Karandi pie is a perfect example of how Colonialism influenced Indian palate and the way we cook. This spicy prawns pie was born when Indians working in various administrative roles under British Raj took the idea of their Shepherd's pie and improvised it with their community Sambhar masala replacing traditional choice of red meat (mostly lamb mince) with baby prawns.
This spicy prawns pie uses 'Pathare Prabhu Sambhar masala' and recipe comes from Pathare Prabhu caste who were one of the early settlers in Mumbai. Hence lot of their food involves seafood due to proximity to ample supply of fresh catch of the day.Karandi means small prawns which are packed full of flavour than their larger counterparts and hence name of the pie. I have heard stories of PP community being early adopters of baking and gas oven in their houses which was considered an absolute luxury in colonial India or even till late 90s. If you are from South Indian region of the country then you would agree with me that every household has their own unique way of making Sambhar masala and all of them equally delicious in their own right too.
I made this Pathare Prabhu sambhar masala from scratch using the recipe in the book as a guidance. I didn't have Nagkesar (cobra saffron) or Dagad Phool (black stone flower) so I did omit that. I left out wheat grain as it is not something we can readily buy in UK supermarkets. If you plan well in advance then most of intercontinental shops online have these ingredients available. I would love to try it with Nagkesar and Dagad Phool later someday because am sure it lends a different dimension to the flavour of masala altogether.
This is our first pick for our #talesandtadkacookingclub with @simpleandsustainable on Instagram. If you would like to try this recipe and join us then it is available in Saee Koranne - Khandekar book "Pangat". This recipe has been adapted to suit my British pantry of ingredients and availability of it.
How to make Karandi Pie -
Step 3 - Add the chopped prawns and cook on a high flame. Dry out as much as possible so that there’s no excess moisture.
Step 4 - Ensure that you keep stirring so that the onions and masala do not burn. If the masala starts to catch then sprinkle 1 or 2 tablespoons of water and stir.
Step 5 - Season the potato mash with salt, roasted cumin seed powder, ½ teaspoon red chilli powder, coriander leaves, 1 tsp turmeric powder and 1 tsp Pathare Prabhu sambar masala.
Step 6 - Grease the baking dish, put in half the seasoned potato mash and arrange in an even layer.
Step 8 - Beat an egg and brush this over the top layer followed by a thin layer of breadcrumbs.
spicy prawns pie in a mashed potato crust and top
Keywords: Karandi pie, spicy prawns pie