Masalabilities: Shepherd’s Pie with Aloo Gobi

 By Karen Johnson @karenjohnsontv & online at

Most of us masalamommas love to cook, but exploring the options of how to make a quick family meal amidst a harried day at work isn’t easy. After having her second child just over a year ago, there was even less time to think about food let alone cook a whole meal, for on-air personality, Karen Johnson. For this mother of two, by keeping it simple, she was able to put the “family” back into her family meals.  Johnson points out you can still keep your meals full of wholesome Indian ingredients but dress them up as a new dish.

And Voila! Here’s her recipe for Shepherd’s Pie: Masala Style which will be one of many recipes featured on her upcoming international cooking show, The South Asian Tasting Table. Her co-host Ronica Sanjnani says, “This is simply keema and aloo sabzi, prepped and assembled like a shepherd’s pie.”





1 kg ground meat (beef, pork, lamb, chicken)

Vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan. You will need less for lamb it is usually more fatty, more for chicken for the opposite reason

Spinach or peas to taste (you don’t have to add anything), you can add potatoes

1 tbsp ground/finely chopped ginger

1 tbsp ground/finely chopped garlic

2 medium onion – diced

1 tsp hot red pepper

½ – 1 tsp turmeric

1 tbsp garam masala

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground coriander

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 can of tinned tomatoes coarsely chopped

1tsp salt or to taste

Fresh coriander & green chilies to garnish

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan. When a drop of water sputters as dropped, add onion. When it is transparent add ginger and garlic. When this is a rich brown (add water to deglaze if you need to), add cumin, coriander, turmeric, hot pepper, salt & garam masala. Cook stirring for about about 5 – 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes (paste, tinned and or fresh if you choose) with a little water to prevent sticking to the bottom. Cook stirring for a few minutes till the ingredients are well mixed & then add the meat. Cook stirring (add water as needed) until the meat is browned & fully cooked. If you are adding anything (spinach/peas/potatoes) do it now. Add water and/or a quart of yogurt (no sugar, natural); bring to a boil over moderate heat. Now turn it to low, cover and cook until desired consistency. Keep adding water if necessary. It is not essential to use yogurt, water works just as well. Make sure the keema does not have too much gravy.




6 large potatoes (or more if you like potatoes), diced quite small

1 tsp mustard seeds

2 or 3 whole red chilies or crushed red chilies (optional)

Vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp garam masala

Salt to taste

Heat the oil and crackle the red chilies if you are using them and mustard seeds – 30 seconds. Add the turmeric and garam masala, stir and add the potatoes. Coat the potatoes well with the spice mixture; turn to low cover and cook until tender. Add water if you need to and cook till tender and mash – as in mashed potatoes.

Now prep the shepherd’s pie. Layer a baking dish with the meat; pack well and then cover with the potatoes. Pack well and cool. Before serving bake in the over at 300 until warmed through. This can also be done in small individual ramekins, or served as portions on a bed of daal.

About Karen Johnson

Cooking didn’t come naturally to Karen so when the station she was working for chose her
to co-host a cooking show she jumped at the opportunity to learn another skill! 13 years
later The Veggie Table is still on the air nationally and internationally.

A Toronto native, Karen has extensive experience in the television world as a Producer,
Host, Writer, Reporter and Weather Anchor.
  Happily married and the mother of two boys, home cooking is now a top priority. A self-made chef, Karen cooks up dishes and hosts dinner parties and major events like a pro!

For more information on Karen and her new cooking show with Ronica Sanjnani visit:



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