12 March 2012

Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken) PIES

♬ 'Little Bit Of Luck' By DJ Luck and MC Neat.

If this track doesn't get you cooking and moving, you might need to put the volume a bit higher.

Butter chicken in a pie? Oh yes,  I've taken another step out of my comfort zone and mixed a curry in a pie. There was a bit of cheating involved, I used ready to roll short crust pastry. Next time, when time is on my side, my hands will get all floured up and make pastry. When in a hurry and friends are an hour away, the convenience of packaged pastry could save your meal!
After the chapati lid on the vegetable curry pie, I wanted to experiment a bit more and the thickness of this sauce works well in a pie, combined with a few sweet potato wedges and seasonal greens (they were boiling while photo shoot was occurring!).

Recipe for 4 mini butter chicken pies:

500g boneless chicken thighs (about 3-4)
Ready to roll shortcrust pastry

Marinade for chicken:

200ml natural yoghurt
Lemon juice
2 tsp mild chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric


70g butter
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp ground clove powder
1 tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp ground coriander powder
1tsp ground cumin powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
Sea salt
1 tbsp tomato puree
Fresh coriander to add at the end.

You will need:

6 hole, large non stick muffin tin.
Mortar and pestle.


: In a large bowl, cut the thighs into small chunks and add all the spices for the marinade.
: With your hands, start to rub everything in, then lastly pour in the yoghurt and stir until the chicken looks pale orange.
: Store in the fridge for a minimum of two hours.
: Once you are ready to make the pies, preheat oven to 200°c (180°c for fan assisted ovens).
: Put the fenugreek seeds in the mortar and crush with pestle, then add the powders and grind all of these too. Crushing these seeds will be tough, I just wanted to crush them so they release more flavour, so do the best you can. 
: On a low heat in a large pot, add the butter and when this starts to melt and sizzle, tip in all the spices you have just crushed. Fry for one minute until it smells fragrant, frying spices this way is very important; as it can break down and create flavours and smells you never imagined! Fenugreek is known to be bitter, but by frying or roasting it, a caramel like aroma fill your kitchen: trust me, I'm an experimental flavour queen!
: Next squeeze in the tomato puree and stir with the spices. Then add the chicken mixture and stir once. The colour should go a deep red, this is from the concentrated puree and dark fried spices.
: Cook until the chicken is tender (about 30 minutes).
: Meanwhile roll out the pastry and cut out circles that are an inch bigger than the muffin holes, the lids will need to be this size too.
: Carefully place the pastry in the holes, making sure there is efficient space for the filling, and enough pastry on the outside to press down the lid.
: Fill each pie with a two tablespoons of chicken curry, and pinch each lid on the pie. Make sure there are no holes. There is an option to brush the pastry with egg, personally for this recipe, don't waste an egg. If you press and pinch effectively, the pie should be fine! Poke a few holes at the top.
: Bake for 20 minutes, until pastry is golden brown.
: Serve with sweet potato wedges, mash and more vegetables.


The verdict?!

Pie hats off to me please!

This time last year: