Monday, April 18, 2011

Chicken Curried Pies

Pies are a bit of a Kiwi institution. Sadly though, finding a decent one can be a case of hit and miss. Soggy bases, chewy pastry, bland and fatty fillings, these things are common in your bog-standard store-bought pie. You'd think as a nation of pie-lovers we would be a bunch of connoisseurs, but yet we still put up with sub-par pies. I guess the attraction of a nice comforting pie is just too strong. Well I for one won't settle for a crappy pie any more. Not since I realised how easy (and economical) they are to make at home. You can even keep a bunch in the freezer and heat them up when you get that craving. 

The pastry in this recipe is amazing,  exactly how pie pastry should be: flaky and melt-in-the-mouth, and the filling is chunky and tangy.  I guess pies are not something you should eat everyday, but when they are this tasty I am tempted to ignore my sensibility. However, since these are mini sized pies they are more suitable for an afternoon tea, or as a party snack, so more of a snack than a meal, so not something you'd consume everyday...although you will surely be tempted.

Btw if you're not a fan of Indian spices just substitute them with herbs like rosemary, thyme, parsley, etc. You could even switch the mango chutney with your favourite relish.
Also, if you think making mini pies is too fiddly and time consuming, why not make one large pie or several bigger ones.
Adapted from a recipe by Jane Price:


375g (3 cups) plain flour
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric powder
200g butter, chopped
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
100-115ml ice cold water

50g butter
350g boneless chicken, eg tenderloins or breast. Trimmed and diced into small cubes.
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
2 tablespoons sweet mango chutney
3 tablespoons chopped coriander

milk, to glaze


First, make the pastry:
Place the flour, cumin and turmeric in a large bowl. Give it a wee whisk. Add the cubes of butter and rub in the butter with your fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Make a well in the centre and add the egg yolks and water. Use a flat-bladed knife and "cut" the mixture as you mix it until it becomes clumpy.
Tip the mixture onto lightly floured surface and work it into a ball. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Lightly grease two 12-hole patty tins, or small muffin tins. Roll out two thirds of the pastry to 2mm thick, cut 9cm rounds to fit into the tins. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut 24 tops with a 7cm cutter.
Keep these chilled in fridge.
Note: not all patty tins are a standard size, so while this the 7cm and 9cm cutters were ideal size for my tins, you should do a test cut first to see what size will suit you best. If you make a different size it will also change the amount you will make. So some common sense is involved. Btw don't worry if you don't have cutters the size you need; jar lids work well. So just look in your pantry. The lid of my jar of peanut butter worked ideally for me.

Now prepare your filling:
Heat the butter in a large saucepan or frypan. Add onion, cook until soft. Add chicken, when browned stir in the garam masala and cumin seeds. Cook for 2 minutes. Add flour, stir for 30 seconds. Remove from heat, gradually stir in stock. Return to heat, stir until boiling, reduce heat and simmer until sauce reduces and gets very thick. Stir in chutney and coriander. Season. Set aside to cool.

Preheat your oven to 180 Celsius.
Divide the filling equally among the pastry cases, brush the edges with water. Lay the pastry tops on the pies and press around the edges with a fork. Make a couple of wee slashes in the top of the pies to let steam escape. Brush tops with milk then bake for 30 minutes.

Makes 24


  1. New layout? Looks good ^_^ Usually I read this in my Reader so maybe it's been a while and I haven't noticed...

  2. you write so well! and the photos perfect, and of course the food amazing, you should take this up professionally!!!!!!

  3. Your mini pies look wonderful! The dangerous thing about mini pies is that you always think you can fit in just one more pie...

    You are so smart with your 2 x 12 tins. I only have 6 tin and it gets really boring when I'm making 18 or more things. After the third round in the oven, I just want to pack it in. I really should invest in a second tin. Or better still, a couple of 12 tins. 24 pies at once? That would be amazing.

  4. The pie look delish ! Would definitely wanna try this recipe :)

  5. Totally agree if you want a decent pie make it yourself, these look delicious and I love the spices.

    Wondered whether you would like to join the association? It's a site to promote all nz food bloggers, events and an upcoming conference.

  6. Sasa - Thanks, I don't think I've changed it for a while, though I've discovered it looks a bit different on different computers (I don't know why).

    Thomas - Churr bro, you're a great cheerleader. :P

    bunnyeatsdesign - Oh yes they are deceptive like that, I probably end up eating more of them just coz they are little. But at least when you make a huge batch it's harder to notice that a whole handful have just disappeared (into my belly).

    Aisha Jameel - Cool, I just checked out your blog, and have found a few things I'm keen to try. :) Might even make that dal tonight.

    peasepudding - What a great site/idea, looks really interesting, keen for sure.


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