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Member recipe

Bengali spiced cottage pie

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Cooking time

Prep: 30 minutes Cook: 1 hour

Skill level

A challenge


Serves 6

Cottage pie with a difference, using spices and parsnip mash topping

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  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • I medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tsp cummin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • i tsp each ground cloves, ground tumeric, chilli powder
  • 50g finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 kg good quality mince beef
  • 5 cm cinnamon stick
  • 200g chopped tomatoes, fresh or tinned
  • 200ml beef stock
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • For the parsnip mash: 800g parsnips cut into chunks, 500g floury potatoes cut into chunks, 1 tsp cummin seeds, 50g butter, 1/4 tsp ground tumeric, 1-2 tbsp milk


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan, stir in onion and garlic, cover and cook till soft and browned. Meanwhile heat a dry frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the 3tsp cummin seeds with the coriander and fennel seeds and toss them till they darken slightly. Tip into spice grinder (or coffee grinder) or pestle and mortar, add cloves, tumeric and chilli powder, then grind to a powder

  2. Add the ginger and red chilli to the onion and fry 2 mins more. Stir in the ground spice mixture, fry for 1 min, add the beef. Increase the heat & cook for 3-4 mins, breaking up the meat

  3. Add cinnamon stick, tomatoes, stock and some mango chutney, then simmer for 30 mins until the liquid is reduced and the mixture is thickened

  4. Put parsnip and potatoes into separate pan of cold salted water, bring to boil, simmer parsnips for 20 mins until tender and potatoes for 15 mins. Pre-heat oven to 200C/fan180/gas 6

  5. Toast the 1tsp cummin seeds in a dry pan, crush in pestle and mortar. Drain pots and parsnips, return to one pan and mash until smooth. Melt the butter in a small pan, add crushed cummin seeds and 1/4 tsp tumeric. Stir in with some seasoning to taste and enough milk to soften the mash. Remove cinnamon stick from the mince, stir in the lemon juice, coriander and some seasoning put into oven dish and bake for 30-35 mins until brown

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