Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Curry Tiger

Every Tuesday, I have the pleasure of volunteering at a legal centre in Woolloomooloo, located fortuitously opposite the original Harry's Cafe de Wheels. All I have to do is sigh, "Pie," on a Tuesday and Dan will know what I'm talking about: chunky beef, spicy curry, pastry with a perfect balance of flaky and soggy, mash, peas and gravy. Thus is the Curry Tiger for $5.80. Genius.

I decided to make it at home with some personal touches: shredded slow-cooked beef, creamy curry, homemade pastry (the best!) and lots of creamy, buttery mash.


250g plain flour
200g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
½-¾ cups iced water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

Dice the butter and chill in the freezer for a few minutes.

Combine flour, salt, sugar and butter in a large bowl.

Cut the butter into the flour until you have pea-sized pieces of butter (these will melt in the oven and make the pastry light and flaky). You can use a food processor or a pastry cutter for this step. I have neither so I used a mezzaluna and it worked a treat.

Add the water little by little and mix in with a plastic pastry scraper. Stop when the dough just comes together.

Turn out onto a floured surface and split the mixture into two (one for the base, one for the lid). Mould each dough with your hands and knead two or three times so it all sticks together. Wrap with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.

You can keep the dough for up to two days in the fridge, which is great because you can make the dough and the filling the night before.

Curry filling

500g osso bucco, washed, dried and salted generously
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 onion
5 cloves garlic, peeled
5cm parsley or coriander stalks, roughly chopped
Chilis, halved (add as many as you'd like)
1 litre water
400ml coconut milk
Curry powder (add to taste)
2 tablespoons plain flour

Heat oil in a deep pot over a medium-high heat.

Sear the meat and remove from pot.

Reduce heat to medium and saute the vegetables.

Add water, coconut milk and curry powder (the instructions on mine recommended 4 tablespoons to a litre of water). Bring to a boil.

Place meat into liquid and simmer gently for at least three hours.

Remove meat and shred with two forks.

Add flour to the liquid and stir in. Strain so you get a smooth sauce.

Place the meat and 500ml of the sauce in a container and chill in the fridge. If you're making the pie on the same day, wait until the filling is completely cool. Otherwise, you can fridge it for about three days.

Note: You'll have a lot of curry sauce leftover. It's infused with delicious marrow and beef fat which you can enjoy with rice or bread.

Making the pie

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Technically you don't need to line the pan because there's so much butter in the pastry, but I like to be safe. I lined a 20cm springform pan with butter then baking paper.

Roll out the first piece of dough on a floured surface until it's about half a centimetre thick. Gently line the pan with the pastry.

Fill the base with the curry filling.

Roll out the second piece of dough and cut out a circle about 3cm bigger than the pan.

Place the lid on the pie and trim the edges.

Fold down the edges and cut a few holes in the lid to let the steam escape.

Bake until golden brown (my incredibly slow oven took about 40 minutes).

Rest for at least 20 minutes before taking it out of the pan to avoid the pie collapsing.

Serve with mash, peas and gravy.



  1. Beautiful! And look at that luscious gravy, mmmm...

  2. this looks absolutely delicious! the pie, the mash and the peas and the glorious gravy. How did you make the gravy?

  3. Thanks, Rita!

    Penny, I hate to say it but the gravy was made from a gravy mix. I had to cut corners somewhere!