pea and paneer pies

I was so pleased with how well my spicy butter bean pies turned out that I just had to try making some others using the same hot-water crust. I think that I might like this version even more.
The pastry is wonderfully crisp, not at all heavy or stodgy and the turmeric obviously makes it an amazing colour. The filling holds together well whilst you’re shaping the pies but has a nice softness to it once they’re baked. It’s not too hot and spicy either, not to sound too Goldilocks, but I think that this one is just right.
Special thanks to my lovely sister-in-law for her help and advice as to how to tackle this one. I told her that I wanted to put paneer in a pie and she basically taught me what to do via Whatsapp. The wonders of the modern world eh…?

paneer and pea pies with turmeric crust

Ingredients
makes 2 big individual pies (I can’t finish one in one sitting)

pastry
100g plain flour
35g strong plain flour
1 egg
50g butter
50ml boiling water
1/2 tsp turmeric
pinch of salt

filling
1 tbsp oil
1 onion
200g paneer cheese
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
pinch of salt and chili flakes
75g frozen peas
2 tbsp tomato paste

cumin/caraway seeds (optional)

turmeric pastry paneer pie

Dice the onion and chop the paneer into small (but not tiny) chunks.
Gently fry the onion in the oil until it is just starting to colour. Crush the garlic and add this to the pan along with the grated ginger. Fry for a minute or two over a low heat. Add the spices to the pan and then toss in the paneer and the frozen peas. Don’t let the paneer fry, it just needs to steam a little in the pan. Finally mix in the tomato paste and continue to cook the filling mixture for a couple of minutes to get rid of the ‘raw’ tomato taste. If you need to add a tablespoon of water to the pan then you can but don’t let the mixture get to wet or it will be difficult to shape the pies and the pastry could get soggy. Leave the filling to cool in the pan.

pea and paneer pies
Use a fork to whisk together the flours, salt and turmeric in a mixing bowl. Lightly beat the egg and set aside a tablespoon of it for glazing the pies before baking. Add the remaining egg to the flour and mix it in. Melt the butter in the boiling water and then use this to bring the flour mixture together to form a very soft, but not sticky, dough. If you need to add a touch more flour to get rid of any stickiness then you can, but don’t be too heavy-handed.
Divide the dough in two and then take a quarter off each piece (this will be the lid). On a lightly floured surface roll or pat out the larger balls into discs, about 7″ in diameter and the smaller ones to about 5 inches. Poke a couple of holes in the centre of the smaller discs.
Pile half of the filing on to the centre of the larger discs and put the smaller disc on top. Gently bring up the sides of the pastry, gathering them in where you need to and pinch them together with the lid, making sure that everything is well sealed so that you don’t get any leaks.
If you want to be sure that everything will hold together in the oven then wrap and tie some strips of baking parchment around the pies for a bit of structural support. Use a fish slice (dipping it in flour makes this easier) to transfer the pies to a greased baking tray.
Chill the pies in the fridge for at least 20 minutes or until you are ready to bake them. Brush the tops of the pies with the reserved beaten egg and sprinkle on a few caraway or cumin seeds. Bake them at 200°c for 35 minutes, until they are golden brown and the pastry is crisp. Enjoy hot or cold.

pea and paneer pies