I love most Indian food but I think that my absolute favourite dish is a paneer dosa. I love the crisp, delicate crepe and contrasting soft, fluffy spiced potato filling. I am not, however, any good at making them. The filling isn’t a problem, it’s the dosa crepe. I don’t think that I have the skill and dexterity required to produce such wonderfully thin pancakes.
So I’ve turned to filo pastry to help me get my fix of crisp exterior and fluffy spicy interior. It works well too – like a cross between spanokopita and a dosa!
700g floury potatoes
2 inch piece of ginger
2 fat cloves of garlic
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
chili powder and salt and pepper to taste
2-3 huge handfuls of spinach
150g filo sheets
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Dice the potato into small cubes, you can peel them if you like but I don’t bother. Put them in a large pan of boiling water and cook until they are quite tender. Drain and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan and then pour most of it into a small dish for later. Thinly slice the onion and fry this in the butter that’s left in the pan until it is just starting to brown. Peel and grate the garlic and ginger before adding to the pan and cooking for a minute or two. Sprinkle in the spices and seasonings. Cube the paneer and mix it with everything in the pan, keeping the heat low but allowing it to brown a little.
Combine the cooked potato with everything else and then toss it with the spinach. Add a tablespoon or so of water and let the spinach wilt down before removing from the heat.
Pre-heat your oven to 200°c and lightly grease a baking tray.
Now time to assemble the pie! Beat the egg and set it aside and keep the filo sheets under a damp tea towel. Cover your work top with about a meter of clingfilm. Lay out a couple of sheets of filo, over-laping by at least an inch and brush them with the melted butter. Build up the layers of filo and melted butter, working as quickly as you can because the filo will dry out very quickly.
Spread the filling along the length of the filo at the edge closest to you and brush the far edge with beaten egg. Using the cling film to help you roll the pastry away from you to create a sausage shape. Curl the sausage around itself to form a pin wheel. Again, using the cling film to help you, transfer the pie to the baking tray. Brush it really well with the rest of the beaten egg and sprinkle the top with sesame seeds.
Bake the pie for 35 minutes until it is lovely and golden. Serve hot or cold.