Updated: Oct 28, 2020
This use to be my go to at the chippy in my meat eating days. But even then the horror of eating a bit of offal by mistake thinking it was just a steak pudding, took the shine off that ooze of gravy as you broke into the stodgy dome of suet pastry.
This dish may not make much sense if you aren't British. It may not make much sense if you're not a Northerner! This recipe is very much offal free - steakless, as the title suggests using dried soya mince instead of meat, and chunks of mushroom as the kidney. The soya mince is really quite easy to get hold of - Holland & Barrett with their usual buy one get one half price, or Morrisons sell it in the Indian part of the World Food section. I can it at our local Indian shop too. The instructions on the packet will tell you to soak in water first. This makes for a watery squidge when you bite on the chunks, so what I do is make the gravy with more water and cook the chunks in the sauce to soak up the flavour....trust me, it works!
Also, there is a sneaky bit of marmite in the gravy, don't panic...not enough to be able to sniff it out, but it gives a good bit of colour and depth of flavour to the gravy.
I find it works better to make the filling the day before, this really gives the flavour chance to soak into the soya pieces. If you use a 0.75 litre pudding basin then that gives plenty of room for any rise and saves having to faff with pleats and folds in the foil whilst cooking.
The pudding is steamed, this can be done in a big pan, placing the basin on an upturned saucer and filling up to 2 thirds of the way up with boiling water, or a dedicated steamer. What I do is use my slow cooker on high...works a treat!
This recipe serves 2/3 people
For the filling...
1 medium onion chopped
1/2 tbsp dairy free spread
125g mushrooms, chopped into bite sized chunks
2tbsps original Bisto, in the red cardboard drum
400ml boiling water
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
A few grinds of black pepper
65g dry soya mince (see notes above)
1/2 tsp marmite
1/2 tbsp mushroom ketchup
1/4 tsp gravy browning, optional
For the pastry...
120g self raising flour
60g vegetable suet
Good pinch of salt
Dairy free butter for greasing
Gently cook the onion in the dairy free spread for around 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until starting to brown. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until they have started to brown too.
Mix boiling water onto the bisto powder to make gravy. Add the rosemary, pepper, marmite and mushroom ketchup and browning if using. Add this to the pan of onions and gravy and stir in the soya mince.
Cover the pan and simmer for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, remove from the heat and set to one side (see notes above)
Mix the pastry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the cold water and mix to form a soft dough.
Gently knead the dough on a floured surface and cut a third off for the lid.
Grease your pudding bowl
Roll the dough big just enough to line your pudding bowl, it should be just less than1cm thick or so, and shouldn't reach the top of the dish to allow for a bit of rise. Gently line your greased pudding bowl with it, and place the pre prepared filling in, then roll the lid and drop onto the top of the filling
Use a sharp knife to trim the edges a couple of centimetres from the top of the basin and pinch the edges together to seal the filling in.
Cover tightly with foil and place in chosen steamer (see notes above). Leave to cook for about 50 minutes, making sure the pan doesn't boil dry - this is where the slow cooker comes into its own!