Oriental Chicken Pudding

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This looks magnificent when presented steaming at the table – full of different flavours and good for lunch on a cold winter’s day. You could use suet instead of butter in the pastry. Great for hungry boys.

Ingredients

  • 900g/2lb boned chicken breast cut into chunks
  • 25g/1oz plain flour
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 3 heads chicory
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander
  • 1 bunch spring onions, chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • coarsely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 5cm/2in piece of fresh ginger, grated

For the Pastry

  • 150g/6oz self-raising flour
  • 3 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground mace
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp chervil
  • 3–4 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 115g/4oz fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 150g/6oz frozen butter
  • 1 egg

Method

Coat the chicken pieces with the plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over a high heat. Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides and then leave on one side to cool.

Mix together the self-raising flour, spices, breadcrumbs, chervil, cayenne pepper and salt to taste in a bowl. Hold the butter in a damp cloth at one end and grate it into the mixture, mixing it with your hands. Whisk the egg in a measuring jug and top it up with water to a total of 1.75ml/6fl oz. Gradually mix the liquid into the flour and butter. Bring it together and form a ball. Save a quarter of the dough for a lid. Roll out the rest of the dough fairly thinly into a circle with a diameter of about 35cm/14in. Line a 1.75litre/3pint pudding basin with the pastry leaving the edges to overlap the top of the basin. Don’t worry if the pastry breaks, just gently patch it together with your hand.

Cut the chicory into thick slices and mix with the coriander, spring onions, garlic, chicken, lemon rind and soy sauce. Add the lemon juice and season. Spoon this mixture into the basin so that it forms a mound at the top. Fold the pastry over the filling and wet the edges. Roll out the saved dough into a circle big enough to form the top. Seal the edges by pressing them lightly. Take a buttered piece of greaseproof paper and make a pleat in the middle before putting it over the top of the pudding. Put a piece of foil loosely over the paper and tie both securely with string. Make a handle with string and lower the pudding into a saucepan of boiling water. Cover and boil gently for 3 hours, check the water level at regular intervals and top up as required.

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