Monday, October 11, 2010

Chicken Curry Pies

I don't know why it is but Sunday nights just seem the perfect time for a comforting curry. Whether it's chicken or beef, the flavour experience far outweighs the physical effort of making it. Best of all it's the type of dish you can easily arrange to make more than you need because leftover curry is even tastier.

But this post isn't about making the curry - it's about what you do with your leftover curry and rice.

chicken madras curry© by Haalo

Actually, this post is also about a type of pastry that I've absolutely fallen in love with - something called Hot Water Pastry.

I've known about Hot Water Pastry for a long time but for some unexplained reason I always thought that is was difficult, so I just never bothered. After all, I make a pretty decent shortcrust so that's been more than adequate to supply my savoury needs.

A few months ago I finally bit the bullet and decided to make Hot Water Pastry - after some research I decided to follow Shannon Bennett's recipe (found in My French Vue) and the rest is history - I'm hooked.

It has to be one of the simplest and most forgiving pastry I've ever worked with. It can be ultra thin yet strong and once cooked, it's so short and buttery, is it absolutely divine. But don't believe me, the proof is as they say, in the pudding or in this case, in the photo of a pie!

Chicken Curry Pies© by Haalo

Chicken Curry Pies
[Makes 2-4 individual pies]

Hot Water Pastry
100 grams plain flour
40mls water
50 grams salted butter

chicken madras curry
basmati rice, cooked

Make the pastry:

Place the butter and water into a small saucepan over a low heat. Allow to slowly come to boil.

Sift the flour into a bowl - make a well in the center and pour in the hot liquid. Using a flat knife, stir this until it comes together. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before turning it out onto a board that has been lightly dusted with flour. Knead briefly to form a ball.

hot water pastry© by Haalo

At this stage it's not going to look the best, there is still heat in the dough - it won't be as smooth as a regular shortcrust but don't be tempted to overwork it. This is just how it looks.

Let it sit for about 5 minutes before continuing.

Divide your dough into portions - for this recipe I divided it into 2.

Lightly dust your board. Take a portion and knead it to form a ball. At this stage you should notice a textural change in the dough - it will be lovely and smooth and super elastic.

For this recipe I've made my pies in soufflé dishes because I like these pies to be quite high. You'll have to roll out your dough to suit the dishes you use.

Roll this out to form a circle - don't be too pedantic about rolling it so it fits exactly - you'll find that you can stretch the pastry to fit the mould giving you a far thinner result.

I roll it so it almost fits and then using my thumbs and index fingers, apply gentle pressure to coax the pastry into position and to the right size. For this pie I want the edges to just hang over. Trim them to size, reserving the off-cuts to make the lid.

hot water pastry© by Haalo

Curry does have a fair amount of liquid and when heated in a pie you can end up with the juices running out. My way around this is to use the leftover rice as a sponge. Just add a spoonful to the base - fill the pies with the curry and then another spoonful to the top of the pie. The rice ends up absorbing the juices meaning they stay in your pie and not on your oven tray.

Roll out your reserved dough to form a circle - it should be a bit smaller than the width of your dish. Make a hole in the centre of this circle before resting it on your filling. Fold the edges of the pie back over, crimping them as you do.

Chicken Curry Pies© by Haalo

Brush the tops of the pies with a little milk and place on a baking tray.

Bake in a preheated 170°C oven until golden and cooked through - this depends on the size of your pie - in this case they took around 30-35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let them stand for a couple of minutes before turning out.

Chicken Curry Pies© by Haalo

You can serve these straight away or make them ahead of time and reheat (keep the pies in their dishes but cover them with foil to stop them from over-browning).


  1. I've never made pastry... but after reading about the hot water pastry and seeing the pictures, I want to give it a go! Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Bookmarked and making. Endless fillings.. YUM!

  3. Forgiving pastry? You had me at that line. Definitely going to give this a go now!

  4. oh wow this is very interesting! am going to give it a try soonish!

  5. my mouth is watering. in south africa ready made chicken curry pies are very common - something you will NEVER find in the u.k. even mass produced chicken curry pies there are delicious. I want one now!!!!

  6. Wow, this is fantastic. What a great post and what stylish pies. Thanks.

  7. Thanks Leaf - I hope you do try it, I am absolutely in love with this pastry, there's not need to rest it, it doesn't shrink, it is fabulous!

    Thanks Penny - have fun with the pastry!

    Thanks Celeste!

    Thanks Ananda!

    They are too delicious Melanie!

    Thanks Ali-K!

  8. yemmm . it's look sweet . thanks for this post


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