CURRY Puff provides the perfect excuse to pause mid-day for a tea time indulgence with a piping hot cuppa. This classic savoury snack of shortcrust pastry with potato filling is popular among Asian communities in Malaysia and Singapore. For a robust bite, add chicken meat or even a slice of hard-boiled egg.
Time: 2½ hours
Yields: 20 – 23 pieces
A: Potato Filling
300g potatoes, peeled, boiled and diced
100g sweet potatoes, peeled, boiled and diced
150g large onions, peeled and diced
1 sprig curry leaves, remove spine and slice finely
1½ tablespoons fish curry powder
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon sweet soy sauce
½ chicken cube, dissolved in 100ml water
Salt to taste
About 50 ml oil
400g plain flour
125ml hot oil + 1 tablespoon ghee or butter
A pinch of salt
Cold water, enough to bind dough
C: Oil for frying
1. Assemble filling ingredients.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan until the oil is hot. Toss in onions and sauté until it turns translucent. Note: Stick 1 chopstick into the oil; when oil sizzles around the end of the chopstick, it is hot enough to cook.
3. Toss in curry leaves followed by curry powder. Cook until oil separates from the solids – this technique for cooking curries indicates the paste is sufficiently cooked. Add in potatoes. Pour in hydrated chicken cube, stirring until it is fully incorporated.
4. Sprinkle chili powder over potato filling. Pour in soy sauce and blend it in. If filling is too dry, add in a little water and mix well. Next, add sweet potatoes and stir until combined.
Note: The soy sauce counterbalances the heat from the chili powder.
5. Taste seasoning and adjust salt if required. At this stage, all liquid should be absorbed. Leave filling to cool.
6. Dough: Combine flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle, pour in hot oil and add butter or ghee. Using a spoon or a pair of chopsticks, mix until a shaggy dough forms.
7. Once dough cools down, knead with your fingers to breadcrumb consistency. Pour in cold water gradually as needed until a shaggy dough is formed.
8. To assemble: Knead until a smooth ball forms. Note: Do not overknead. Leave it to rest at room temperature between 30 minutes to 1 hour. Using a rolling pin, roll it flat to about 2 mm thick and 9cm in diameter.
9. Scoop ¾ tablespoon of filling onto dough. Fold from one side to close it. Pleating edges to seal dough properly. Repeat until filling is used up.
10. Frying Curry Puffs: Pour oil into a medium pot and heat until it is hot. Gently lower each curry puff into hot oil to fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Allow puffs to cool down before serving.
11. Alternatively bake puffs in the oven: Preheat oven to 160°C for 15 minutes. Brush some butter or ghee or oil on crust of curry puff.
12. Bake 10 minutes in fan-forced mode. Increase heat to 180°C, then bake another 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Allow puffs to cool down before serving.
Note: Baking time varies according to oven brand and model. Adjust heat and baking time accordingly.
TIP: For those who prefer meat, add 200g diced chicken. Replace fish curry powder with meat curry powder.
TECHNIQUE: When frying puffs, add few at a time, leaving enough room to move puffs around in the pot. This allows puff to crisp up well. When golden brown, drain on paper towels. Allow puffs to cool down for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Photos: Victoria Van Bennekum
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