My Singapore Pie 我的新加坡派 - A retro-fusion style chicken curry pie

When I learnt that I was selected for the SCS Star Baker Challenge 4-Star Level, I was both elated and surprised because there were so many good entries and I seriously thought I had no chance. Then came the theme for the 4-Star Challenge, "Pie". I was at a loss of what to do because I'm not very familiar with pie, it's kind of America/British? I grew up in a typical chinese family and the only pies I knew were Chicken Pie and Apple Pie. Now that I bake, I slowly learn more about different types of pastry but I'm not really a pie person so didn't bake or ate much pie.

Well, I could in fact take this opportunity to bake sweet pies like lemon meringue pie, key lime pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate banana pie etc etc. But deep down in my heart I wanted something retro and infused with some modernity, which is in line with what I had done for my 2-Star and 3-Star Challenges.

After pondering for 2 days, this concept hit me. I was listening to some Xinyao 新谣 songs and 梁文福 《新加坡派》 came up. I like this song very much, feels so nostalgic. Since Singapore's National Day is approaching, how about creating a retro-fusion style pie that I can call "My Singapore Pie 我的新加坡派"?

Decided to make chicken curry pie because most Singaporeans so lovingly embraced chicken curry and since we are celebrating National Day, I could shape the pie into something like the traditional chinese pastry that we used to gift/receive during festivals and celebrations like birthdays and weddings.



I thought this concept was a pretty wild idea and I was actually doubting whether I could pull this off :p

I'm glad I pushed myself for this personal challenge. I thought the pies looked quite cool :p Haha, so paiseh to self-praise. They may not looked perfect but I did my best.

Seriously, it's not about the SCS Star Challenge anymore, it's about having a dream, this idea that lingered in my mind and seeing the concept came to fruition.

I cooked the chicken curry from scratch and made the pie using rough puff pastry (instead of short crust pastry) to make the pie flaky and crispy. It was a tough and tedious job and during the process I was wondering what I had gotten myself into :p

I planned the work process like this:
1) Weigh and cut the butter into cubes then chill for at least 30 mins. Weigh and sift the flour then chill for at least 30 mins.
2) Start making the rough puff pastry first. Make the first 2 turns and chill for 30 mins. *method illustrated below.
3) While waiting, prepare the chicken curry ingredients and set aside.
4) Make the next 2 turns for the rough puff pastry and chill for 30 mins.
5) While waiting, cook the chicken curry.
6) By the time the chicken curry is cooked, it's time for the last 2 turns of the rough puff pastry.
7) Chill the pastry for at least 1hr. Let the chicken curry cool down for 1hr.
8) Ready to assemble.


I cooked the curry with thicker and less gravy instead of the usual soupy type, so that it's easier to wrap in the pie. I think there was too much potato, could cut down the quantity.

Chicken Curry
(recipe with reference from Christoper Tan - Shiok!)

Ingredients
  • Spice paste:
  • 8 tbsp Chicken curry powder
  • 10 tbsp Water
  • 3 Purple onion, finely chopped
  • 10 cloves Garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp Ginger, grated
  • 40 Curry leaves
  •  3 stalk Lemongrass, bottom white portion only, bruised
  • 140g Unsalted butter
  • 260g Chicken fillet, cut into bite size pieces
  • 250g Chicken thigh, cut into bite size pieces
  • 5pc Holland potato, cut into cubes
  • 1 pc Carrot, cut into cubes
  • 300g Coconut cream
  • 200g Water
  • 1 tsp Salt, or to taste
Steps
  1. Mix the chicken curry powder with water and stir into a thick paste.
  2. In a large pot on medium heat, add the butter and cook till very hot. Add the onion and stir fry for a few mins until they are slightly browned.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger, curry leaves and lemongrass, and stir fry for a few mins.
  4. Add the chicken pieces, stir fry for 1 min, then add the potato and carrot cubes. 
  5. Add the coconut cream and water, stir and bring the ingredients to boil.
  6. Turn heat to low and cook the curry for 20-25 mins, stirring often to prevent burnt ingredients at bottom of pot.
  7. Once potato are tender, season with salt and off heat. Divide the curry into 2 portions, 1 for the big pie and remaining for mini pies. Let curry cool completely before use.
For the rough puff pastry:
First, add salt to the chilled flour and mix well. Then add the cubed butter into the flour, and press/mix them lightly into the flour. Add lemon juice and water, little by little and stir the dough gently. They will look crumbly. Turn the rough dough onto a well-floured pastry mat.

