This is where Thai curry meets chicken pot pie to create one of my most favorite comfort food. I always thought of the flavor combination of lemongrass, galangal and Kaffir lime – the building blocks of Thai cooking – as a concoction made in heaven. It’s simply perfect. When you add chicken to it and gently simmer it with coconut milk, Thai curry paste and chicken stock, and finish it up with fish sauce, Thai basil and lime juice to make the flavors sparkle, you end up with one of the most satisfying meal known to mankind. Or at least to me. You could stop right there and be happy, but it’s all about never being satisfied, isn’t it?
So we top it with a golden, buttery crown of puff pastry to make something so delicious that you’ll fall on your knees, look to the sky, and wonder what have you done for attracting so much goodness into your life. It’s okay. Take it all in. It’s all yours.
It’s always a bit of a surprise too to be presented with a dish topped with a dome of puff pastry. It’s only when you break the crust with a spoon that you’re hit with all the aromas mentioned above. It’s much cheaper than to book a trip to Bangkok but it brings almost as much surprise and excitement, at least for the length of a meal.
Since people have different tolerance for spicy food I like to make the Thai curry only moderately hot, and place a whole Thai bird chili under the pastry. It won’t make the dish anymore spicy but people who want more heat can just bite into it.. and cry.
Thai Curry Chicken Pot Pie
- Serves 6
For the Thai Curry Chicken Pot Pie:
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 lbs chicken thigh meat or tenders, cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste
- 1 tablespoon green curry paste
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons galangal or ginger, finely chopped
- 2 stalks lemongrass, inside bottom part, very finely chopped
- 3 shallots, chopped
- 8 Kaffir lime leaves, split in half
- 1 can (13.5 oz) unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 small carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 1 large potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 2 handfuls of green peas, blanched if fresh
- 1 handful of Thai basil leaves
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 6 Thai bird chili (optional)
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- 2 egg yolks mixed with 1 tablespoon milk
For the Thai Chicken Pot Pie:
- Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the chicken, season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the two curry pastes and cook for a minute more. Add the chopped galangal or ginger, the lemongrass, the shallots and cook for two minutes more.
- Add the coconut milk and the Kaffir lime leaves and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the chicken stock, fish sauce, sugar and bring to a gentle simmer. Adjust seasoning. With a slotted spoon remove the chicken pieces to a plate to not overcook them.
- Add the carrots and potatoes to the curry broth and cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile dilute the cornstarch in 3 tablespoons of water and mix to make a paste. Add to the simmering liquid and bring back to a simmer until the liquid thickens. Turn off the heat. Add the Thai basil leaves, the lime juice, and the peas and let it cool. Return the chicken pieces to the curry.
- Preheat oven to 350′F. Place the curry chicken pot pie mixture into a large casserole or 6 individual ones. Place the Thai bird chilis on top if using. Brush the rim and edge of the dish with egg yolk. Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface and cut out rounds about 1/2 inch larger than the diameter of the casserole(s). Place the puff pastry round(s) on top of the casserole(s) pressing with your finger against the edge to seal it. Make a decorative pattern with the back of the knife on the pastry while being careful not to pierce it and brush with the egg yolk mixture.
- Bake the Thai chicken pot pie for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve immediately with steamed jasmine rice on the side.