Few dishes transcend cultures like chicken curry does in Singapore. Each group has its own rendition, whether it’s the coconut-rich Chinese version or the masala-spiked Indian one. It’s also our country’s unofficial party dish — de rigueur at birthday dinners, picnics, and even funerals. So what to do with the inevitable leftovers beyond pairing them with prata and baguette? Here are two recipes that will breathe delicious new life into your half-eaten pot.
Chicken Curry Filo Pie
This filo pie using store-bought frozen pastry is like a large chicken curry puff with all the crisp, buttery goodness that we love, sans the tedious pastry-making and deep-frying.
Ingredients (Makes 1 x 24-cm pie):
3 cups of leftover curry chicken meat, deboned and diced
1 cup of leftover curry chicken potatoes, diced
½ cup of leftover chicken curry gravy
3 hard-boiled eggs, cut into wedges
7 sheets filo pastry, thawed
75g butter, melted
1 egg yolk
Place the chicken meat and potatoes in a saucepan and heat up, stirring occasionally. Pour in the curry gravy and cook till the mixture is quite dry. If after about 8 minutes, there is still some gravy left in the pan, pour it away as it will make the pastry soggy later. Leave to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Open up the sheets of filo pastry when you are ready to use them and leave them in a pile so they don’t dry out.
Grease a 24 cm-wide round baking tin.
Fit the first sheet of filo in the baking tin and brush the top entirely with melted butter, pressing the filo into the corners of the tin with the brush and letting the longer edges hang over the sides of the tin.
Repeat with four sheets, brushing each with melted butter, including the ends that overhang the sides.
Spread half the chicken mixture evenly into the filo-lined pan, then arrange the wedges of egg over the mixture. Next, spread the remaining half of the chicken mixture on top.
Lay another sheet of filo over the top of the filling and brush it with melted butter. Lay the final sheet of filo on top of that.
Fold the hanging sides of filo onto the top of the filling, creating a sort of parcel.
Place the egg yolk in a small bowl and mix with a drop of water.
Brush this egg yolk mixture over the surface of the pie. Bake in the oven for about 30 to 40 minutes, until it is puffed up, crisp and golden.
Curry French Toast Plaster
A uniquely Singaporean version of French toast with a curry filling and oozy-yolked crown (the latter inspired by roti prata plaster). The sambal ikan bilis on the side adds a vibrant tang to the rich flavours of the dish.
Ingredients (Serves 2):
½ cup of leftover chicken curry meat, shredded
1 tbsp of leftover chicken curry gravy
4 slices of white bread
½ cup of fresh milk
¼ cup of coconut milk
A pinch of salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter
Sambal ikan bilis (try Singlong’s Sambal Ikan Bilis) and leftover chicken curry gravy, reheated
Mix the chicken and curry gravy together in a bowl.
Place half the chicken curry mixture in the centre of a slice of bread, leaving a 1-cm border on each side.
Place another slice of bread on top and squish down the edges of the bread with your fingers to “seal” them slightly.
Repeat with the remaining slices of bread and filling.
Whisk together the fresh milk, coconut milk, 1 egg, salt and pepper in a deep plate.
Heat butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
Dunk the chicken curry sandwiches into the milk mixture, making sure that they are coated on all sides.
Gently place the sandwiches on the skillet and fry for about 2 minutes on each side or till they turn golden and toasty. Remove from the pan and set aside.
With the skillet still over medium heat, break an egg over the skillet.
Gently place one sandwich over the egg and cook till the egg whites turn opaque, about 3 minutes, or until the egg yolk is as cooked as you want it.
Using a spatula, gently lift the sandwich and egg away from the pan — the egg should be stuck to the sandwich — and place the sandwich egg side up on a plate. Repeat with the remaining egg and sandwich.
Serve immediately with curry gravy and sambal ikan bilis on the side.