Hainanese chicken pie

Saw a post on Facebook of a video recipe for puff pastry chicken pie and it reminded me of Hainanese chicken pie, a dish unique to Penang. It’s a dish invented by Hainanese cooks for their British masters in colonial Malaysia.

Most versions are in a brown sauce – a mixture of soya sauce and Worchestershire sauce. Hainanese Delights’ version is in a white (Mornay) sauce. Here I’ve combined the best of worlds to make the best version (also helped by using quality ingredients here in the UK).

*pats self on back* I have managed to make food better than Penang restaurants’ (747 and Hainanese Delights)! A mean feat, I must say.

Gu desserts come in reusable glass ramekins. I brilliantly repurposed them to make Hainanese chicken pie in as I couldn’t find any foil pie tins!

Ingredients (makes 3 mini ramekins):

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • half onion, diced
  • 100 g mushrooms, diced
  • 1 stick celery, diced
  • splash of soya sauce
  • 1 cinnamon stick/powder
  • 1 clove star anise
  • Worchestershire sauce, to serve
  • puff pastry sheet
  • 50 ml milk
  • 50 g butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 25 g Cheddar cheese, grated

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 215°C or 205°C if using a fan oven.
  2. Stir-fry the chicken, carrot, onion, mushrooms, celery with soy sauce, a dash of cinnamon, star anise over a medium heat until cooked and the chicken is still tender. Remove the star anise and cinnamon stick, if any.
  3. Make a Mornay sauce: Melt butter in a sauce pan, sprinkle flour slowly, stirring out clumps (this is a roux). Add milk and continue stirring until the sauce thickens. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese until it melts and is combined.
  4. Cut out squares of puff pastry using the ramekins as a guide.
  5. Assemble the pies! Scoop the filling and Mornay sauce until the ramekin is 3/4 full. Add some water until almost at the rim and stir to combine. This thins the sauce.
  6. Put on the puff pastry, tucking the edges inside. Crimp the edges using a fork to make indentations. Brush with some milk. This serves the same purpose as an egg wash – to brown the puff pastry.
  7. Place the ramekins in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  8. Serve with a drizzle of Worchestershire sauce.

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