Shepherd’s Pie with Garam Masala

IMG_2316You know what you should do this weekend? You should totes make Shepherd’s Pie and then freeze it in individual portions (see above – I know that frozen condensation is so appetizing) and then have it for the rest of the week for dinner. You will thank your past self when Monday comes and your realize you have NO resolve to cook anything and yet don’t want to spend money on eating out. Yeah, you know what I’m sayin’.

This time I took pictures of the process. Enjoy!

IMG_2269Mash bit.

IMG_2270Ground meat and onions bit.

IMG_2271Ground meat and onions post masala inclusion.

IMG_2273AND done.

Mashed potato topping
800 gm potatoes
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg

Minced lamb bottom layer
2 tablespoons canola/vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp ginger-garlic paste
600 gm ground lamb
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsps meat curry powder*
1 Tbsp chili powder*
1/2 Tbsp jeera/cumin powder*
1/4 Tbsp garam masala*
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup frozen peas

Clean the potatoes and cut into four pieces. Boil until tender and remove skin.

While the potatoes are still hot put the butter in it so it melts, add the whipping cream, salt and pepper and mash until smooth. Stir in egg until well combined (Confession: I didn’t realize it was supposed to be just the egg yolk until I started typing up this post)

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.

Put the canola oil in a pan over medium high heat. Once the oil simmers, add the onion and brown. Add the ginger-garlic and stir to combine. Add the lamb, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes.

Add the spices: meat curry powder, chili powder, jeera powder and garam masala and cook for like a minute.

Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste and chicken broth and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

Add the peas to the lamb mixture and cook for another minute.

I spread the lamb mixture evenly into an 8 by 8 baking dish – you should choose a bigger one because mine totally spilled over and made everything greasetastic.

Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula.

Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown.

Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

*This amount can be doubled for a spicier pie.
**Adapted from Alton Brown’s Shepherd’s Pie.

I make ugly food & it TASTES SO GOOD

The food I make is partly inspired by my Mom’s cooking, partly inspired by the contents of my refrigerator and sometimes inspired by THE INTERNET. Here’s a rundown of some dishes I’ve cooked from recipes found on some of my favorite food blogs and websites. I’ve also included the pictures and links to the originals JUST so you can see how desperately I need a new camera. Mine are first. Obviously.

Nutty Cranberry GranolaShutterbean


This actually turned out really well except that the oats got a bit too overdone. But honestly, they taste kickass with any kind of milk and are super filling and good for breakfast.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pancakes (Vegan)Top With Cinnamon

pancakes Chocolate-Chip-Cookie-Pancakes-049-18

This recipe make super heavy pancakes but they’re quite good and you feel weirdly healthy when you eat them. What the recipe doesn’t tell you is that it sticks to the pan like crazy if you use normal vegetable oil. So you know that’s cool if you don’t mind destroyed pancakes. Or you could use coconut oil which is recommended.

Pineapple Upside Down CakeNigella

pineapple cake

This cake is a classic. It is easy and always turns out good. Mine looks a little different because I don’t do maraschino cherries and it also tasted different because I used pineapple slices in syrup. Don’t do it. Get pineapple juice and use that instead.

Green Chili ChickenSingapore Shiok

green chilli chicken

Okay this was ugly and it didn’t taste so good. Was it something I did? Personally I think it wasn’t a very good recipe.

The Reset Button SaladShutterbean


I HAD to make this salad when I saw it. Unfortunately my version didn’t have spring onions because Fairprice decided to run out. Wow the contrast of how bad my salad looks next to the original is shocking. But it tasted awesome!

So get cooking this weekend and make some ugly, tasty food!

Easy Vegetarian Lasagna

I have to say I’m feeling good. You know why? Coz I made lasagna. And not only that I did it without my usual OCD way of following a recipe so closely that I have a breakdown anytime something doesn’t go exactly, according to plan.

