Ginger country captain

Ginger country captain

Ginger cottage pie

Mr Todiwala's Bombay
Helen Cathcart

This is an Anglo-Indian dish with no real Indian equivalent name. It will make you see the British favourite in a completely different light and, again, allow you see how diverse and inclusive Indian cooking can be.


Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
250ml warm water
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2-3 large floury potatoes
100ml double cream
3-4 egg yolks
salt, to taste
2 tablespoons sunflower or rapeseed oil
2 x 5 cm pieces cinnamon stick
2-3 whole dried red chillies, broken into pieces and seeded
2 red onions, finely chopped
10 cm piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500g lean minced lamb
2 tomatoes, chopped
8-10 sprigs coriander, chopped


  1. Blend the ground cumin and coriander with the water in a small jug and set aside. Toast the cumin seeds gently in a dry frying pan for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Cool then crush in a mortar with a pestle (or in a small bowl with the end of a rolling pin). Set aside.
  2. Boil the potatoes in plenty of water until the skins crack, drain well, peel whilst still hot by holding in paper towels or a clean cloth then pass through a potato ricer into a bowl or mash thoroughly with a potato masher.
  3. Whisk the cream and egg yolks together thoroughly and then beat into the potato until smooth and lump free. Add the crushed cumin and season to taste.
  4. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole. When a haze forms add the cinnamon and sauté for a minute until it changes colour but does not blacken or burn, turn heat down to medium and add the red chilli pieces. Stir for a few seconds then add the onion. Sauté until the onion is soft and pale, 4–5 minutes, then add the ginger and garlic and sauté for 2–3 minutes until both are pale golden brown.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and add the mince and prepared spice water. Break the mince up as much as you can so that you see no lumps and turn the heat up to medium, but continue stirring and breaking up until all the meat is separate.
  6. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring every now and again so no lumps form, until the mixture is nearly dry. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and simmer for a few minutes until the tomato is pulpy. Season to taste and add the chopped coriander. Transfer to a flameproof serving dish.
  7. Preheat the grill. Spread out the meat evenly in the dish, then either spread the creamed potato on top and rough up with a fork or pipe it. Cook under the grill until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 190°C and bake for about 35 minutes. Rotate the dish to get an even colouring.
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