I love a good Thai chicken curry, fragrant with spices, chilli and ginger, and creamy with coconut milk. This is my pastry-topped tribute to that dish.
- 150 g plain flour
- Pinch of fine salt
- 40 g cold unsalted butter, cut into roughly 1cm dice
- 35 g cold lard, cut into, cut into roughly 1cm dice
- 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
- 3 tbsp cold water
- Beaten egg, to glaze
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 150 g in total)
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 300 g in total)
- 1½ tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 banana (echalion) shallots, chopped (or substitute regular shallots)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 tsp finely grated root ginger
- 2 tsp Thai green curry paste
- 200 ml coconut cream
- 150 ml chicken stock
- 2 lime leaves, torn
- 1 stem lemongrass, bruised
- 1 small sweet potato (about 175 g), peeled and cut into1cm dice
- 1 tsp cornflour, mixed with a splash of water
- A splash of Thai fish sauce
- 1 egg, beaten, to glaze
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.
Resting time: 30 minutes.
1. To make the pastry, put the flour in a bowl. Add the diced butter and lard and rub in lightly 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.
2. Using a table knife, work in just enough cold water (and lemon juice if using) 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 put in the fridge to rest for about 30 minutes.
3. For the filling, cut all the chicken into 1.5 cm chunks.
4. Heat the oil in a sauté pan or wide saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the shallot, garlic, chilli and ginger and fry gently for a few minutes until soft but not coloured.
5. 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 its 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.
6. Add the cornflour, 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. Leave to cool, then remove the lemongrass and lime leaves. Transfer filling to a 1.2 litre pie dish.
7. Meanwhile, heat oven to 200°C/gas 6.
8. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut a 2 cm strip of pastry, dampen the edge of the pie dish with water and press the pastry strip to it. Use a lattice cutter or knife 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. Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg then bake for about 30 minutes, until golden.
9. Leave the pie to sit in the tin for 5 minutes before serving with steamed or stir-fried greens.