I love a good Thai chicken curry, fragrant with spices, chilli and ginger, and creamy with coconut milk. This is my pastry-topped version tribute to that dish.
Makes: 6 Bake: 20 minutes
For the shortcrust pastry
150g plain flour
Pinch of fine salt
40g cold unsalted butter, cut into roughly 1cm dice
35g cold lard, cut into roughly 1cm dice
1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
3-4 tbsp very cold water
1 egg, beaten, to glaze
For the filling
2 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, about 150g in total
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about 100g in total
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 eschalions (banana shallots), chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tsp finely grated root ginger
2 tsp Thai green curry paste
200ml coconut cream
150ml chicken stock
2 lime leaves
1 lemongrass stem, bruised
1 small sweet potato, about 175g, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
1 tsp cornflour, mixed with a splash of water
A splash of Thai fish sauce
1.2 litre pie dish
Pastry lattice cutter
1. For the filling cut all the chicken into 1.5cm chunks. Heat the oil in a sauté pan or wide saucepan over a medium low heat. Add the shallots, garlic, chilli and ginger and fry gently for a few minutes until soft but not coloured.
2. Stir in the curry paste and cook for a minute or two. Add the chicken. Increase the heat a little and cook, stirring until it has lost it’s raw look. Add the coconut cream, chicken stock, lime leaves, lemongrass and sweet potato. Simmer for 12-15 minutes, until the sweet potato is tender.
3. Add the cornflour liquid, bring to a simmer and stir until the sauce begins to thicken, then take off the heat. Taste the sauce and season with pepper and a little fish sauce. Set aside to cool.
4. To make the pastry, put the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the diced butter and lard and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively, do this in a food processor or a mixer and then transfer to a bowl.
5. Now work in just enough cold water to bring the pastry together. When the dough begins to stick together use your hands to gently knead it into a ball. Wrap the pastry in cling film and place in the fridge to rest for about 30 minutes.
6. Heat your oven to 200°C/gas6.
7. Remove the lemongrass and lime leaves from the cooked pie filling if you prefer and transfer to a 1.2 litre pie dish.
8. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut a 2cm wide strip of pastry. Dampen the rim of the pie dish with water, press the pastry strip onto it and dampen this too. Use a pastry lattice cutter to cut a pattern in the remaining piece of pastry. Pull the pastry very gently to open up the lattice, then place over the pie. Press the edges down to seal, then trim away the excess pastry.
9. Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg then bake in the oven for about 30 mintues, until golden. Leave the pie to sit in the tin for 5 minutes before serving with steamed or stir-fried greens.
Taken from Paul Hollywood’s Pies & Puds, published by Bloomsbury
Photograph © Peter Cassidy