Nourishing, filling and very economical, Hunza Pie is a hippy classic named after the Hunza people from northern Pakistan. You don’t see Hunza Pie around much anymore, but back in the 70s and early 80s it seemed to be served at every vegetarian cafe and wholefoods restaurant.
This version, adapted from one found in Vegetarian: Tempting Recipes from your Favourite Cooks (2006), has only one egg, which makes it less quiche-like than other Hunza Pie recipes – the egg merely serves to bind the other ingredients.
I tend to make Hunza Pie in late winter or early spring when there is loads of silverbeet (Swiss chard) in the garden, although it could be made equally successfully with English spinach or kale.
- 220g wholemeal (whole wheat) flour
- 110g unsalted butter, chopped
- 6 silverbeet leaves with stems attached
- 100g cooked brown rice (about 50g prior to cooking)*
- 200g tasty cheese, grated
- 1 egg, beaten
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 180 degreesC/160C fan-forced.
- Place flour in a food processor.
- Turn it on and add butter, one piece at a time, until the mixture looks crumbly.
- Add drips of cold water until mixture forms a ball (2-3 tablespoons).
- Put pastry in a bowl with a plate to cover and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- When 30 minutes is up, roll out pastry to fit a 24 cm metal flan tin with a removable base and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, wash silverbeet leaves, including stems.
- Separate leaves from stems and plunge into boiling water. The leaves should take about 2 minutes and the stems about 7 minutes. Drain.
- When they have cooled, squeeze water out of leaves and chop roughly. Slice stems finely.
- Mix stems and leaves in a bowl with cooked rice, grated cheese and beaten egg.
- Season with salt and pepper, place in shell, and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.