Turmeric Chilli Chicken and Red Onion Tartlets

tartletsppHappy New Year, my dear visitors! I hope you have spent wonderful holidays, rich in culinary experience and discoveries. Some of you might find themselves, like me, with a surplus of holiday food stock and I thought I would share with you what I consider a perfect way to use up chicken (raw or cooked), especially if the remaining ingredients are staples in your kitchen (they are in mine). Although created as an emergency solution, these mini tarts count now among my favourite warm snacks. Whether I have guests or not, I often bake them for relaxed weekend evenings with drinks. I prepared them for New Year’s Eve and once more for tonight, defrosting chicken breasts I haven’t managed to eat during holidays.

This simple recipe came to life thanks to an accident in the kitchen. I was having a small party an planned to serve snacks, including trays of tartlets. One of the batches has burnt, so I decided to prepare new tartlets with what I found in the fridge (luckily I always have more puff pastry than I actually need). The emergency tartlets disappeared in no time at all and everyone – including myself – found these better than all the ones initially planned. Since then, I have been preparing these tartlets regularly and never got tired of their surprisingly complex flavours.

TIPS: instead of grilling chicken breasts from the scratch, you can use here any leftover chicken meat (baked, boiled, fried, grilled…), but if it hasn’t been seasoned with turmeric, garlic and chilli, make sure you add it before the tartlets are baked (see instructions below).

Red onion cannot be replaced with white onion.

Preparation: about 40 minutes

Ingredients (yields about 12 tartlets):

1 package of thinly rolled out puff pastry (200-230g/7-8 oz)

2 skinless chicken breasts (or the equivalent of any leftover baked/grilled chicken meat + 3 teaspoons of chilli powder+turmeric+powdered garlic, combined together)

4 medium or big red onions

thyme, salt

curry powder

(chilli powder)

(garlic powder)


100 ml liquid cream (or half milk half cream)

1 egg

salt, pepper

Season the chicken breasts with salt, turmeric, chilli and garlic powder. Brush with oil and grill on a grill or under an oven broiler (I practice the latter).

Put aside and cut up into small cubes or thin slices.

(If using leftover chicken, cut it up and then combine with the above mixture of three seasonings).

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Slice the onions and soften them, frying at low heat in 1 tablespoon oil.

Season with salt and thyme and put aside.

Combine the custard ingredients.

Cut out circles slightly bigger than the tartlet dishes (or tartlet cavities) you have.

Grease mini-tart dishes (or a big mould with mini-tart cavities) and line them with the pastry, pressing with your fingers.

Place the chicken pieces at the bottom of tartlets. Cover with fried onion.

Distribute the custard evenly among the tartlets.

Bake until the crust becomes golden.

These tartlets can be made in advance and reheated in a microwave or, covered with aluminium, in the oven, at low temperature.

You can also partly bake them, taking out of the oven before they become golden.
You will finish baking them when guests arrive.

30 Replies to “Turmeric Chilli Chicken and Red Onion Tartlets”

  1. With all the cookie/cake/dessert recipes out there at this time of year, it’s a nice treat to see some savoury dishes around and these sound delicious. I’ve had a package of puff pastry in my freezer for quite a while now and must really do something with them. Just wish I had a party planned to serve them to. 🙂

    1. Thank you, A_Boleyn. I prepared them twice in recent weeks and I had no guests 😉 They are very easy to prepare and then quite good reheated, so I wouldn’t worry about guests.

  2. Hello my friend! I know I have been scarce lately, but I took some time off blogging to spend it with my family and friends! I would like to wish to you and your family a Very Prosperous and Happy New Year full of new culinary discoveries, love and good health! Your tartlets are right up my alley and they look very appetizing!

    1. Thank you, Katerina. I hope you have had wonderful holidays! Happy New Year to you and your family too!

  3. Hi Sissi, I would hope that after a few years…we would count more than just ‘VISITORS’…(guess your were just being polite about addressing your visitors/readers…who are also your blogger friends…ie; myself!

    Anyway, Happy New Year dear friend! Your chicken tartlet with the curry and the red onion…surely is something that should not be replace with any other ingredient; it is superb, elegant, and so tasty for a quick and elegant appetizer that would bring raves from guests…especially plated so beautifully! Love the purple and the blue color combination décor!

    1. Haha! Elisabeth, it wasn’t just politeness. I do wish all the best to all the visitors, including those who never comment or contact me. I appreciate their quiet presence a lot too (though it makes so happy to be able to communicate and talk here!). I realise commenting is not obvious… I am still intimidated commenting for example for the first time… Thank you so much for the compliments and for your kind wishes. I also wish you once more Happy New Year!

  4. Happy New Year to you too my dear friend! We did have lovely holidays despite some weather related challenges, thank you for your kind words on my blog, they were very much appreciated during our down moments!
    Don’t you just love it when a dish serendipitously comes together even better than expected? Your tarts look perfect and the recipe sounds delicious, I live the pairing if chicken and curry. Puff pastry for the tart also sounds decadent and delicious.
    I wish you all the best for 2014!

