There’s nothing better than a juicy, crispy, lush Scotch pie – unless of course you add spices to it. The sweet, fatty taste of the lamb mince is paired with white pepper, nutmeg, coriander, cumin and some chilli. It’s fantastic for picnics or lunches. Ideally, you need to make this a day in advance to give the pie time to set. If you have time, refrigerate the cooled pie for at least 2 hours before trying to remove it from the tin.






Skill level

Average: 3.7 (59 votes)


  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • ¾ tbsp rapeseed oil or vegetable oil, plus 
  • extra for greasing
  • 2 medium red onions, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 green chillies, seeds removed if liked, finely chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground mace or grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) lamb mince
  • 1 tsp freshly ground white pepper
  • 2¼ tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • salt

Hot water pastry

  • 340 g (12 oz) plain flour, plus extra for flouring
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 90 ml (3 fl oz) water
  • 90 ml (3 fl oz) milk
  • 150 g (5 oz) lard, chopped into cubes, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten, for brushing

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Heat a large frying pan and toast the cumin seeds for a few minutes, then set aside. Heat the oil in the same pan and fry the onion, garlic, chilli, pepper and a good pinch of salt for around 8 minutes, until there is no moisture left. Remove from the heat, stir in the toasted cumin seeds, ground mace (or nutmeg) and ground coriander. Leave to cool.

In a large bowl mix the minced lamb, pepper, fresh coriander, and the cool spiced onion mixture until combined. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6, and generously grease a 20 cm (8 in) loose-bottomed round cake tin with lard.

To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Put the water, milk and lard in a saucepan and heat gently. When the lard has melted, increase the heat and bring to the boil. Pour the boiling liquid into the flour, and use a wooden spoon to combine until cool enough to handle. Bring together into a ball.

Dust a work surface with flour and, working quickly, knead the dough briefly – it will be soft and moist. Set aside a third of the pastry and roll the rest out on a well-floured surface. Line the pie dish with the pastry, pressing it right up the sides until it pokes just over the top of the tin.

Add the filling into the pastry-lined tin bit by bit. As you reach the top, form a slight peak. Roll out the remaining pastry and top the pie with it. Pinch the edges to seal and trim the excess. Poke a hole in the top of the pie and insert a small tube made from aluminium foil to allow steam to escape. Brush with egg yolk, and bake on a shelf in the oven for 30 minutes (put a tray on the shelf below to catch any drips). Reduce the temperature to 160°C/325°F/gas 3 and cook for a further 1¼ hours until golden brown. Leave to cool completely.

Run a knife around the edge of the pie, remove from the tin and serve.


Recipe from The Incredible Spice Men by Cyrus Todiwala and Tony Singh (BBC Books, $49.99, hbk, available here)


View all the recipes from The Incredible Spice Men.