Veggie Lasagna

I have been jonesing for lasagna for awhile but was also feeling like I didn’t want to eat dairy OR meat (no idea why – I call it “temporary veganism”) so when I came across this dairy free pasta recipe at the Minimalist Baker I was like hells yes. But then I couldn’t find the oversized shells the recipe called for and that’s how the idea of a lasagna version of this pasta was born. It’s also why I was forced to actually change a recipe. *Breathe in*

8 sheets of no precooking lasagna sheets (I used Barilla but I bought them before I found out about certain homophobic comments their CEO recently made – so I helpfully suggest you choose another brand)
1 1/2 block of tau kwa/tofu
2 Tbsp basil based pesto
2 pearl eggplants cut into 1/4 inch rounds
olive oil
2 cups of spaghetti sauce (I bought Prego Traditional Spaghetti Sauce)

Sprinkle eggplant rounds with sea salt and rub with olive oil. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees Celcius for 20 minutes (turn over after 10 minutes) until brown on both sides. Set aside.

Combine the tofu and pesto in a food processor and pulse until crumbly. In this recipe the tofu acts as the cheese.

Using an 8 by 8 inch pan, generously ladle like half a cup of spaghetti sauce on the bottom. Put two sheets of lasagna on top – then top with a layer of the tofu/pesto mixture and then top with some eggplant. I suggest using about a third of the mixture and eggplants since that’s the number of layers you’re gonna do.

Ladle some of the spaghetti sauce on top of the topping. I have no idea exactly how much BECAUSE I DIDN’T MEASURE. So use your judgment and be generous since these no pre-cook lasagna sheets need a decent amount of liquid.

Repeat with the lasagna sheets – tofu/pesto mixture – eggplant until done. After putting on the two sheets on top with spaghetti sauce and not the mixture and eggplant because you should have finished it by now.

Bake in the oven at 180 degrees Celcius for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before eating.

*This lasagna isn’t SUPER tasty since it’s a little bland. But it hits the spot and it’s somewhat healthy. And it’s vegetarian! YAAY!

Channa Masala

This is like my fall back recipe. It’s my – hello I have no more creativity juices when it comes to food but want something spicy and that vaguely reminds me of home. Which is why during my undergrad I would make this every week and just keep it in the fridge. It’s kind of nutritious and tastes fairly good. It’s also cheap and doesn’t spoil easily. Oh yeah – you WANT this.


Channa Masala Dinner

2 cans of chickpeas (500gm) – drained
1 onion – thinly sliced or diced
2 Tbsp ginger garlic paste (paste of 2 parts ginger, 1 part garlic – make at home or buy at Mustafa)
4 Tbsp curry powder (I use Baba’s Meat Curry Powder – any generic curry powder should do)
1 Tbsp chilli powder
1/2 Tbsp jeera powder (ground cumin)
1/4 Tbsp garam masala
1/4 cup tamarind juice
1 tomato – cubed
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 cup water
2 Tbsp oil (I’ve used both sunflower and extra virgin olive and both have been fine)
1 tsp salt

Heat the oil in a medium sized pot over a medium low flame.

Brown the onions. When done add the ginger garlic paste and fry until brown – keep a close watch because it burns easily.

When brown add the curry powder, chilli powder, jeera powder and garam masala (henceforth referred to as masala). Stir vigorously until cooked (oil will ooze out a bit). If necessary add more oil.

Add chickpeas and stir until the masala is even distributed. Add 1 cup water. Cook for 5-10 minutes.

Mash approximately 1/3 of the chickpeas mixture with the back of your spoon (this will act as the gravy).

Add the tamarind juice. Cook until it boils.

Add the diced tomato. Cook until the tomato is cooked (mushy-ish). Add ketchup.

Add salt, stir and you’re done!

Serve with rice or some other carb equivalent. Here I ate it with baked sweet potatoes and a cabbage salad. YUM. Disgustingly healthy stuff.

*This is a DiniBlini TM recipe 🙂