    1. Thank you so much, Eva. Puff pastry is my favourite for savoury tarts because it’s as thin as any other French tart pastry but puffs up and thus gives this impression of lightness and crunchiness. Happy New Year and thank you for all your kind words. I’m sorry I wasn’t a very regular visitor in recent weeks.

  5. Sissi, I love small portion and these tartlets look so good, like the curry chicken in the savory custard…yum!
    Happy New Year and have a great week ahead my dear 😀

  6. Happy New Year, Sissi! May it be joyous and full of creative endeavors. These tartlets look fabulous, I just found out I’ll be hosting a party for 30 at the end of the month and these do look perfect for the occasion 🙂

    1. Hi, Gintare. Thank you so much for the wishes and compliments. I also wish you an exceptional new year. These tartlets are quite practical for a party: they are still good even reheated in a microwave!

  7. Happy New Year Sissi! I hope you had a great holiday. I was admiring these little delights on the way back from our road trip — I especially love the idea of the soft onion surrounding the curried chicken — what an explosion of texture and taste that must be. I’ve only purchased puff pastry/phyllo once or twice in my life but I would definitely enjoy these as a treat — perfect for the holidays! I would be a very happy recipient :).

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. You should stock on puff pastry/filo constantly 🙂 No need for holidays or any special occasion. Tarts are such a great last-minute dishes… (This time I made tartlets, but I often make the same filling for big tarts, which is a bit quicker). In France practically everyone I know has at least one package of rolled-out ready-to-use puff pastry (or another kind of thin tart crust, it’s called “pâte brisée”, no equivalent in English apparently…). I prepare tarts all the time, but it’s made at night and I am unable to take night photos, otherwise my blog would be full of last-minute tarts made with fridge leftovers 😉 I also wish you a happy new year!

  8. Happy New Year Sissi! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas holiday. These tartalets look very delicious, and I’m surprised how easy it is too!! I can imagine making these regularly… I need to stock up on my puff pastry. Believe it or not, I haven’t used it for a long time…. xD This will be a great lunch with my kids. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Nami. They are a bit more elaborate than for example tarts with ingredients which don’t require cooking before, but they are very easy and the first step can be made the day before. Tarts are such practical last-minute meals and when made into individual tartlets they become irresistible 🙂 Happy New Year, Nami!

  9. Finally see a difference in our kitchen supplies. YOU “always” have puff pastry handy. I on the other hand have never even bought puff pastry. 🙂 Don’t ask me why because I love things made with it. Just like these scrumptious looking tartlets. I would love to be munching down on one or two of them right now! What a great party bite or even a lunch for two. Thanks for the inspiration as always Sissi! And a BIG Happy New Year to you!

    1. Hi, MJ. If I have puff pastry, I know I have a quick easy potential dinner, so it calms me to have it constantly 😉 I have tarts quite often, with whatever I find in the kitchen, but as I told Kelly, I never post them (well hardly ever) because they are made quickly, at night for dinner and I am unable to take night photos. Thank you so much for the compliments. These tartlets are among our favourite snacks for an evening with a good bottle of wine for two. Happy New Year, MJ!

  10. This is always the best time to clean up the fridge and freezer and start over. This tartlet is the best way to use those leftovers. Happy New Year Sissi! 🙂

  11. I’m very lucky in that my father-in-law, having once worked as a chef, is very industrious in the kitchen. There was indeed a mountain of leftover food from Christmas but nothing was thrown, and nothing was even frozen. As a result, the leftovers were consumed within days, not weeks, or months, and since we were pretty sick and tired of Christmas food by the 26th everything was transformed into something delicious and different!

    Lovely looking little tartlets – curried chicken (but not chicken curry, mind you!) is one of the most delicious ways I can think of for chicken!

    1. Thank you, Charles. Chicken and curry are a perfect and easy combination indeed. I see your father-in-law might be a wonderful inspiring cook for you!

  12. This sounds really really nice. Interesting idea to top with cream/egg instead of cheese. Cheese is tasty but the texture sometimes is not interesting, esp for delicate tarts such as these.
    The ingredients you use are part of those used to make murgh makhani – so I guess this is almost murgh makhani tartlet, with egg as bonus.
    BTW, something strange happened. How did those green things appear in the photo – its not in the recipe. Mystery indeed.

    1. Thanks a lot, Mr. Three-Cookies. Actually cream and egg custard (without cheese) is my favourite filling for tarts. I think that if you already have strongly flavoured ingredients, cheese usually doesn’t add anything special apart from… calories and fat 😉 and it blurs somehow the taste of the ingredients. (Though I sometimes prepare tarts with cheese, but the cheese is treated like a separate ingredient, not a part of filling; then you can clearly taste its presence: I use then strong cheese; Now you have reminded me of a delicious tart I have never posted. Thank you!). Haha! Imagine that green stuff still grows on my balcony (I think that my parsley for example prefers winter: it never looks so great in other seasons…), so I’m tempted to put some on my photographs.

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