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Saffron Fish Pie

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I made this luxuriously, golden Saffron Fish Pie before Christmas and it is exactly the type of food I am craving now! After rather too much turkey, cheese and chocolate, in January I always fancy something with some spice. When the weather is grey and cold, and this jolly Covid is everywhere, I’m seeking food which packs a wonderful flavour punch whilst also being gloriously comforting.

With a selection of fish, prawns and eggs in a rich, creamy sauce topped with lashings of smooth and silky, cheesy mashed potato, this Fish Pie is the ultimate comfort food. Now imagine all that with layers of additional flavours and warmth from a range of spices, fresh herbs and some spinach. Fish Pie heaven. It is a wonderful dish for preparing ahead of time and is as delicious for a family meal as it is if you are entertaining.

Where is this recipe from?

This recipe is from the fabulous, award winning British chef, food writer and restauranteur, Ravinder Bhogal. Born in Kenya to Indian parents, Ravinder grew up in Britain and she describes her style of cooking as ‘mixed-heritage cooking or cooking across borders celebrating both the beautiful similarities and intricate differences between cultures which creates even more delicious food.’ She has a restaurant called Jikoni in Marylebone, London and her new cookery book, also called Jikoni, features this fabulous recipe.  It has also been featured in the Guardian newspaper. I really recommend you take a look at her website or on instagram here. 

How to make this incredible curried Saffron Fish Pie

Collect all your ingredients together:

For the topping –

  • milk
  • double/heavy cream
  • clove of garlic, bruised
  • black peppercorns
  • small onion studded with whole cloves
  • bay leaf
  • ground turmeric
  • smoked paprika
  • fresh coriander, chopped
  • peeled floury potatoes, cut into cubes
  • fine salt
  • unsalted butter
  • egg yolks

For the base –

  • baby spinach leaves
  • eggs
  • medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • leek, trimmed, washed and roughly chopped
  • sticks of celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • vegetable, rapeseed or sunflower oil
  • white fish fillet – cod, haddock or hake are all good options, skinned and pin boned
  • green king prawns, deveined
  • Madras curry powder
  • cloves of garlic, peeled
  • saffron threads
  • double/heavy cream
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • lemon juice
  • fine salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Note to self – use a larger baking dish next time!!

Start off by making the topping for this delicious pie:

  1. Measure the milk and cream into a saucepan and add the onion, cloves, garlic, bay leaves, turmeric and smoked paprika. Bring to a gentle simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse.
  2. Peel the potatoes and cut into even sized cubes. Cover with cold water, add the salt and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover with a lid and cook until soft. This will take 15 – 25 minutes, depending on the type and size of the potatoes.
  3. Place the spinach (for the base) in a steamer over the potatoes to wilt. Remove the steamer as soon as the spinach has wilted and leave to cool.
  4. When the potatoes are soft, drain well. Chop the coriander and add to the potatoes. Strain the milk and cream and also add to the potatoes with the chopped butter.
  5. Mash the potatoes with either a potato masher or an electric whisk and then add the egg yolks.
  6. Whisk again until light and fluffy, adding more cream/milk as needed. (NB stop whisking as soon as the potatoes are light and fluffy. If you over-whisk, the potatoes can become waxy in texture.)
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Make the base whilst the potatoes are cooking:

  1. Cook the eggs: put the eggs in a small saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 6 minutes. Take off the heat, drain and cover with cold water. When cold, remove the shells and cut into quarters.
  2. Prepare the vegetables –
    • peel and roughly chop the onion
    • trim, wash and roughly chop the leek
    • trim and roughly chop the celery
    • blitz all the vegetables in the food processor until finely chopped. Alternatively, finely chop them by hand.
  3. Cook vegetables: heat the oil in a frying pan over a moderate heat and add the vegetables. Cook for around 5 minutes until the vegetables have softened and slightly caramelised.
  4. Prepare fish and prawns: as the vegetables cook, chop the fish into cubes. Pat the fish and prawns with kitchen towel to make sure they are dry.
  5. Finish the spinach: tip the spinach onto kitchen towel and, using more kitchen towel, dry the spinach. Alternatively, tip the spinach into the centre of a clean tea towel and squeeze out the liquid.
  6. Chop the spinach and place in the bottom of a baking dish.
  7. Add fish and eggs to baking dish: top the spinach with the fish and prawns and then lay the quartered eggs on top.
  8. Back to the vegetables: when the vegetables are soft and lightly caramelised, add the Madras curry powder, garlic and saffron. Cook for around 1 minute until fragrant.
  9. Pour in the cream, stir well and bring to the boil over a moderate heat.
  10. Take off the heat and add the cheese and lemon juice. Stir thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding as much salt and pepper, as necessary.
  11. Pour over the fish and level the surface.
  12. Now, carefully dollop the mashed potato over the fish layer and level the surface of the potato as well. Make some swirly patterns on the top of the potato or use a fork to draw on some ridges.
  13. When you are ready to cook the pie, preheat the oven.
  14. Place your pie onto a foil lined baking tray (this is just to catch any spillage from the dish) and place in the oven. If you are cooking immediately, your pie will take 35 – 45 minutes. If you are cooking directly from the fridge, you will need to allow an extra 10 – 15 minutes.
  15. Your pie is cooked when the surface of the potatoes has become crusty and light brown and you can see the pie bubbling around the edges.
  16. To serve: serve piping hot with your choice of green vegetables and some lemon wedges.

Made this recipe?

If you make this recipe, do please tag me on instagram @daffodil_kitchen. You could also leave a comment in the box directly below the recipe.