Bring the dough together using a scrapper to shape the dough. Dust the rolling pin and roll the dough into rectangle shape about 30cm by 20cm. Fold the bottom 1/3 of the dough up towards the centre. Fold the top 1/3 of the dough down towards the centre. This is turn 1. Rotate the dough 90 degree. And repeat the rolling and folding to complete turn 2. If the dough feels sticky at any point, dust with some flour. Clingwrap the dough and chill in fridge for at least 30 mins. To me, turn 1 and 2 is the toughest because the butter melts really quickly while bringing in the dough together and rolling/folding, as my kitchen is very warm.

After 30 mins, bring the dough out and once again roll the dough to about 30cm by 20cm. Fold 1/3 up and 1/3 down. This is turn 3. Repeat for turn 4. Clingwrap and chill for another 30 mins.

After 30 mins, once again repeat the steps for turn 5 and 6. Now chill the dough for least 1 hr.

After 1 hr, dough is ready to use. Divide the dough into 2 portions (625g for the big pie and remaining for the mini pies). While working on the big pie, leave the remaining dough in the fridge. Further divide the 625g into 2 portions, roll one portion of dough to about 2-3mm thickness and cut a circle slightly larger than the pie pan. Wrap the dough around the rolling pin and unwrap on top of the pie pan. Mould and shape the dough into the pan.

Scoop the chicken curry into the pie crust. Next, roll the other piece of dough into 2-3mm thickness, cut into circle slightly larger than pie pan. Wrap dough around rolling pan and unwrap dough on top of pan. Cover and wrap the top pie crust over the bottom pie crust, and tuck in the edges. Cut a vent in the middle of the large pie, brush with egg wash and bake the pie at 190 degree celsius (top and bottom heat) for 25-30 mins.

Similarly repeat the steps for the mini pies. I did 2 mini sizes, 5cm and 6cm. Cut small portions (about 100g) for working each time, leaving the remaining dough in the fridge. Use 8cm and 9cm cookie cutters to cut pie dough for both sizes of mini pies respectively. Mould the pie dough into the cases, scoop a heap tablespoon of chicken curry into the dough, fold in the edges of the dough, then cover with another piece of dough and tuck down and inwards. Repeat until no more pie dough or chicken curry. Brush the top of pie with some egg wash. Bake the mini pies at 190 degree celsius for 20 mins.

And tadah, the baked pies! The pies are ready to be eaten, painting characters on the pies is optional.

Prepare some red food colouring (diluting red food powder with some water to make a thick paste) and use a paintbrush to draw the chinese characters onto the pies.

Rough Puff Pastry
(recipe yields 1163g of dough - 625g for big pie and 538g for mini pies, reference from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients
  • 454g Unsalted butter (2 blocks of SCS Butter)
  • 450g Plain flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 180g Ice cold water
  • 1 Egg (for egg wash)
Steps
  1. Cut the butter into cubes and chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins.
  2. Sift the flour and chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins.
  3. After 30 mins, add salt to the chilled flour and mix well.
  4. Add the cubed butter into the flour, and press/mix them lightly into the flour.
  5. Add lemon juice and water, little by little and stir the dough gently. They will look crumbly.
  6. Turn the rough dough onto a well-floured pastry mat. Bring the dough together, using a scrapper to fold and shape the dough.
  7. Dust the rolling pin and roll the dough into rectangle shape about 30cm by 20cm.
  8. Fold the bottom 1/3 of the dough up towards the centre.
  9. Fold the top 1/3 of the dough down towards the centre. This is turn 1.
  10. Rotate the dough 90 degree. Repeat Steps 7-9 to complete turn 2. If the dough feels sticky at any point, dust with some flour.
  11. Clingwrap the dough and chill in fridge for at least 30 mins.
  12. After 30 mins, bring the dough out and repeat Steps 7-9 two times to complete turn 3 and 4. Clingwrap and chill for another 30 mins.
  13. After 30 mins, bring the dough out and repeat Steps 7-9 two times to complete turn 5 and 6. This is the end. Clingwrap and chill for another 1hr.
  14. After 1hr, dough is ready to use.
Chicken Curry Pie
(Yields one 18cm large pie, seven 5cm mini pies, seven 6cm mini pies)

