A vegetarian Indian take on the British classic pie. Delicious and very satisfying.
Heat the vegetable oil and add the onion, cardamom pods and bay leaves. Cook until the onion is starting to colour at the edges. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
Using a stick blender, blend the chunk of ginger and the garlic with a little water until smooth. Separately blend the tomatoes until smooth. Add the ginger and garlic paste to the onion and cook gently. Once the garlic has started colour, add the tomatoes, tomato purée and the remaining spices and seasoning. Cook over a medium-high flame, stirring occasionally, until the masala has thickened, looks like a tomato paste and releases oil back into the pan. Taste, it should be harmonious with no sharp notes. Add the mince and stir-fry for three to four minutes. Now pour in 400ml of water, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add the peas after three minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, making sure you have added a good pinch of black pepper, and add lemon juice if it needs it. Stir in the chopped coriander and turn off the heat.
Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a pan of cold water, bring to the boil and cook until just tender to the point of a knife. Drain well and allow them to dry off in the pan for a minute. Using a potato ricer or masher, mash well, add the butter, milk and cheese and mash and stir until amalgamated; I like mine a little lumpy. Season to taste, adding lots of black pepper.
Spoon the mince evenly into an ovenproof, table-ready, dish. Pipe or spoon on the mash to cover, decorate as you like (not at all, or with the tines of a fork). If you would like a golden finish, dot the surface with small cubes of butter.
Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden. Serve hot.
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