Creamy Chicken Half Moon recipe

Chicken Half Moon pies

These Chicken Half Moon pies are a delightful combination of textures and flavors, with a crispy, crunchy exterior giving way to a creamy, spiced, and savory filling.

Chicken half moons are a more recent addition to the Cape Malay appetizer repertoire and was definitely not around when I was growing up. In more recent years it is found on nearly every table during Ramadan or any festive occasion. 

The chicken half moon pastry is slightly crispy on the outside, thanks to the frying process. The use of cake flour in the pastry dough ensures that it is tender and has a fine crumb. The breadcrumb coating adds an extra layer of crunchiness to the exterior of the pies.

Inside, the filling is creamy and moist, with the chicken pieces providing a tender bite. The sweetcorn kernels  add a slight pop and crunch, contrasting nicely with the softness of the cooked chicken and the creamy sauce. The filling is rich and aromatic, with a blend of spices like garam masala, cumin, and a hint of chili providing warmth and depth. The garam masala brings a complex mix of flavors, including sweet, spicy, and earthy notes.

The sautéed onions and green bell pepper adds a slight sweetness and a fresh, vegetal flavor to the filling. The fresh coriander brings a burst of citrusy, herbaceous freshness to the filling, lifting the overall flavor profile.

The white sauce contributes a creamy, buttery richness to the filling, with a hint of black pepper adding a subtle heat while the cheese, whether cheddar or mozzarella, melts into the filling, adding a gooey texture and a savory, cheesy flavor. The sweetcorn adds a natural sweetness to the filling, balancing out the spices.

The egg wash and breadcrumb coating not only add texture but also a slight richness and a toasty flavor to the exterior of the pies.

Chicken Half Moons with sauce

Chicken half-moon variations

  • Enhance the Spices: To deepen the flavor, you could toast the spices (garam masala, cumin powder) in a dry pan before adding them to the chicken. This process helps release their natural oils and intensifies their flavor. Alternately, use ready roasted garam masala and cumin powder. 
  • Add More Vegetables: For a more colorful and nutritious filling, consider adding diced carrots, peas, or even spinach. These would add sweetness, texture, and additional vitamins to the pies.
  • Cheese Variation: Experiment with different types of cheese for varied flavors. For example, a smoked cheese like gouda or a spicy cheese like pepper jack could add an interesting twist to the filling.
  • Herb Infusion: Incorporate more fresh herbs into the filling or pastry for added freshness. For instance, finely chopped parsley or mint could complement the coriander and add a new flavor dimension.
  • Sauce Variation: Instead of a traditional white sauce, you could try a béchamel sauce infused with spices like nutmeg or cardamom for a more aromatic flavor.
  • Pastry Variation: For a healthier option, you could try baking or air frying the pies instead of frying them in oil. Brush them with a little oil or egg wash before baking to achieve a golden crust. 
  • Dipping Sauce: Serve the pies with a dipping sauce to enhance the eating experience. A tangy yogurt-based sauce or a spicy chili sauce could complement the flavors of the filling.
  • Size Variation: You could make mini half-moon pies as appetizers or larger ones for a more filling snack or meal.
  • Seasoning Adjustment: Adjust the seasoning in the filling to suit your taste preferences. You could add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder to up the spice for extra heat or increase the amount of garlic for a more robust flavor. 
  • Pastry variation: Use puff pastry to make small hand pies and bake at 200 celcius for 20 minutes. A few chicken pot pies would also be lovely with puff pastry. 

Chicken Half Moon recipe

How to make Chicken half moons

Here are some tips to ensure your Chicken Half Moon Pies turn out creamy and delicious. By following these tips, you should be able to create Chicken Half Moon Pies with a deliciously creamy filling and a crispy, golden exterior.

