Spiced Cottage Pie (Vegetarian)

I’ve been meaning to try a shephard’s pie for a while but I found this interesting vegetarian version I wanted to try. I’ve never cooked soya before and I have to say I’m not a fan of it per se but this is probably one of the nicest ways to eat it. This is a nice, warm, filling dish – great as a winter Sunday lunch where everyone gets to nap after or a convenient one pot dinner for a small group of friends.


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions (finely chopped)
  • 2 tomatoes (blended into a puree)
  • 200 gm soya bean* (cooked as per packet instructions. I used Nutrela which requires boiling for about 10 minutes)
    [*editor’s note: Soya bean is textured vegetable protein, a meat substitute]
  • 2 handfuls peas
  • ½ kg potato (peeled)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup grated cheese
  • 3 tbsp ginger paste
  • 3 tbsp garlic paste
  • Tomato puree (for sauce – keep a carton handy)
  • Bunch of coriander leaves (with stalk)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Splashes of milk (about 80 ml)
  • Dash of lemon juice


3 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp chilli powder
3 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ground cumin
3 bay leaves
5 black cardamom pods


Preheat oven to 200°C

1. Heat the oil in a large pan and add onions, cardamom and bay leaves. Roast till onions are nicely golden. Add ginger and garlic paste. Stir for 3 -4 minutes.

2. Add tomatoes and all spices. Stir till the masala has thickened. Add the soya bean.

3. Dilute masala with a couple of generous dashes of tomato puree. Eventually I ended up using half a carton.

4. Simultaneously pile your potatoes in a pot of hot water and boil till tender.

5. Add half a liter of water to the soya bean and let the pot simmer till most of the water has been absorbed. Taste and check the seasoning. Add pepper and lime.

6. Add peas to the soya bean mixture and stir through. Cook for about 5 minutes. Check seasoning one final time. If you’re good with the taste, stir in the coriander and turn off the flame.

7. Once the potatoes are soft, mash them well. Add butter, a generous splash of milk and cheese. Mash some more. Add salt and pepper.

8. Spoon the soya bean mixture into an ovenproof dish. Add the potato mash as a layer on top and even it out. Pop in an oven for 30 minutes.

[fbcomments countmsg="tasteful comments!"]