Moroccan inspired ginger sweet potato and coconut pie

I can be quite an indecisive person.  This isn’t because I don’t know what I like, but because I like so many things I find it difficult narrowing it down, and am very happy with a wide range of things.  One weekend we knew that we wanted to cook some fish, but not how we wanted to cook it.  I had a think and curled up on the sofa with some of my old and trusty cook books to look for some inspiration.  After flicking through about 5 or 6 books the ideas that appealed to me most were either a Thai inspired coconut soup, fish pie or Moroccan spiced grilled fish with sweet potato mash. My husband was equally content with all three so I decided to combine the ideas into one dish.  I love sweet potato, not only for the taste but also for the unfailingly cheerful colour, so that element was definitely staying, as was the Moroccan spice as ras el hanout is a wonderfully complex and balanced spice mix.  I kept the coconut from the Thai soup as I though its sweet creaminess would work well with the sweet potato and, as anyone who has read many of my blog posts will know, I love things that can just be baked in the oven (as they are such low effort) and my husband loves pies so I put everything together in the shape of a mash topped pie.  I never miss an opportunity to shove a few extra vegetables into a dish so I picked a few that I thought would soak up the sauce nicely and added them to the filling and voila, there was my indecisive mishmash of a dish which actually turned out to be pretty tasty!

Moroccan inspired ginger sweet potato and coconut pie

Cooking time: 20 minutes preparation, 15-25 minutes baking in the oven

Dietary info: diary-free, gluten-free, pescatarian (vegan option available in “tasty little twists”)

Serves: 3-4

Filling:

  • 400g fish cut into chunks, I use fish pie mix
  • 400ml coconut milk (I usually use a coconut drink milk alternative for a lighter dish than coconut milk in a can)
  • 1 aubergine, cut into cubes
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • ½ a broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 fish stock cube, crumbled (check it is dairy-free /gluten-free if you want to make this dish dairy-free / gluten-free)
  • 1 ½ – 2 tsp ras el hanout seasoning
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 ½ tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 50ml water
  • 1 tsp cornflour

Topping:

  • 1 sweet potato, scrubbed and chopped into chunks (no need to peel unless you like your mash super smooth)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk (again, I usually use a coconut drink milk alternative)
  • 1-2 tsp freshly grated ginger (depending on how strong you like the ginger taste)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  1. Put the onion in a saucepan with the water and cook, covered for 2 minutes.  Add the aubergine and cook for a further 2 minutes then add the broccoli and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the all of the remaining filling ingredients, and simmer until the fish is opaque and flakes easily (about 5-10 minutes).
  3. Boil the sweet potatoes in plenty of water until they are soft (about 10-15 minutes) then drain. Add all of the other mash ingredients and either blend in a food processor or mash by hand until you have a smooth mash (don’t worry if there are some bits of potato skin as this can add an interesting texture.  If you want a super smooth mash then peel the potatoes but this does get rid of some of the nutrients and fibre).
  4. Spoon the filling solids into an ovenproof dish using a slotted spoon, reserving the liquid, and cover with the mash. I like to score the top of the mash with a fork to make ridges as these go crisper than a smooth top.
  5. Bake the pie for 15-25 minutes until the top is crispy.
  6. Simmer the reserved liquid from the filling until it thickens enough to lightly coat a spoon to make a kind of coconut gravy to serve on the side of the pie.  This pie is particularly nice served with a fresh crispy salad or steamed vegetables dressed with the coconut gravy and a squeeze of lemon.

A few tips to prep ahead:

  • Make the sweet potato mash up to 5 days ahead and keep in a sealed container in the fridge.
  • I like to eat fish as fresh as possible (within a day or two), but you can prepare the rest of the filling up to 5 days ahead and keep in a sealed container in the fridge then just cook from step 2 ahead on the day or a day ahead.  If cooking a day ahead then you can assemble the whole pie and keep, covered in the fridge, then just bake on the night.

Some tasty little twists…

Make a vegan version of this pie:

  • Replace the fish stock cube with a vegetable one (make sure it is vegan stock cube if you want the make the dish vegan).
  • Replace the fish with 250g oyster mushrooms and/or 400g firm tofu, drained and patted dry with kitchen paper.
  • Cook as above, adding the mushrooms / tofu when you would add the fish

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Make this a stew with ginger wedges and gravy:

  • Cook the filling (fish or vegan version) and coconut gravy as above.
  • Slice the sweet potato into wedges and steam or boil for 4-5 minutes until just softening.
  • Put 1 tbsp of vegetable or coconut oil on an ovenproof tray and put in the oven at 160C fan for 4-5 minutes until it is hot.
  • Toss the wedges in 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tsp ground ginger then mix into the oil on the baking tray and put them into the oven for 15-20 minutes until they are crispy.

If you want to skip the baking time, just heat through the mash and serve on the side of the fish or vegan stew with the coconut gravy to pour over everything.

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