The other day, Nil cubed too much chicken breast for the fried rice that I made for lunch, so instead of tossing everything into the fried rice, I thought we’d keep aside some and turn those into some curry puffs – a snack which I’ve not had for over a year already. There are many ways of making this – one can just use potatoes as a filling, some prefer meat like chicken, and then there is the matter of making the pastry – spiral, regular or flaky.
The options endless, but one thing is for sure. Unlike the Western counterpart – pastry with curry – the Asian curry puff is not just filled with tumeric but it has a spicy, hot kick to it which is offset by the buttery texture of the pastry. Topped off with the fact that it’s deep-fried and not baked, this roadside snack can be decadent and sinful.
Still, it is a regular at many hawker stalls, food centers, as well as in many homes plus ethnic cuisines throughout Malaysia. The Indians, Malays, and Chinese have their own way of making curry puffs…you could say that it’s one of those dishes that has been embraced by all, claimed by none.
I made these with some chicken curry and beef rendang powder that I got from home (which you can get at any Asian store) and the pastry is a simply one that Nil and I use for tarts. Nothing fancy or complicated really. I didn’t have those fancy curry puff moulds that you’d get back at home in Malaysia – just my trusty pizza cutter (to divide my dough), and a rolling pin. The fluted edges are done by simply pinching the edges and folding them in as you go.
Taste-wise, Nil loves it! It reminds him of the dish he always took whenever he patronised Indian food stalls/restaurants back in Singapore. As for me, a thinner pastry is always best (I was afraid of holes and such) but it’ll do. This recipe is a bit on the not-so-salty side because I’m trying to watch my salt intake but if you like your food more salty, don’t forget to add salt to the flour before churning out the dough!
Curry puffs with chicken & potatoes
400 gms all purpose white flour
150 gms butter
Some iced water
Flour for dusting
200 gms chicken breast – cubed
4 medium-large potatoes – peeled and cubed
1 large onion – diced
1 tbsp curry chicken powder
1 tbsp beef rendang powder
1 tsp chicken stock
50 ml water
Salt & pepper to taste
Oil for deep frying
- Mix the spices with some water until it forms a paste. In a wok/pan, fry the paste with some oil until fragrant. Add in the potatoes and onions, and fry for 2-3 minutes before adding in the cubed chicken. Fry until the chicken is cooked.
- Add in the water, chicken stock, salt & pepper to taste, cover and cook until the potatoes are soft. You may need to add more water if necessary – keep an eye out. You don’t want your filling to burn before the potatoes are soft.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, continue frying the filling until it’s dry. Be careful not to burn it. When ready, dish out to cool thoroughly.
- Prepare the pastry by mixing (A). On a floured surface, divide the dough into equal portions and roll out the portions into circles measuring 12 cm in diameter and a thickness of about 2mm. You don’t have to be this accurate – this is just a gauge. Place about a teaspoon or more (estimate as you go) of the filling, fold carefully, pinch the edges to seal and create a flute edge by folding in the edges.
- When finished, deep fry these in hot oil until golden brown. Serve warm as is.
NOTE: You can actually keep the extras in the freezer for a month – just deep fry the puffs (after you’re done filling and sealing them) for one minute or so (the curry puffs won’t be golden brown which is okay), dish out, cool and freeze. When you want to eat them, just take out from the freeze and deep fry them directly (do not thaw) until golden brown