Saffron Fish Pie

Fish Pie with a selection of fish and some eggs in a rich, creamy sauce topped with lashings of smooth and silky mashed potato, is the ultimate comfort food. Now imagine all that with layers of additional flavours from a range of spices, fresh herbs and some spinach. Fish Pie heaven.

Course Dinner, light lunch, Supper
Keyword Comfort Food, fish pie, prawns, white fish
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

For the topping –

  • 50ml milk
  • 50ml double/heavy cream
  • 1 clove of garlic, bruised
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 small onion, quartered and studded with 4 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 15g fresh coriander, chopped
  • 800g peeled floury potatoes, cut into cubes
  • 1½ teaspoons fine salt
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 2 egg yolks

For the base –

  • 200g baby spinach leaves
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g/1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, trimmed, washed and roughly chopped
  • 2 medium sticks of celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable, rapeseed or sunflower oil
  • 450g white fish fillet – cod, haddock or hake are all good options, skinned and pin boned
  • 200g green king prawns, deveined
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Madras curry powder
  • 8g/2 large cloves of garlic, peeled
  • large pinch of saffron threads
  • 300ml double/heavy cream
  • 100g grated cheddar cheese
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon fine salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Collect together your equipment (see Recipe Notes below) and ingredients.

  2. Start off by making the topping for this delicious pie: measure the milk and cream into a saucepan and add the onion, cloves, garlic, bay leaves, turmeric and smoked paprika. Bring to a gentle simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse.

  3. Peel the potatoes and cut into even sized cubes. Cover with cold water, add the 1½ teaspoons of salt and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover with a lid and cook until soft. This will take 15 – 25 minutes, depending on the type and size of the potatoes.

  4. Place the spinach (for the base) in a steamer over the potatoes to wilt. Remove the steamer as soon as the spinach has wilted and leave to cool.

  5. When the potatoes are soft, drain well. Chop the coriander and add to the potatoes. Strain the milk and cream and also add to the potatoes with the chopped butter.

  6. Mash the potatoes with either a potato masher or an electric whisk and then add the egg yolks.

  7. Whisk again until light and fluffy, adding more cream/milk as needed. (NB stop whisking as soon as the potatoes are light and fluffy. If you over-whisk, the potatoes can become waxy in texture.)

  8. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

  9. Make the base whilst the potatoes are cooking: First cook the eggs. Put the eggs in a small saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 6 minutes. Take off the heat, drain and cover with cold water. When cold, remove the shells and cut into quarters.

  10. Prepare the vegetables –

    – peel and roughly chop the onion

    – trim, wash and roughly chop the leek

    – trim and roughly chop the celery

    – blitz all the vegetables in the food processor until finely chopped. Alternatively, finely chop them by hand.

  11. Cook vegetables: heat the oil in a frying pan over a moderate heat and add the vegetables. Cook for around 5 minutes until the vegetables have softened and slightly caramelised.

  12. Prepare fish and prawns: as the vegetables cook, chop the fish into cubes. Pat the fish and prawns with kitchen towel to make sure they are dry.

  13. Finish the spinach: tip the spinach onto kitchen towel and, using more kitchen towel, dry the spinach. Alternatively, tip the spinach into the centre of a clean tea towel and squeeze out the liquid.

  14. Chop the spinach and place in the bottom of a baking dish.

  15. Add fish and eggs to baking dish: top the spinach with the fish and prawns and then lay the quartered eggs on top.

  16. Back to the vegetables: when the vegetables are soft and lightly caramelised, add the Madras curry powder, garlic and saffron. Cook for around 1 minute until fragrant.

  17. Pour in the cream, stir well and bring to the boil over a moderate heat.

  18. Take off the heat and add the cheese and lemon juice. Stir thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding as much salt and pepper, as necessary.

  19. Pour over the fish and level the surface.

  20. Now, carefully dollop the mashed potato over the fish layer and level the surface of the potato. Make some swirly patterns on the top of the potato or use a fork to draw on some ridges.

  21. When you are ready to cook the pie, preheat the oven to Fan Oven 180°C /200°C/400°F/Gas 6

  22. Place your pie onto a foil lined baking tray (this is just to catch any spillage from the dish) and place in the oven. If you are cooking immediately, your pie will take 35 – 45 minutes. If you are cooking directly from the fridge, you will need to allow an extra 10 – 15 minutes.

  23. Your pie is cooked when the surface of the potatoes has become crusty and light brown and you can see the pie bubbling around the edges.

  24. To serve: serve piping hot with your choice of green vegetables and some lemon wedges.

Recipe Notes

Equipment:

  • chopping board and knife
  • kitchen scales and measuring spoons
  • wide based pan
  • 2 saucepans
  • baking dish 

Prepare in advance – this pie can be made up to 36 hours in advance. When cool, cover it with cling film and refrigerate. If you cook it directly from the fridge, it will take an extra 10 – 15 minutes to cook.

Where is this recipe from?

I came across this Ravinder Bhogal recipe in the Guardian newspaper. Ravinder Bhogal is a British chef who has written several cookery books and writes monthly for the Financial Times Weekend. She has a restaurant called Jikoni in Marylebone, London and her new eponymous cookery book is also called Jikoni. Born in Kenya to Indian parents, Ravinder grew up in Britain and she describes her style of cooking as ‘mixed-heritage cooking or cooking across borders celebrating both the beautiful similarities and intricate differences between cultures which creates even more delicious food.’ I really recommend you take a look at her website here or on instagram, here.

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