Aloo Palak Paneer Pie

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
aloo palak paneer pie

Pies seem to be the rage recently and I've noticed lots of cookbooks lately featuring both savory and sweet pies, sometimes mini ones and others fitting the more traditional standard. This one is adapted from a cookbook that I received to look over and I was immediately drawn to a unique take on aloo palak that incorporates the potato component of this classic Indian potato and spinach curry into a delightful crust. To make it even more interesting, I added some crumbled paneer cheese and some of my favorite spices that are always eager to greet me when I open the cupboard door.

Now, Pies and Tarts with Heart is a vegan book, but although I am quite smitten by many of the creative ideas for pies that are presented throughout the book — and adore vegan options besides — my initial complaint was the use of margarine in many of the recipes. This is not to say that I don't recommend the book, especially as oil and other alternatives could be used instead of margarine or vegetable shortening to keep it vegan. Vegetarian that I am, I substituted butter and yogurt in the crust with great success and look forward to trying more of the book's recipes, with an inspired take on the dishes that are presented between the covers.

Citrus pies, traditional pies with a vegan twist, go raw if you please, or nutty or maybe creamy, or load them up with berries, nuts, veggies or fruit. No matter your dietary preferences or cooking style, there are a good many recipes to inspire you in the kitchen in this cookbook. The writing is informative and warm, just like your favorite pies, and the book is complete with lovely photographs that will encourage numerous cooking sessions.

I know my husband and best friend enjoyed their meal immensely, as did I, especially served alongside some pappadums with an avocado pomegranate spiced dip.

Don't let the long list of ingredients intimidate you. It really is not difficult to make, especially if you plan ahead.

aloo palak pie

Aloo Palak Paneer PieAloo Palak Paneer Pie
Recipe by
Inspired by Pies and Tarts with Heart: Expert Pie-Building Techniques for 60+ Sweet and Savory Vegan Pies
Cuisine: Indian
Published on August 12, 2013

Classic tangy and spicy Indian spinach, potato and paneer cheese curry transformed into a pie with a mashed potato crust — this delicious and nourishing savory pie will make a real impression on your diners

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 75 to 80 minutes

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Potato crust:
  • 5 medium potatoes (1 1/2 lbs or 675 g), peeled
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons yogurt or milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
Spinach paneer filling:
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (optional)
  • 1 small onion or large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 2 to 3 green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac or ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon amchoor powder (optional)
  • a few pinches of asafetida
  • a few small handfuls of dried curry leaves
  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach (8 to 10 cups), trimmed and roughly chopped
  • juice from 1 lime (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup paneer cheese, grated, crumbled or mashed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon chat masala (optional)
  • Begin with the crust. Roast, boil or steam the potatoes according to preference until tender. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the butter and yogurt or milk and mash until creamy and smooth. Sprinkle in the red chili flakes, salt and pepper, and mix. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

  • Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, press the potato mixture evenly into the prepared pie plate. Cover and refrigerate until the filling is ready.

  • To make the filling, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, toss in the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds if using, and stir for 30 to 60 seconds or until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. Add the onion and stir for 2 to 3 minutes until softened. Toss in the garlic, ginger and chilies and continue to stir for another 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Stir in the ground coriander, ground cumin, sumac or nutmeg, turmeric, chili powder, cayenne, amchoor if using, asafetida and curry leaves. Cook, stirring continually, for 1 minute.

  • Now add the tomato and cook for 5 minutes or until the tomato has reduced. Add the spinach, a few handfuls at a time, stirring until wilted. Sprinkle in the lime juice and paneer and let cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Finally stir in the sea salt, garam masala and chat masala if using. Simmer for another few minutes to let the flavors mingle.

  • Preheat an oven to 350°F. Spread the filling into the prepared crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the pie is set and browned on the edges. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

  • Serve hot or warm. Cover leftover pie with aluminum foil and reheat at 300°F for 10 to 15 minutes.

Makes 6 servings

aloo palak pie slice

Other spinach dishes you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Mushroom, Lentil and Spinach Risotto
Spinach Pancakes with Lime Butter
Spiced Creamed Spinach (Malai Sak)
Quinoa Spinach Salad with Feta, Pomegranate and Toasted Almonds

On the top of the reading stack: Indian Cooking Unfolded: A Master Class in Indian Cooking, with 100 Easy Recipes Using 10 Ingredients or Less by Raghavan Iyer

Audio Accompaniment: Harold Budd


Rumana Rawat said...

Very nice combination for a different pie..

janet @ the taste space said...

What a neat idea for a savoury pie.... but most importantly, thank you for the tip on Iyers new book. Gonna go check it out. :)

Unknown said...

Perfect & Healthy pie......


niki said...

Wow great idea for the crust, I have never tried that. Also interesting recipe for Paneer. Thanks again Lisa, you are the best :-))

Vani said...

I love the idea of palak paneer pie in an aloo crust! Innovative