This weeks recipe is in honour of British pie week, and also because pie is one of my husband’s favourite foods. British cuisine has long been a melting pot for flavours from around the world, and curry is one of the nation’s favourite dishes so I wanted to make a pie that reflected this. I like the way the fresh citrus tastes of the filling and dressing balance the richness of the pastry. Although I can’t claim pie as a low-fat or calorie food, this recipe used plant oils in the pastry which reduces the saturated fat content and the filling is full of lean protein and vegetables. For a lighter dish, just have the Thai curry filling on its own or halve the amount of pastry.
Thai curry pie
Cooking time: 30-35 minutes prep, 30 minutes baking
Dietary info: dairy free, vegan version available
- 1 bunch coriander (about 20g), leaves chopped (reserve the stems if you are making your own curry paste using the recipe below)
Thai curry filling
- 400 g diced chicken (breast or thigh), or use quorn chicken pieces for a vegetarian version or tofu for a vegan version
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 1 aubergine, diced
- 2 tbsp bought Thai curry paste or 1 quantity of the curry paste recipe below – if you want to make a vegetarian or vegan pie be careful that the curry paste is suitable as they may contain shrimp paste
- 200ml water
- 200ml coconut drink (coconut based milk substitute), or canned coconut milk if you prefer
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 4 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 tbsp fish sauce, or soy sauce for a vegan version
Lime and ginger coconut pastry
- 50 g dairy free spread
- 50 g solid coconut oil
- 200 g wholemeal flour
- 100g spelt flour
- 100ml coconut drink, plus a few tbsp extra to brush the top of the pie
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- zest of 1 lime
- ½ tsp salt
- Put the curry paste, chicken, onion and aubergine in a saucepan and stir to combine.
- Add the water, coconut drink, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, cover and simmer until the vegetables are soft and the chicken is cooked through (about 20 minutes).
- Make the pastry by rubbing the spread and coconut oil into the flour until you have a mixture that resembles fine crumbs.
- Stir in the ginger, lime zest, salt and 100ml coconut drink and bring the mixture together into a form but pliable dough with your hands. Don’t knead it too much or the pastry will get tough.
- Roll out 2/3rd of the pastry to 2-3mm thickness and use it to line an ovenproof pie dish. If you want a lighter pie then skip steps 5 and 6 and just use half the pastry to cover the pie (step 9). You can then freeze the other half of the pastry for a quicker pie next time (my husband likes to think of this as make one, get one free pie).
- Blind bake the pie case at 160C fan for 20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and feels “sandy” to the touch. This pastry doesn’t puff up much so there is no need to use baking beans.
- Season the curry with the soy or fish sauce.
- Remove the solids from the curry with a slotted spoon and put on a plate to cool, reserving the curry liquid.
- Fill the baked pie case with the cooled filling, roll out the remaining 1/3 of the pastry and use it to cover the pie. Trim the edges, poke a few holes in the top to let air escape as it cooks and brush the top with the remaining coconut drink. The pastry can be quite crumbly so don’t worry if it isn’t very neat and cracks (mine did!).
- Bake at 160C fan for 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Serve with reserved curry sauce (reheat for 1-2 minutes before serving), a salad or some steamed oriental vegetables, and the lime ginger sauce below if you wish.
A few tips to prep ahead:
- Make the pastry and store it wrapped in cling film or a sealable food bag in the fridge.
- Make the filling, separate the solids and liquid and store in sealed containers in the fridge.
- Make the ginger lime sauce and store in a sealed container in the fridge.
- You can even make and cook the whole pie and keep, covered, in the pie dish in the fridge for a few days then just reheat until hot in the centre (about 15 minutes). The pastry at the bottom will go a little soggier than if you made the pie up on the night but the curry flavours will develop over the few extra days.
Some tasty little extras…
My husband’s mantra is “you can never have too much sauce” so, even though you get a nice bowl of curry sauce from the Thai curry, I also made a fresh and zingy lime and ginger dressing to serve on the side. This makes a good dressing for a crispy salad or lightly steamed vegetables to balance the pie.
Ginger lime sauce
Cooking time: less than 5 minutes
Dietary info: dairy free, gluten-free, vegan
Serves: 4 as a dressing
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- ½ – 1 tsp chilli flakes
- juice of 1 and ½ lines
- 4 tbsp coconut milk drink
- ½ tsp sugar or sweetener such as Stevia
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- Combine all the ingredients and heat gently for 30-60s in a small saucepan or the microwave.
Although there are lots of great curry pastes readily available from shops now, there is something very satisfying about making your own. This version is a kind of half way house – it isn’t particularly authentic and uses several shortcuts, but it is incredibly quick and simple to make and still makes the curry feel that bit more homemade.
Quick and easy cheat Thai curry paste
Cooking time: less than 5 minutes
Dietary info: dairy free, gluten-free, vegan version available
Makes 1 quantity of curry paste for the curry recipe above (to serve 3-4 people)
- the stems from 1 bunch coriander, washed and chopped
- 1 small white onion, chopped
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 finely sliced stalk of lemon grass
- 4 kaffir lime leaves, chopped
- 1 tsp ground galangal (or ginger if you can’t find galangal)
- 1 heaped tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp shrimp powder or paste (omit for a vegan version)
- 50ml water
- Put all of the ingredients into a small food processor and blend to a smooth paste. If you don’t have a food processor, pound to a paste in a pestle and mortar or chop the coriander stems and onion extra fine and mash together with the spices and water.