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Indian inspired Cornish style fish pasties / hand pies – Monsoon Special

Flaky, buttery rich with nice golden color, perfect d-shape pastry shell, crimping on side and robust dough filled with steak pieces, carrots and potatoes, turnips mildly seasoned with just salt and pepper or some secret ingredient may be and more importantly should be made in Cornwall by Cornish women :)- that is Cornish pasties for you, legally speaking. These beauties are now protected under Geographical Indication. So all other versions out there could not be labeled as Cornish pasties, and more importantly a filling of fish is considered a bad omen among seafaring Cornish men.

But, that was for Cornish men. Not for fish loving Bong women. We love fish, we hate fish (that is also a kind of love, especially when we eat too much fish), we worship fish, and yes we can not survive without fish. So, fish becomes a obvious choice in the filling. Steaks and chickens can be reserved for more meatier meals, and are better suited in pot pies. Because, we are not treating these as regular Cornish pasties, one that can satiate the hunger of Cornish miners, who introduced these savory handmade pastry to the Americans around early quarter of nineteenth century while mining for minerals in Wisconsin.

These are slimmer, shorter and light weight.

The kind of evening snacks that can be paired beautifully with a cup of chai and Monsoon rains.

So, join me as we will blog more about Monsoon Specials for next few weeks or till the end of the season.

fish pasty pastry hand pies

Cornish pasties use a shortcrust pastry dough, like pie doughs. Where you need to rub the fat into the flour, till it resembles bread crumbs. And this is the part I enjoys most, rubbing fat into the flour. More fat, more flakier the crust will be. Apart from making home made pizza dough from scratch, making homemade pie dough or shortcrust pastry dough is the one that I had learned very early and quickly in my culinary journey. Once you master this fairly simple art of making a flaky pastry, your door to the world of innumerable versions of pies, empanadas and all kind of stuffed pastry opens up.

Three ingredients are crucial to make a good shortcrust pastry, a strong wheat flour, extra strength in the gluten is needed to produce strong pliable pastry. A good quality fat or shortening, margarine in this case. The one with higher amount of fat. Third is ice cold water. Chilled water helps maintains the butter at solid state. And last, work the dough quickly and lightly on a cold surface if possible. Next, just pop in the fridge between three hours to thirty -six hours. This is important because fresh pastry is difficult to handle, it need to rest for a while before it restructure itself again and also it will help develop the flavour.


cornish fish pasty pastry hand pies

This is the beauty of such recipes. The dough can be made ahead. Filling can be cooked ahead. When you are in a mood to munch on some flaky, buttery goodies , just take the dough out of the fridge, roll it, stuff it and bake it.

Cornish style fish pasties / hand pies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Indian inspired Cornish style fish pasties or hand pies using a shortcrust pastry dough.
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Cornish
Shortcrust Pastry
  • Plain flour : 2 cups
  • Chilled butter, cubed : 125 gm
  • Iced water : 80-100 ml
Fish meat (boneless) : 300 gm
  • Onion, chopped : 1 big
  • Ginger-garlic paste: 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder : 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Cumin powder : 1 tsp
  • Red chilli powder : ½ tsp
  • Garam masala : a large pinch
  • Green chillies, finely chopped : 1-2 tsp
  • Cilantro, finely chopped : a handful
  • Oil : 1 tbsp
One large egg, beaten
Shortcrust Pastry
  1. Lightly grease a baking tray.
  2. Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a large bowl. Using your finger tips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Make a well in the center. Add almost all the water.
  4. Mix together with a flat-bladed knife, using a cutting action until all the mixture comes together in beads.
  5. Add more chilled water if the dough looks too dry.
  6. Turn out onto a lightly floured work area and form into a ball.
  7. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours. If that is not possible, minimum 20 minute resting period should be allowed.
Prepare the fish filling
  1. If you are using fish fillet, then do not need to boil the fish. Else boil the fish with little salt and pinch of turmeric powder, remove the skin and bones and mash it.
  2. In a pan heat some oil and add onion, green chilies, ginger, garlic and fry for a minute. Add minced fish, coriander leaves and stir well. Add all the spices and fry till the mixture becomes dry.
  3. Adjust the seasonings. Allow the mixture to cool.
Making the pasties
  1. Divide the dough into required portions.
  2. Roll out each portion thickly, stamp out the circles using a sharp lid or circular cookie cutter.
  3. Divide the filling among the circles.
  4. Brush the edges with beaten egg and bring the pastry together to form a semi -circle.
  5. Pinch the edges into a frill or you can use a flour dusted fork tines to crimp the edges.
  6. Place on a baking tray or cookie sheet.
  7. Preheat the oven to 210 C
  8. Brush the pastry with beaten egg and bake for 15 minute.
  9. Reduce the oven to 180 C and cook for 20 minute or until golden.

 Stay tuned for Monsoon Feast


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