Flaky Tofu Thai Pie


Now that autumn is upon us and the evenings are becoming a little bit more chilly, I thought it was time to post another comforting pie recipe! I’m mad about coconut and if I can find a way of incorporating into my cooking and baking, whether sweet or savoury – chances are I probably will. I’m also a fan of spicy food, by which I mean flavoursome, not head-exploding heat, and a Thai green curry is definitely a favourite combination of the two. About a year ago I was experimenting a lot with pies, and loved the idea of a Thai pie. This is a delicious and fragrant pie with a lovely chilli kick, which can be omitted entirely if you want to keep things very mild. Authentic Thai food, like Indian, involves a list of ingredients as long as your arm; I keep things simple and keep a jar of Thai green curry paste in the fridge for this, as I am no expert in Thai cooking – and can’t really be bothered, truthfully – to source and prepare all the required elements to make the paste from scratch. Chunky vegetables, pre-marinated tofu and a sauce created from a couple of tablespoons of perfectly good paste, gently cooked with onion, garlic and coconut milk, gives you a deliciously British take on a Thai classic – which is perfect considering it takes the form of a very British pie.

This pie will cut into 4 generous slices.

You will need approximately 450g (16oz) of flaky/rough-puff pastry, either shop bought or home made, and a 1 litre/22cm pie dish, lined with approximately 300g of the pastry and blind baked. I have made a guide to making rough-puff pastry and blind baking here. (Easy vegan option: most shop-bought puff pastry, such as Jus-Rol, is vegan).

For the pie filling:
200g sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1″ chunks. (About 1 medium potato.)
100g leeks, sliced into 1cm rings (Equivalent to one small leek, topped and tailed.)
50g baby corn, sliced into 1cm pieces
50g sliced frozen peppers (or 1 very small red pepper, sliced.)

1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic
1/4 tsp dried red chilli flakes (optional)

1 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
2 tbsp Thai Green Curry paste  (Be aware that some aren’t vegetarian/vegan. I like this one from Tesco)
1 x box / 160g of pre-marinated tofu (I use this Cauldron product)
250ml coconut milk

For the glaze: 1 egg, lightly beaten (vegan option: brush the pie with a little soya milk before baking)

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Peel and chop the sweet potato into chunks, then steam them for approximately 6 minutes in the microwave (check the manufacturer’s guidelines to be sure). Alternatively, you can boil them for about ten minutes until just tender. Meanwhile, slice the leeks and corn (and fresh pepper if using) and wash thoroughly. Set aside.

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Use a mini chopper/food processor to blitz the onion, garlic and chilli flakes (if using). If you don’t have a processor, very finely chop the onion and garlic.

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On a low heat, heat a tablespoon of rapeseed or olive oil in a deep saucepan and add the Thai green curry paste. Stir the paste to mix it with the oil then cook on a low heat for a couple of minutes. Wear an apron and try to stand well back as the paste does have a tendency to spit! Stir in the blitzed onion mixture and cook for 5 minutes, still on a low heat.

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Stir in the tofu and gently fry for another 5 minutes. Then pour in the coconut milk. Stir well until everything is combined. Simmer for 5 minutes.

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Now stir in the sliced leeks, corn and pepper (fresh or frozen) and the steamed sweet potato chunks. Gently mix to coat the vegetables with the coconut sauce. Cook for another 5 minutes until the leeks start to soften, then spoon it into your blind-baked pie base. Don’t be afraid to cram it all in!

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Roll out the remaining pastry for the pie lid and secure it to the edges using a little beaten egg (or soya milk). Gently press around the edges to seal the pie then brush beaten egg/soya milk all over the top. Use a sharp knife to make a few air holes. Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes until the pie is a lovely deep golden colour. I like to serve this with steamed pak choi, sugarsnap peas and baby broccoli. It also tastes gorgeous the next day, either cold or reheated.

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