Achari Paneer & Bell Pepper Pie

Adding an Indian twist to the pie

Preparation time: 40mins
Cooking time: 40mins

Recipe Ingredients: for Paneer Filling
1 cup paneer, cubed (cottage cheese)
1 cup cheese (mozzarella, cheddar)
1 cup red, yellow & green bell peppers, diced
1 teaspoon fennel seed (saunf)
¼ teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
5-6 fenugreek seeds (methi)
1 teaspoon onion seeds (kalonji)
½ teaspoon cumin seed (jeera)
½ teaspoon asafetida powder (hing)
1 cup onion, sliced
½ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup yogurt (dahi)
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour (maida)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (dhaniya)
1 tablespoon oil
salt to taste
Recipe Ingredients: for Pie Crust :
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, chilled and diced
¼ cup ice water
Recipe Method: to make Achari Paneer Filling :
1. Mix the fennel seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, onion seeds, cumin seeds and asafetida in a small bowl.
2. Heat the oil and add the seed mixture. When they crackle, add the onion and saute till it turns translucent.
3. Add the paneer, turmeric, chili powder and stir for some time. Add the yogurt, sprinkle the plain flour and mix well.
4. Add the cilantro and salt and bring to a boil. Take the pan off the flame and let it cool down to a warm consistency. Then add half the cheese.
5. Set aside to fill in pie.
Recipe Method: to make Pie Crust :
In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. You should be able to gently press the dough into a ball. Handle the dough as little as possible; overworking will make it tough.
The dough needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 mins. This allows the flour to absorb all of the liquid, lets the dough relax and become more elastic, and keeps the fat in discrete pieces which will give the crust a lighter texture when it's baked.
Generously dust a clean, dry surface with flour; remove and unwrap the dough from the refrigerator. Split the dough in half, place one hald back in the fridge for future use. Flatten only one of the dough slightly with your hands and dust the dough lightly with flour before rolling the dough out with a rolling pin. Start rolling at the center of the dough and work outwards. Working quickly roll the dough into a circle ¼-inch thick or smaller.
The dough round should be two to four inches wider in diameter than your pie pan. Gently fold the dough in half, and then into quarters. Carefully pick it up and place it into the pie plate so the center point of dough is in the center of the pan.
Unfold the dough, letting the weight of the dough settle it in the bottom and edges of the pan. Without stretching the dough, press the pastry into the pan with your fingertips. (PUT DOUGH ASIDE FOR LATTICE)
Use kitchen shears or a paring knife to trim the dough to about a half-inch overhang. Save the scraps; you can use those to bulk up thin areas of the crust when you're fluting the edges. Fold the dough under itself onto the flat rim of the pie plate. Flute the edges of the crust, loosely cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 mins before baking.
Place a baking sheet on a lower oven rack and preheat the oven to 220 C. Once the dough is chilled, it should be firm to the touch. Pierce the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork to prevent air pockets from forming. Line the crust with a double thickness of aluminum foil, making sure the foil is all the way to the edges of the bottom of the pan.
Fill the foil with pie weights or dried beans. Make sure they're distributed all across the bottom and partly up the sides of the foil-lined crust. The weights ensure that the crust holds its shape during baking and doesn't slump in the pan or bubble up.
Put the pie plate on the preheated baking sheet and reduce the oven temp to 200 C. Bake until the edges of the crust are starting to turn golden and the bottom of the crust has lost its translucent "raw" look, 10 to 12 mins. Remove the baking sheet and pie pan from the oven. Lift up the edges of the foil and set the beans aside. Return the pie and baking sheet to the oven. Save the beans for the next time you bake a pie, or discard them; they're no good to eat once they've been baked. Bake the crust until the bottom is just beginning to color, 6 to 8 mins.
Baking the Pie : 
Take the pie out of the oven when golden.
Ladle the filling into the pie. Sprinkle the top with the remainder of the cheese. And make lattice pattern with the remaining dough.
Place the pie back in the oven at 175 C and cook till cheese melts to a golden brown on top.
Remove the pie from the oven. Let it sit for 5 mins, cut and serve.




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Author of the Recipe: reetika varshney

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Life always gives big opportunities in the form of small hints. The big move in Pankaj Bhadouria’s life came with a small step when she decided to leave her successful teaching career spanning over 16 years and enter India's 1st televised cookery reality show - MasterChef India on the leading GEC - Star Plus. And as they say, fortune favours the brave, Pankaj went on to become a worthy winner and with it India's first ever MasterChef. The comfort of the classroom gave way to the adulations, accolades and a host of achievements. Pankaj hosted her first cookery show - "Chef Pankaj ka Zayka" on Star Plus during Sep-Oct 2011 where she showcased her passion for cooking. The success of this daily show added another flavor to her sweet success.

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