with the spices. Add ¾ cup of water and then the mashed potatoes and the garam masala. Stir and simmer for about 5 minutes. Lastly add the crumbled paneer. Stir well and shut off the flame. The filling should be wet but not have any liquid in it.
Assembling the Pot Pie: Put the filling into the baked crust and cover with rolled out dough for the upper crust and seal well. Bake at 190C for 15 – 20 minutes till brown. The pot pie may be glazed with egg before putting it into the oven for a browner crust, if you would prefer. This recipe was sufficient for 3 pot pies. If there is left over filling (keeps refrigerated for a day), it can be used to make fritters or as filling for grilled sandwiches.
I shall stick to making the muffin cup snack version rather than the pot pie version as that was preferred by the family. Serve warm with a sweet and sour tamarind chutney.