Iconic Kiwi pies with some twist. Homemade coconut shortcrust pastry, Ethiopian-style fragrant vegetarian curry filling, and deluxe kumara top. Such a great combination, isn’t it?
Kiwi pies are one of my favourite local treats here in New Zealand. When the temperature drops they warm my belly and make me happy. But unfortunately, this is not always a healthy meal. Therefore, I was wondering whether it is possible to cook pies same delicious and nutritious using only plant-based ingredients, such as fresh and nice local vegetables. Yes, they can be delicious if cooked properly!
Shortcrust pastry is crumbly pastry made with flour, fat, and a little water, typically used for pies, tarts and Galette. You can use shortcrust pastry purchased from the supermarket. But taking just a little extra time to make the pastry, makes all the difference in your homemade pies!
Some bakeries use margarine in pastry, that could compromise flavour, and not only. Usually, I avoid marge. It’s made from vegetable oils, but it contains palm oil, refined oils, and trans fat. So, not the best option for our health. Coconut oil is a great alternative to butter and marge for the shortcrust pastry.
Add some spelt flour to your flour mix and you will get a deeper richer taste and great texture. Spelt, an ancient cereal grain, is a distant cousin to wheat. It has a nutty, slightly sweet flavour. Use spelt flour as a substitute for wheat or white flour when baking.
Tip: Using the spelt flour, you need to add a little bit more water (liquid ingredients) than usual.
Vegetable curry You can make amazing meat-free Curry that will satisfy your need for “meaty” food. Here are some tips for making meatless food taste meaty
Texture When you want that meaty taste and texture, mushrooms are the way to go. Their flavour is rich, earthy, and meaty, especially brown button field mushrooms or Portobello mushrooms. They are healthy and filling and can replace meat in this curry recipe. Cauliflower is another one vegetable which has a great texture. Both cauliflower and mushrooms absorb flavours and provide a meat-like texture, perfect for your favourite curries.
Concentrated vegetable stock adds great flavour to all my vegetable savoury dishes including curry. Purchased vegetable concentrate works great too if it has a good quality and additive-free.
Coconut butter Coconut butter is a spread made from the meat of the coconut much in the same way nuts are used to make nut butter. Perfect for cooking and baking. Great as a curry thickener. This rich coconut curry tastes like something you’d get at a fancy Asian restaurant.
Curry paste, cooking sauce, and spice mix Curry paste or sauce is the base of any curry. All curry paste is made with the same or fairly similar base ingredients – ginger, hot chilies, garlic, shallot, plenty of herbs and spices. But nothing beats the aroma of Mamia’s sauce. What is an Ethiopian onion-based sauce, slowly simmered caramelised onion makes the taste of the sauce absolutely amazing. Highly aromatic and flavourful Barbere blend makes the taste of sauce rich and deep. The sauce could be used for a big range of curries with tempeh, tofu, and even jackfruit.
Gourmet salt. This distinctive salt promises a flawless finishing touch to your meal. With a pop of salty flavour up front, they enhance all of the nuances of the food without overpowering. My choice is Maldon flakes or fleur de sel.
I use kumara top instead of classic potato top in this recipe. Kumara or New Zealand sweet potato is a local beautiful and hearty root vegetable.This is a very versatile vegetable that is easy to cook, It has wonderful taste and texture as well as many nutritional benefits for the body. Sweet and creamy kumara perfectly paired with curry in this recipe.
For short crust pastry:2 cups plain unbleached flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup coconut yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
100 ml melted coconut oil (warm, but not hot)
100 ml cold water
For vegetable curry:1/2 head of medium Cauliflower, chopped
1/2 punnet field mushrooms, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 leek (white part), chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup Mamia’s sauce
2 cups concentrated vegetable broth
1/3 cup coconut butter
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 teaspoon brown sugar
For kumara top:500g orange kumara (sweet potato)
2 tbsp coconut butter
black sesame seeds
+ Muffin tray 12 cups (or 2×6 cups)
- Shortcrust pastry. Sift the flour with a pinch of salt. Add yoghurt and mix using your hands until no dry flour remains and the dough just begins to collect in clumps. Add coconut oil and cold water. Continue to mix until the dough starts to come together in a coarse ball. Add 1-2 tbsp of water or yoghurt if the dough is too dry. For spelt flour, you need a little bit more water than usual. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling and baking. You can also prepare the dough in advance and store it in the fridge up to three days.
- Curry. Meanwhile, heat a large shallow frying pan or Dutch oven over low medium heat. When it’s hot, add about 2 Tbs of cooking oil (I use coconut or grapeseed oil). Add chopped leek, celery, carrot, and a pinch of salt, cook for about 5 mins. Then add chopped garlic and cook until it is fragrant (but not brown) about 1-2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cauliflower, cook another 5 minutes.
- Pour in 1 cup of Mamia’s sauce and 2 cups vegetable broth, cover and cook for 25 mins or until the liquid has been reduced and the vegetables are tender. Stir in the coconut butter and sugar, heat through. Season with salt. We need a thick and rich consistency of the curry, otherwise, pies can turn too soggy, so reduce the liquid if needed. When the curry is ready, add 1 cup of green peas and mix well.
- Kumara top. Peel kumara, cut into chunks and place into a steamer for about 20 minutes, until it becomes really soft. Mash the hot sweet potato using potato masher until smooth. Blitz kumara mash using a hand blender for extra smooth texture. Mix in coconut butter. Season with salt. Transfer kumara mash into a piping bag with a nozzle. Set aside.
- Roll out the pastry to a big square approximately 3mm thick, cut into circles. Coat muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Line each muffin cup, ensuring the pastry is firmly lined against the sides, leaving the pastry hanging over the edge of the tins. Chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Cut the edges of pastry using a sharp knife.
- Preheat the oven up to 180C.
- Fill each pastry-lined cup with the curry filling, almost up to the top then top with kumara mash using the piping bag. Sprinkle with toasted black sesame seeds. Bake until kumara is nice and crispy on edges, 20 to 30 minutes. Serve hot with an extra dollop of Mamia’s Kiwi Hot sauce and a green salad. Enjoy!