  • Quality of Chicken: Use fresh, high-quality chicken breast for the best flavor and texture. Cutting the chicken into small, uniform pieces will ensure even cooking and better integration with the creamy sauce.
  • Cooking the Chicken: Make sure the chicken is cooked through but not overcooked, as overcooked chicken can become tough and dry. Cooking it on medium heat until just done will keep it tender.
  • Creamy White Sauce: The key to a creamy filling is a well-made white sauce. Ensure your sauce is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If the sauce is too thin, it won’t provide the desired creaminess; if it’s too thick, it might make the filling too stodgy.
  • Cheese Selection: Choose a cheese that melts well, like mozzarella or a mature cheddar. The cheese adds creaminess and binds the filling together. I used half cheddar and half mozzarella and it was delicious.
  • Balance of Ingredients: Ensure there’s a good balance between the chicken, sweetcorn, and sauce in the filling. Too much chicken might make the pies less creamy, while too much sauce could make them soggy.
  • Resting the Filling: Allow the filling to cool completely before assembling the pies. This helps the flavors meld together and prevents the pastry from becoming soggy when filled.
  • Sealing the Pies: Make sure the edges of the pies are sealed well to prevent the creamy filling from leaking out during frying.
  • Frying Temperature: Fry the pies in moderately hot oil. If the oil is too hot, the outside will brown too quickly before the inside is heated through. If it’s too cool, the pies will absorb too much oil and become greasy.
  • Serving: Serve the Chicken Half Moon Pies hot for the best texture and flavor. The contrast between the crispy exterior and the creamy interior is most pronounced when they are fresh from the fryer.

Crumbed Chicken Half Moon pies

Making the pastry for Chicken half moons

Making the filling for Chicken half moons

Assembling Chicken half moons

Chicken Half Moon pies

Creamy Chicken Half Moon recipe

Simone Fortuin
These Chicken Half Moon pies are a delightful combination of textures and flavors, with a crispy, crunchy exterior giving way to a creamy, spiced, and savory filling.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Appetiser
Cuisine Cape Malay
Servings 25
Calories 257 kcal

Ingredients
  

Panade (pastry) ingredients

  • 350 grams cake flour approximately 2 1/2 cups
  • 60 grams lightly salted butter
  • 500 ml water

Chicken half moon filling

  • 30 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 240 grams onion 1 peeled and finely diced
  • 75 grams green bell pepper 1/2 deseeded and finely diced
  • 30 ml minced garlic
  • 500 gram chicken breast de-boned and skinless, cubed
  • 30 ml garam masala
  • 7.5 ml cumin powder
  • 5 ml crushed chillis
  • 5 ml salt, to taste
  • 500 ml sweetcorn kernels
  • 250 grams cheddar or mozzarella cheese grated
  • 125 ml fresh coriander leaves and stems finely chopped

White sauce ingredients

  • 30 grams lightly salted butter
  • 22.5 ml flour
  • 750 ml full fat milk
  • 2.5 ml salt, to taste
  • 1.25 ml black pepper freshly ground

Assembly

  • 60 ml cake flour
  • 30 ml water

Breadcrumb coating

  • 3 eggs large
  • 5 ml water
  • 750 ml breadcrumbs

Instructions
 

Panade (pastry)

  • Cut the cold butter into small pieces.
  • In a small pot, bring the water and butter to a boil then remove from the heat.
  • Add all the flour in one go and mix until smooth.
  • Remove from the pot and make a ball then cover and leave to cool completely.

Filling

  • Sauté the onions on medium high until translucent and golden, 20-25 minutes.
  • Add the chopped bell pepper and garlic cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the chopped chicken, spices and seasoning and cook until the chicken is done and all the liquid has evaporated.
  • Add the sweetcorn and cook for another 2-3 minutes then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  • When cool add the white sauce, grated cheese and chopped coriander and mix gently to combine.

White sauce

  • In a small bowl or cup, mix the flour with 125 ml of milk until it is smooth and lump free.
  • Heat up the rest of the milk and butter in pot on medium high until it comes to a boil.
  • Whisk in the flour slurry until it becomes a smooth and creamy consistency and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring continuously to prevent burning.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat
  • When the sauce is completely cooled add it to the chicken mixture and stir to combine thoroughly.

Assembly

  • Roll out the dough thinly and cut out circles about 7cm in diameter.
  • Mix the flour and water to a paste and spread a thin strip on half the perimeter of each dough circle.
  • Add a heaped teaspoon of filling to each dough circle and fold over one end to seal. Press the edges with a fork if necessary.
  • Make one bowl for the egg wash and another for the breadcrumbs.
  • Dip each half moon first into the egg wash then into the breadcrumbs and ensure it is fully covered.
  • Fry in oil at least 4 cm deep until golden on both sides and drain on kitchen paper.
  • Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce.

Notes

  • The spicy chicken and white sauce must cool completely before combining.
  • Chill the finished filling before assembling the pastries as the creamy liquid may be too loose. 
  • I used half cheddar and half mozzarella cheese.
  • Check the seasoning to ensure it's not over or under-seasoned.

Nutrition

Calories: 257kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 13gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 383mgPotassium: 248mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 396IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 151mgIron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.

Keyword cape malay recipe, halaal recipe, make-ahead
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