While traveling through Peru climbing Huascaran and other tall mountains north of Huarez, we stayed with villagers and families who would exchange traditional meals with banter (our English to their Chechua, all of us diving into Spanish translation dictionaries–a lot of laughs!). I loved those days of adventure and the people who made it possible.
I also loved this dish made me by one of my hosts where raisins were added to give a subtle and unique sweetness. I have never ever been able to find a similar recipe and I do know it involved a very recently fresh chicken. But today is a rainy, kitchen comfort day…
For the Crust
1 cups Bob’s Red Mill chickpea flour
1 tablespoon Bob’s Red Mill golden flax meal
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil (cold, in small shavings or pieces)
5 tablespoons coconut milk
½ teaspoon cinnamon
For the Pie
2 Tablespoon olive oil
6 organic – free range Chicken thighs
2 Bay leaves
1 Cup onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, finely diced
2 Tablespoons tomato paste (or more to taste)
1 ½ cups chicken stock (homemade is best, Imagine organic doesn’t have added sugar—read the ingredients)
½ Cup coconut milk
¼ Cup coconut flour
2 fresh zucchini, halved and sliced
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 large yam, peeled, cubed and steamed
¾ Cup raisins
Prepare the dough:
1. Mix the dry ingredients together well.
2. Using a dinner fork, cut the coconut oil into the dry ingredients until the oil is evenly distributed, no big chunks remain, and the texture is finer than rice. This is done by pressing the chunks of oil through the tines of the fork and is much easier if you have allowed the coconut oil to come to room temperature. It will still be solid. Use a sharp knife to shave and break small chunks out of the jar, watch your measures. Too much oil and the dough becomes brittle and sticky.
3. Add the coconut milk a very small amount at a time until the dough is the right smoothness. You will use about the amount stated, not more, unless your flour measure was off a little.
4. Knead the dough enough into a smooth ball.
5. Place the dough in a covered dish and then in the refrigerator to cool.
Prepare the filling, assemble and bake:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Sauté the chicken, garlic, onion and bay leaf together until thoroughly cooked.
3. Mix in the tomato paste.
4. Blend the chicken stock, coconut milk, and coconut flour and spices together until there are no lumps. Pour over the cooked meat.
5. Stir in the zucchini slices.
6. Reheat the mixture until it just begins to bubble through and the coconut flour begins to thicken the sauce.
7. Mix in the cooked root vegetables and raisins, pour into an oiled, 2 quart casserole dish.
8. Take the chilled dough out and place one ball between two pieces of wax paper.
9. Roll the dough to about ¼ inch thick.
10. Remove the top piece of wax paper.
11. Use your favorite shape cutter to make pastry rounds, or stars, or… even just cut strips and weave them into a more traditional look.
12. Place the cut pastry over the top
13. Bake the pie for about 20-35 minutes until the dough is cooked and the edges are just turning golden.
Note: this can be made ahead and frozen, including with the pastry on top. If the pie has been frozen then you’ll need to bake it covered for about 45 minutes. Remove the cover
Technically speaking, “curry” is not a single spice but a blend of spices; a blend that is as individual as the person who created it. I make my own at home to avoid the filler (corn starcb) and other things in commercial brands. Plus it is actually much less expensive for as much as I use. The recipe is here: mix in 2 Tablespoons instead of the cloves.