My friend Nitsa makes astonishingly good Thai curry pastes. She started off by giving them to (lucky) friends to sample, but word of mouth soon spread that she now makes them in great big batches at home and sells them through local shops and online as My Thai Curry.
Ive used them many times, and find them incredibly versatile all you have to do is gently fry a tablespoon of the paste, then add whatever ingredients you like (chicken, duck, pork, beef, or just veggies). Splosh in some coconut milk, bring to the boil. Make sure everything is cooked through, then serve with rice. Couldnt be simpler.
In this recipe, Ive tried to push the envelope a little bit further by using Nitsas Massaman Curry Paste to make the filling for a pie. Working with pastry isnt my strongest suit, and this came out more as a slice than a bona fide pie, but the results were incredible. The paste is aromatic with a nutty flavour, made with Thai white cardamom, blade mace, bay leaves, kaffir lime leaves and tamarind.
I made the filling with leftover chicken, chopped and roasted squash, and roughly chopped Portobello mushrooms
This recipe makes enough for four people. Youll need a flan or pie dish.
2 tbsp My Thai Massman Curry Paste
1 tin good quality coconut milk
1 small squash, peeled and deseeded
250g leftover chicken meat (mine was from this Sunday roast)
2 Portobello or large field mushrooms
1 sheet puff pastry
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Peel, deseed and chop the squash and put on a roasting tray. Roast in the oven for 15-20 mins, until tender.
2. In a large non-stick saucepan, add the Thai curry paste and gently cook for 1-2 mins, then add the coconut milk. Bring to the boil and cook for around 10 mins to reduce by a third. It needs to be nice and thick, with the consistency of double cream.
3. Remove the squash from the oven and add to the curry sauce. Add the mushrooms and chicken. Stir through, then cook on a gentle heat for 5 mins.
4. Divide the pasty sheet in half. Roll the first half out for the base and carefully drape into your pie or flan dish. Fill with baking beans, then blind-bake in the oven for 15-20 mins until the base is cooked all the way through.
5. Remove the pie base from the oven. Use a spoon to fill the base with the Thai curry filling. Roll out the second half of the puff pastry and drape over the filling. Brush the pastry with milk.
6. Cook the pie in the preheated oven for 25-30 mins until the pastry is crisp and golden.
7. Serve hot with skinny fries or veg of your choice.