‘Eurasian’ Shepherd Pie

Our theme for the 58th gourmet club meet is Eurasian recipes, traditional or modern. According to our host, many Eurasians recipes are kept as family secrets so there aren’t many Eurasian restaurants or Eurasian cookbooks. We are encouraged to be creative as long as the recipe combines both European and South East Asian cuisines.

After some research online, I realized that Shepherd’s pie is listed among a few articles on Eurasian food and culture. Problem: the typical filling is beef and I am not a fan of beef. I decided to create my modern ‘Eurasian’ shepherds pie with butter chicken and mashed potatoes instead; the two will go well together?

I have practiced this recipe a few times, tried again today and Ashley gave thumbs up. Time to log the recipe. Unfortunately, our club meet will be postponed indefinitely until the shelter-in-place is lifted. Till then, hope everyone stay safe and we can meet again soon. I am looking forward to tasting other Eurasion recipes from our awesome cooks in the club.


For the chicken marinade

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless and skinless chicken thighs or breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed, rinsed, and drained
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger 
  • 1 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

For the sauce

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp ghee (or 1 tbs butter + 1 tbs oil)
  • 1 large onion, sliced or chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 can (14 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder (adjust to your taste preference)
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp sugar

For the mashed potatoes

  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp butter


For the filling

  • In a bowl, combine chicken with all of the ingredients for the chicken marinade; refrigerate and marinate overnight.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. When sizzling, add chicken pieces in batches of two or three, making sure not to crowd the pan. Fry until browned for only 3 minutes on each side (this means don’t stir or flip the chicken during the 3 minutes to get a nice browning effect). Set aside and keep warm.
  • Heat butter or ghee in the same pan. Fry the onions until they start to sweat while scraping up any browned bits stuck on the bottom of the pan. 
  • Add garlic and ginger and sauté until they start to brown, then add ground coriander, cumin and garam masala. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add diced tomatoes, chili powder and salt. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens and becomes a deep brown red color.
  • Remove from heat, scoop mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Work in batches if needed.
  • Pour the puréed sauce back into the pan. Stir in the cream, sugar until blended. Add the chicken with juices back into the pan and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick and bubbling.
  • Set aside.

For the mashed potatoes

  1. Peel and dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size. Place in a large saucepan, add the salt, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil. Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork. About 15 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes to the pot.
  2. Heat the half-and-half , butter, and the minced garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat.
  3. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher and add the garlic-cream mixture, salt, and pepper; mash and stir until smooth. Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Butter a 2 qt oven safe casserole.
  3. Spoon the filling into the casserole until 3/4 full. If you don’t want the sauce to boil over during baking, fill the casserole using a slotted spoon to drain the chicken. I think the best part of butter chicken is the sauce, so I did not drain the chicken.
  4. Top with mashed potatoes, start from the edges and create a seal so that the filling do not boil over while baking. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
  5. Run patterns through the mashed potatoes with the tip of a fork.
  6. Bake until top is golden, about 25 minutes.
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