30 mins to 1 hour
30 mins to 1 hour
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.
Equipment and preparation: for this recipe you will need a 1.2 litre/2 pint pie dish and a lattice cutter.
For the filling, cut all the chicken into 15mm/5/8in chunks. Heat the oil in a sauté pan or a wide saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the shallots, garlic, chilli and ginger and fry gently for a few minutes, or until soft but not coloured.
Stir in the curry paste and cook for a minute or two. Add the chicken pieces, increase the heat a little and cook, stirring all the time, until the chicken has lost its raw look. Add the coconut cream, chicken stock, lime leaves, lemongrass and sweet potato. Simmer for 12–15 minutes, or until the sweet potato is tender.
Add the cornflour, bring to a simmer and stir until the sauce begins to thicken. Take off the heat and season, to taste, with black pepper and a little fish sauce. Leave to cool. Remove the lemongrass and lime leaves and transfer to a 1.2 litre/2 pint pie dish.
To make the shortcrust pastry, put the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and lard and rub in lightly with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively, do this in a food processor or a mixer and then transfer to a bowl.
Using a table knife, work in two tablespoons of cold water and the lemon juice (if using) until the pastry comes together. Add a little extra water if needed.
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.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface. Cut a long 2cm/¾in wide strip of pastry, dampen the edge of the pie dish with water and press the pastry strip to it. Use a lattice cutter to cut a pattern in the remaining 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 any excess pastry. Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden-brown. Leave the pie to sit in the tin for five minutes before serving.
By Bill Granger
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