Friday, 17 January 2014

Student's fish pie

Today I'm offering you a slightly glamorized version of a budget recipe for a fish pie which I used to cook often as a student. You can use any oily canned fish, like sardines or tuna, even the tomato sauce variety if you prefer. I had a tin of Princes pink salmon that I've seen on offer in Tesco, and used it for our yesterday's dinner. Of course, when I was a student, I'd have chosen a cheap tin. All the other ingredients were also easily available and cheap, and it makes a very tasty and easy-peasy pie.

Fish pie (serves 6+)
1 tin of salmon (200g)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1tbsp vegetable oil+
1 mug of cooked rice (I used Tilda basmati)
Schwartz fish seasoning (optional)
250g low fat soured cream
250g low fat mayo
3 eggs
150g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder

First cook the rice in the boiling water, once done, rinse with the cold water and drain well. Then finely chop the onion and fry it with 1tbsp vegetable oil (or oil from the tinned fish), cook on low for about 10 minutes until the onion becomes translucent. Set aside and let it cool. Chop the spring onion and add to the onion. Mash the tinned fish and mix well with the onions, season with the fish seasoning if using.
Add the cooked rice, mix.
In a big mixing bowl beat together the eggs with the mayo and soured cream, add the flour and baking powder and mix again. The batter shouldn't be too thick, so that you can easily spoon it. If it is too thick, add a dash of milk and mix. The Russian mayo we used to cook with was of a runny variety, and worked very well in this recipe.
Take a cake tin or a deep pie dish and oil the inside of the tin a bit (you can also use the cake release oil, works a treat for this dish). Spoon in half of the batter. Put all the fish/rice mix on top. Spoon the remaining batter over the fish and rice.
Place the tin in the oven preheated to 180C and cook for about 45-50 minutes until the top is golden brown.
Take the tin out, let it rest for 5 minutes before carefully placing it on a plate.

Serve sliced. Great with pickles.

This recipe brings back memories of many a chat over a plate of the fish pie and numerous cups of tea with my friends. I had an old battered frying pan without a handle, which was blackened with age but worked really well, when I made my cakes and pies.

If using this recipe, buy the supermarket own mayo and soured cream rather than branded, so it will work as even less expensive.
I cooked this pie with Tilda basmati rice but again if you're counting the pennies, the supermarket varieties will be as fine.

Now some calculations:
Waitrose half fat mayo - £0.60
Waitrose soured cream h/f £1.10 (for 300ml) which is equivalent of £0.91 per 250ml
Princes pink salmon £1.50 (offer from tesco)
Tilda basmati - £4.49 per 1kg (also bought on offer a couple of weeks ago, when it was £3)
onion? about 10p?
essential Waitrose free range eggs 9 for £1.99 (22p each)
salad onions (about 8 in a bunch) for £0.95 (or 0.12 each)
with rice I'm not quite sure about the weight, as I didn't check, let's say I used less than 100g of dried rice so it would have been less than 30p.
I have a huge bag of flour, again not quite sure about the exact cost of 150g, but I didn't buy it specially for this dish.
The total cost would be about £4.30 for a big fish pie, which makes about 6 portions. If you use sardines, supermarket own rice and flour etc, it will be even less expensive.

Adding my budget recipe to £1 Recipe Challenge on Utterly Scrummy Food For Families Blog

and to January's Crunch Munch linky hosted by Fab Food for All blog and Fuss Free Flavours.


  1. Ooh yum, this sounds really good, is the batter like Yorkshire Pudding or is it kind of sponge like?

    1. I'm not a great expert on yorkies, but I think it is a bit inbetween, as it is quite spongey.

  2. This looks lovely - even better that it's so cheap to make. Definitely on my "to try" list :)

    1. Thank you Cheryl! There's also a version with sliced potatoes, and a different kind of pastry, which is cheap and cheerful.

  3. what a clever and delicious idea.. this is the kind of spongy cakey savoury thing I adore.. nice work!

    1. Thank you Dom! I had the last piece today with pickles, cold from the fridge, and enjoyed the very last crumbs.

  4. I love this pie, so original and tasty:-) Thanks for entering Credit Crunch Munch;-)

    1. Thank you Camilla! It was a blast from the past for me, when I recreated my student days

  5. this pie looks so great! I will definitely give this a try - so different as well.