Simple Curry Puffs
Fridge clearing exercises often bring the craziest of all ideas. Just a couple of days ago, I “recycled” some frozen filling of some of my earlier baking and kueh making ventures to whip up some quick snacks for tea break. I’d used some frozen grated coconut filling which had been cooked in gula melaka that I had used for making pulot inti just last week to make kueh dadar. It is essentially the same filling afterall. I could have made kueh kochi if I had wanted too as well but I’d ran out of banana leaves. The leftover filling for rempah udang was made into small puffs while the remaining curry chicken and potato filling I had used for my karipap pusing experiment 2 weeks back became instant curry puffs with frozen puff pastry at hand! Gave some to my neighbours and students to try and they said the curry puffs taste like those from Pxlxr. Not sure if that is exactly a compliment but the bakery which has shops and delis all over Singapore did win the best curry puff in some media award quite recently! The best part is, these curry puffs are quite easy to make!
The traditional curry puff, aka karipap pusing are made with a pastry dough. Some use a regular dough while others prefer a flaky dough which churns out layers after deep frying. I like the latter a lot but making the skin requires some effort and dexterity. For the easy peasy version, I’d used storebought puff pastry. You can try to make your own puff pastry at home of course but be forewarned it is not the easiest thing to do, and pretty messy as well.
The toughest part is probably getting the filling right. I like a mixture of sweet potato and potato filling with a generous amount of chicken. Traditional karipap pusing is almost all “kentang and ubi kledek” only but since we are making for our loved ones to enjoy, be generous with the chicken! We need some aromatics to support the filling of course, the regular onion, garlic, not forgetting the curry powder and chili powder. I’d added curry leaves as well, keeping them whole. If you wish, you can julienne them into uber fine strips. I’m just too lazy. It is about being easy peasy remember? I’d added fresh chilies as well, chopped. If you wanna turn up the heat by several notches, swop with some cili padi (bird’s eye chilies).
The skin as I’d mentioned for easy peasy simple curry puffs is storebought puff pastry. You can get this in most supermarkets nowadays, in the frozen foods section. The taste may vary slightly across brands. Some don’t taste as good as others. But I’m not gonna suggest my favorite since it may not be yours. So go with whichever brand that you like.
If you decide to make the round ones, be sure to cut the top piece to be slightly larger than the bottom. If you don’t have a circular pastry cutter, just use whatever containers you have with rounded mouths, be it mason jars to wine glasses. If you don’t have these either, which is highly unprobable, or wish to minimise wastage in the puff pastry, you can always cut it into squares or rectangles instead but always be sure to cut the top piece to be a bit larger than the bottom as it needs to cover the filling which is rather undulated, completely and still have excess to seal the lower piece. Otherwise, you can always just fill one side of the pastry and fold the other side over like a book and seal.
If you are up for it, you can also make the traditional semi-circular shapes with beautiful pleated edges like I did to some pieces. I made them really small, almost bitesize but you don’t have to do so of course. Remember, go easy peasy. Least effort for maximum satisfaction here. I’m just nothing but being vain here to make them like le petite puffs here. So don’t mind me!
Adding hardboiled eggs seems like a Singaporean thing, you don’t get that in the karipap across the border. So its entirely optional. If you like it, go with the eggs, if you don’t simply omit them. 🙂
Finally, one last piece of advice before you get started, remember to crank up your oven temperature and make sure it is well preheated before putting the puffs in the oven. The heat is a necessity to get the pastry to puff up beautifully and for the layers within to separate. Otherwise, one would most likely end up with the top most layer being beautifully albeit deceitfully crisp while the layers within are still pale, soft and limpish. We do get that from curry puffs sold outside don’t we? Not the nicest things to eat at all. So for uber crisp layers of puff pastry throughout, keep your oven hot and happy before popping your puffs in!
Easy Curry Puffs Recipe (makes 20 to 25 7-cm circular pieces)
250g poached chicken breast, chopped finely
1 medium bombay onion, peeled and chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped finely
2-3 fresh red chilies, deseeded and chopped finely. Use cili padi if you prefer more heat
1 sprig of curry leaves, leaves only julienne finely
250g granola potatoes, peeled and chopped finely
100g sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped finely
2 tbsp meat curry powder
1 or 2 tbsp cili powder
1 cube of KNORR chicken stock cube
2 cups thin coconut milk
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
2 tbsp cooking oil
5-6 hardboiled eggs, each cut into quarters
5-6 sheets of storebought puff pastry
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp water for egg-wash
To a heated wok with medium high flame, add cooking oil and sautee onions until soft and translucent.
Add garlic and sautee until fragrant, followed by red chili, curry leaves, potatoes, sweet potatoes and half of chopped chicken breast.
Stir fry until all the ingredients are well coated.
Add coconut milk and bring to a boil.
Add KNORR chicken stock cube and lower flame to medium low.
Cover and simmer for 10 min.
Remove cover and stir fry continually until the mixture is left with around 1/3 of original moisture.
Add remaining chopped chicken breast and season with sugar and more salt if required.
Add plain flour and stir until the flour disappears.
Continue to stir fry for another 5 min or so or until there is no more liquids pooling at the side of the wok.
Turn off flame and allow the ingredients to cool down completely.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven at 200C. It is important to get your oven nice and hot beforehand.
To assemble curry puffs, take the frozen puff pastry out to thaw for 10 min.
While the pastry is still firm, cut 20 pieces of 7 cm wide circular pieces.
Place the pieces on baking trays lined with greaseproof baking parchment and lay the puff pastry cutouts over it.
Place a generous dollop of filling in the centre of each piece, followed by a wedge of hardboiled egg on the side.
With the remaining puff pastry, cut 20 pieces of 8 cm wide circular pieces.
Place these pieces over the top of the filling and press down the sides gently with either a fork or your fingers to seal the edges.
Brush egg wash over the surface of each curry puff and bake in the preheated oven for around 15-18 minutes until the surface is golden brown.
Serve immediately with coffee or tea.