Tuesday, 16 April 2013

East meets West with my Chicken Korma Pie

This weekend I created a new recipe, Chicken Korma Pie. It was an idea my husband suggested when I had some chicken breasts to use for tea and couldn't decide whether to make a curry or a pie. 'Why don't you combine the two ideas?' he said. That set me thinking and I decided to give it a go. We enjoy spicy food in our house. I have a variety of Indian, Thai and Japanese curries that I cook. We wouldn't normally eat pies as they aren't the healthiest of meals. They are quite high in calories and saturated fat, mainly due to the pastry, high meat content and heavy sauces. However it was whilst reading a recipe in the March edition of the Healthy Food Guide Magazine that I discovered a healthier variation on the traditional pie that changed my thinking. In the recipe they used slightly less meat and bulked it out with some veg. The sauce was lighter than the traditional roux (butter, flour and milk) or a rich gravy and instead uses stock and reduced fat sour cream. The full fat pastry was replaced with reduced fat puff pastry which has 30% less fat. If served simply with steamed veg such as carrots and greens it would provide a meal that is filling, delicious and much lower in saturated fat than a traditional pie. 

This pies filling is a healthier take on chicken Korma which can be quite high in calories as the sauce is often made with a lot of oil and cream. I have a lighter version which uses natural yogurt, coconut milk and a small amount of ground almonds. I was worried that if I used these ingredients in a pie that would be cooked in the oven that the yogurt and coconut milk would curdle. So I decided to use half fat creme fraiche in the sauce instead. I added flaked almonds and sultanas as well to give some more texture to the sauce. The finished result was served with steamed carrots and courgettes and was really tasty. Most people would say there are no new ideas under the sun. Perhaps there aren't but often the best ideas combine things in a way that hasn't been thought of before. Let me know your view if you try this recipe.
Chicken Korma Pie
Serves 4
1 onion peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove peeled and finely chopped
500g chicken breast or thigh cut into chunks
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
250ml chicken stock
2tbsp  half fat creme fraiche
2 tbsp sultanas
1 tbsp flaked almonds
350g reduced fat puff pastry

Preheat the oven to 200C
Heat a tsp vegetable oil in a medium frying pan
Add the onion, reduce the heat to low and cook for 5-10 minutes until  the onion is softened
Add the chicken and cook until golden
Add the spices and garlic and stir until the chicken is coated in the spices
Add the stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes
Remove from the heat and stir in the creme fraiche, sultanas and flaked almonds
Season with salt and pepper
Pour into a medium pie dish and cover with the puff pastry. Make sure the edges are properly sealed to stop the filling escaping
Cut a slit in the middle of the pie to allow steam to escape and stop the pastry going soggy
Cook for 25-30 minutes until the pie is puffed and golden
Serve with steamed vegtables

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