A Bite Inspired by…Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016 Film):
Creamy, flavorful Thai chicken curry with butternut squash wrapped in flaky, buttery puff pastry… Who can resist? The deep, complex flavors of red curry are surprisingly easy to create and incredible to eat. Try this gorgeous strudel inspired by the new J.K. Rowling movie, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and I guarantee that you and your loved ones will have the most magical meal.
Have you ever had a Thai red curry before? What about a savory strudel? How about both of those together in one knock-your-socks-off-with-flavor, easy-to-create meal? Nope, didn’t think so. Here’s your chance to answer “yes” to that very question (which you’re asked super often, I’m sure)!
I love Asian fusion, so I decided to try my hand at creating my own spin on a strudel with Thai flavors. The results are pretty fantastic, if I do say so myself. Don’t take my word for it though! Try this recipe for yourself and let me know what you think!
I have a confession. I am one of those people who, even as an adult, is always clinging to things that remind me of my childhood. I just can’t grow up. Period. So, of course, I was STOKED when I saw that J.K. Rowling was reviving one of my most beloved childhood obsessions, Harry Potter, in a spin-off movie series based on her book, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. OBVIOUSLY, I was the first one in line to buy tickets for the very first showing.
Guys, the movie was magical. Even though, I will admit, I didn’t think it was quite as good as any of the original movies, I still loved every mystical moment of it. Being the foodie that I am, of course, my favorite scene was the one where Queenie magically made that beautiful strudel come together in thin air. Needless to say, I was inspired. I’m a total sucker for anything that marries fantasy and food. Plus, I think that strudels as a meal are completely underrated. Strudels are basically a layered puff pastry with filling inside of them. They’re often sweet, but they can be savory too. You can watch the magical strudel-making scene from the “Fantastic Beasts” movie right here.
The strudel from the movie looked like an apple and raisin one, which, clearly, would be amazing, but I was inspired to create something a little more unique using the strudel concept. First off, I wanted mine to be a savory strudel with protein and veggies—a complete, nutritious meal wrapped in puff pastry. I absolutely LOVE Thai flavors. I get Thai takeout at my house at least once a week. So, I thought, why not make a Thai chicken curry strudel? Now, I may not have used wizardry to create mine, but, I promise you, this dish is so easy to make and so marvelously delicious that you’ll swear it was made by magic.
Squash has an amazing texture and taste that’s perfect for curries, so I decided to pair chicken with butternut squash (great for fall) in my Thai red curry! A lot of Thai curries, including the famous Penang curry, have a peanut butter component. I used cashew butter instead because it adds a slightly richer flavor that I love. Every ingredient of this dish from the basil to the lime juice, adds a new layer of flavor to the dish. Finally, the raisins, which add a natural sweetness, are a nod to the apple and raisin strudel from Fantastic Beasts that inspired it all.
The real magic of this dish happens when the curry is simmering. You won’t believe the way all those flavors combine together to create a beautiful, rich sauce during just those short 15 minutes that the stove is on low. The curry is cooked on the stove top and then spooned on top of puff pastry sheets to create the strudel. The puff pastry doesn’t just look pretty; it has a buttery richness that complements the curry flavors perfectly. Once the strudel is rolled and ready, it’s placed into the oven and baked off to a beautiful, crispy golden brown. The crunchiness of the pastry dough adds a textural component to the silky curry that’s downright addicting.
I hope you enjoy a BIB (a Bite Inspired By) “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”! Please feel free to post comments and questions below! I love my readers and answer every comment and question personally. Have a magical day!
- ½ pound raw chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup butternut squash, peeled and diced small
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ½ cup water or chicken broth
- ¼ cup raisins
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon cashew butter
- 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 4 large Thai basil leaves, chopped (or regular basil if you can’t find Thai)
- 2 (10” x 15”) puff pastry sheets, thawed
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- Add the chicken. Stir to coat with curry paste. Cook for 4-6 minutes until brown on the outside.
- Remove chicken from the saucepan, while leaving as much curry paste as possible in the pan. Set chicken aside in a bowl.
- In the same pan used to cook the chicken, add coconut milk and water/broth. Stir to incorporate remaining curry paste into the coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Add butternut squash. Reduce heat to simmer. Simmer 1-2 minutes.
- Add lime juice, cashew butter, fish sauce, and sugar. Stir well and return to boil.
- Reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until sauce has reduced/thickened and squash is starting to get tender.
- Add chicken back into the pan. Stir well. Turn heat to medium-high. Cook for 5 more minutes until chicken and squash are fully cooked, and sauce is thick (there should be very little liquid left at this point).
- Reduce heat to low. Add raisins and Thai basil. Simmer for 1-2 more minutes then remove from heat. Allow mixture to cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place one sheet of phyllo dough on parchment paper. Spoon about 2 inches of the chicken mixture on the lower quarter of the long part of the dough leaving at least ½ an inch along the sides . Roll into a log and brush the top with butter. Repeat this process with second sheet of phyllo dough, so that you have 2 strudel rolls.
- Place the parchment paper with the strudel rolls on them into a large glass baking dish. Bake strudel rolls for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
- Allow 5-10 minutes to cool. To serve, cut each roll in half on the bias to create 4 pieces. Enjoy!
Fish sauce adds an amazing and salty depth of flavor to Asian dishes, so I HIGHLY recommend using it in this dish. However, if you can’t find it or really don’t want to use it, you can substitute with salt to taste.
Feel free to substitute peanut butter for cashew butter here.