Ingredients
  • 1 recipe Rough Puff Pastry (625g for large pie, 538g for mini pies)
  • 1 recipe Chicken Curry
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten for egg wash
  • Red food color powder & water *optional
  1. Divide the dough into 2 portions (625g for the big pie and remaining for the mini pies). While working on the big pie, leave the remaining dough in the fridge.
  2. Further divide the 625g into 2 portions, roll one portion of dough to about 2-3mm thickness and cut a circle slightly larger than the pie pan.
  3. Wrap the dough around the rolling pin and unwrap on top of the pie pan. Mould and shape the dough into the pan.
  4. Scoop the chicken curry onto the pie crust.
  5. Next, roll another piece of dough into 2-3mm thickness, cut into circle slightly larger than pie pan.
  6. Wrap dough around rolling pan and unwrap dough on top of pan. Cover and wrap the top pie crust over the bottom pie crust, and tuck in the edges.
  7. Cut a vent in the middle of the large pie, brush with egg wash and bake the pie at 190 degree celsius (top and bottom heat) for 25-30 mins. Once ready, remove from oven and cool on rack.
  8. Similarly repeat the steps for the mini pies. Cut small portions (about 100g) for working each time, leaving the remaining dough in the fridge.
  9. Use 8cm cutter for the 5cm pie and 9cm cutter for the 6cm pie.
  10. Mould the pie dough into the mini cases, scoop a heap tablespoon of chicken curry into the dough, fold in the edges of the dough, then cover with another piece of dough and tuck down and inwards. Repeat until no more pie dough or chicken curry. Brush the pies with egg wash.
  11. Bake the mini pies at 190 degree celsius for 20 mins. Once ready, remove from oven and cool on rack.
  12. To decorate the pies, dilute some red food colour powder with water into a thick paste and paint the characters onto the pies using a fine paintbrush. *optional step
  13. The pies are best eaten warm.

Love this big pie, so rustic looking.

The mini pies were quite cute as well :p

The pies were delicious, the crust was flaky, crispy and full of buttery fragrance and the chicken curry filling was aromatic with the coconut cream and spices. The chicken curry filling in the mini pies were slightly dry, probably coz of the size. But the large pie was ok, filling was creamy and thick.


I'm submitting this entry for the SCS Star Baker Challenge 4-star level. It doesn't matter whether I get into the final round or not, because I know I did my best here already. It was a tiring but enjoyable and fun process, I completed what I set out to do and that's what matters to me :)

Here, I'm dedicating "My Singapore Pie 我的新加坡派" to Singapore's 49th Birthday, and wishing everyone good fortune, HUAT ah! 恭贺新加坡建国49之喜, 祝愿大家福气满满, 發發發!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

halo,
your food blog is always my all time
favourite,, i was wondering do u conduct
classes,,or bake all goodies for sale,,
ps let me know by rtn --
thanks
mayo--

daydreamer said...

Hi mayo,
Thanks for visiting my blog :) Yes, I do sell some baked stuff, you can check out http://megpastrystudio.blogspot.sg for details, or if you have something in mind, pls let me know. As for classes, I'm still considering :)

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