I had never had Fish Pie in my life until our recent trip to London. I had never heard of it either. Our trip was pretty short – we were there for a bit less than 5 days total. But our culinary experience there during that time was phenomenal! The food scene in London is definitely big – with multi cuisine restaurants and fusion restaurants being found in literally every corner of London. We lived in Kensington and in less than a mile’s radius from our hotel, we were pleasantly surprised to see a plethora of options. The first day itself we were beckoned by a beautiful looking restaurant (and an equally beautiful looking hostess!) that offered authentic Lebanese cuisine. After that we tried several other restaurants like Japanese, African Fusion, Asian fusion etc. Luckily, for us, all four of us are very bold and adventurous when it comes to experimenting with different cuisines! However I wanted to experience authentic British and kept telling the family that. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any near where we lived! Luckily, everywhere we went, I had plenty of AIP options available – probably also because I have no problem with most of the spices.
We enjoyed our culinary experiences thoroughly for the 4 days however the British traditional fare seemed elusive and then once while we were at Kensington palace grounds, I noticed a cafe offering traditional British desserts which I wanted my children to try. However as luck would have it, since that was our last day in the city, we had a lot f baggage on us and it would have been next to impossible to cramp ourselves in there (even if they did let us in!) . So we just shrugged and went to a larger French cafe close by where the children got chocolate chip cookies 🙂 American kids and their cookies!
Finally we reached the airport and after checking in as we looked for lunch options, we stumbled upon a highly popular restaurant serving traditional British fare! And that’s where I spotted the fish pie on the menu. I had to order it. I knew it had some dairy and gluten but as long as there was no corn starch (one of my main triggers for flares), I felt ok. There was mashed potato for the topping which too I don’t have a problem with. Plus I had to taste it right? How else could I make a paleo/AIP version?:)
The fish pie was delicious alright. The fish was haddock and it was delicious! There was some shrimp in it too. And then there were PEAS! Yikes, now that was one thing I had not noticed on the menu! Peas are another thing that gives me flares. And so the rest of the time, I was busy plucking out all the peas one by one out of the pie:)
But the ‘fish pie’ experience was meant to be I guess. And as soon as we got back home, I got an opportunity to make it! I had frozen some of my fish chowder before we left so that I had something when we got back. And I immediately thought of fish pie – It was not only easy to make an AIP version from the fish chowder but it was damn delicious too! And no peas here either 🙂 The first trial came out fabulous and I made it one more time after that and it just got even better 🙂 I used my fish curry chowder recipe for the base/filling and I used cassava(yuca) for the topping and I think that gives the best taste since it is only savory and does not have any sweetness. You could sub white sweet potato too though if you don’t have cassava. Considering the fact that my ‘fish curry chowder’ is on my menu almost every week, I have a feeling that my family and I will be eating a lot of these pies in the near future:)
- 2-3 large pieces of fresh or frozen cassava/yuca (you can sub white sweet potato)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Water to boil
- 2tbsp coconut oil
- 1 slice of bacon, chopped
- 1 small red onion, chopped fine
- 1 celery stalk, chopped fine
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- fresh curry leaves (or dried if fresh is not available)
- 1 cup, broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)
- 1 cup rutabaga cubed ( or turnip or white sweet potato)
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp kashmiri chilli powder (omit for AIP)
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup chopped kale
- 2 flounder filets, cut into large pieces
- 4 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped into pieces(optional)
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro or parsley
- ½ cup water
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 tbsp arrowroot starch plus 1 tsp tapioca starch mixed in ¼ cup water
- In a large sauce pan, add the peeled cassava/yucca(or white sweet potato) pieces along with the sea salt and enough water to cover the pieces completely and place on heat until the water comes to a boil. Turn heat to low medium and cover the sauce pan and cook for about 15-20 mins until the yucca pieces are completely soft.(You might need more time if you are using frozen yucca). Alternately, you can also cook in the Instant Pot. Place yucca pieces with the salt and water in the insert pot. Close the lid, turn valve to sealing position and pressure cook for 10 minutes.
- Drain the water from the yucca (or sweet potato) and then mash them using a masher. Cover and keep aside.
- In a wide bottomed large cooking pot / sauce pan, heat the coconut oil. Add the chopped bacon and saute for 3-4 mins on medium heat until the bacon gets toasted and crispy.
- Next add the onions and the celery and saute for 2 mins. Then add the garlic, ginger, curry leaves and saute for 30 secs.
- Then add the broccoli, rutabaga (or the sweet potato or turnip), the salt, the kashmiri chilli powder (if adding) and the turmeric powder. Stir to coat the vegetables with the spices and cover and cook for 5 mins on low to medium heat.
- Open lid and add the mushrooms and kale. Stir fry for 2 mins.
- Then add the fish pieces, the shrimp(if adding) the fresh herb (cilantro or parsley) and stir very gently to mix (taking care not to break the fish into too small pieces) and add the water and cover and cook for 3-4 more mins until all the starchy veggies are cooked.
- Open lid and add the coconut milk. Check for seasoning and add more salt if needed.
- Finally turn heat to low and add the arrowroot and tapioca starch slurry slowly stirring gently with a wooden spoon while adding until the soup thickens to a creamy consistency(about 1 min). Turn heat off.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Pour the filling into ramekins (3-4) depending upon the size of your ramekins). Fill upto ¾ th of the ramekin. Then place about 2 tbsp of the mashed yucca (or the white sweet potato mixture) on top of each ramekin. Spread to cover the filling completely.
- Place the ramekins on a tray and place the tray in the oven and bake at 350 F for about 10 mins or until the topping gets a little crisp (don't bake for too long as the topping will get dry).
- Take the tray out of the oven and serve the pies warm!. You can freeze or refrigerate leftovers by keeping them in the same ramekins and covering with foil.