Saturday, September 21, 2013

Poached Pears

To go along with the Butter Chicken and Samosa Shepherd’s Pie last night, I whipped up some poached pears for dessert.

  • 250mL yogurt, strained on muslin for a couple hours (may not matter, it drained only a bit)
  • 1T brown sugar
  • 1/2t mace (or nutmeg)

Whisk well to combine. Set aside.


Peel, halve and core 4 pears.

In medium saucepan, combine:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 star anise
  • 1/8t cardamom
  • 1/4t cinnamon
  • Pinch salt

Bring to simmer. Add pears. Turning regularly, poach evenly, about ten or 15 minutes. Cook down liquid to a syrup.

Serve a dollop of the yoghurt mixture with a pear half and a spoonful of the syrup.


Indian Butter Chicken & Samosa Shepherd’s Pie

What happens when you make a makhani gravy with ground chicken and top it with a potato-based samosa, then bake it a la a Shepherd’s Pie? Something amzing. I was inspired to make this when picking out the insides of a samosa to avoid the wheat & gluten wrapper with a helping of butter chicken.

You’ll want to have a lot going in parallel when making this or it may take you all day. Get the chicken started, and while waiting for various things to cook down prep the samosa topping.


  • 4 medium Dutch cream potatoes, peeled, quartered.

Pressure cook at high for 10 minutes, elevated out of the water so that the steam cooks them. (Alternatively, boil, or bake; whatever you want to get them ready to mash.) Remove, and roughly mash. Add in:

  • 2t ghee
  • 1/2t cumin
  • 1t ginger paste
  • 1 green chilli, minced
  • 2t chat masala
  • 1/4t garam masala
  • 1/2t salt


Mix well. Add:

  • 1 chopped carrot
  • About 1 cup frozen peas

Mix to combine. Set aside.



  • 2t ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 coriander roots
  • 1 large clove garlic, pressed
  • 1t salt

Sautee over low heat, taking care not to brown, until the raw garlic and onion flavour is well cooked out.

Add 1KG chicken (thigh) mince. Raise heat to medium. When beginning to brown, add:

  • 1 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 heaping t ginger paste
  • 1/4t kashmiri pepper
  • 1/4t coriander
  • 1/8t clove
  • 1/4t cinnamon
  • 1/4t cardamom
  • 1/2t cumin
  • 1/2t chilli powder
  • 1/4t garam masala
  • 1T kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 1t mace (or nutmeg as substitute)
  • 2T tomato paste
  • 400mL water (approx)
  • 2T brown sugar


Cover and let simmer on med-low heat for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavours to meld. Uncover and cook for a few more minutes to cook down most of the moisture. When getting dry add:

  • 1 handful coriander leaves, chopped
  • 250mL (1 cup) Greek yoghurt
  • 1t ghee


Cook down further until it’s still “juicy” but not sloppy wet. Add another pinch of methi, stir, and pour into a small casserole dish.


Layer samosa topping over of chicken filling. Bake at 150°C for about twenty minutes, or until the top begins to turn golden and the filling bubbles and browns around the edges.



Don’t let the poor lighting of these photos fool you. This dish is exceptional!