I made these deep-fried curry puffs over the weekend when we had friends over for lunch (I figured just serving chicken rice might not be enough). As usual, I posted photos of these on facebook and a friend commented that it was his favourite. Actually, he thought that these were "gujia", which I later found out through Dr Google that it was a type of sweet Indian (Rajasthani, to be specific) deep-fried pastry filled with nuts, dried fruit or coconut. Mmm...this sounds like something right up my alley (and something for me to experiment with next!).
With that said, my all-time favourite has to be these Malaysian-style curry puffs, deep-fried to perfection to attain those light, crisp and flaky layers of pastry, enclosing a spicy and aromatic filling of curried chicken and potatoes. Nobody can resist a good curry puff and whether baked or fried, they are always a hit. These would be great for serving up at parties or picnics. Otherwise, simply have them for morning or afternoon tea, or really, just any time of the day.
(makes about 15)
Curry puff filling:
1 1/2 cups cubed (1/4 inch) potatoes
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 inch cinnamon stick
1/2 star anise
1 large onion, finely chopped with a blender
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp Malaysian curry powder, mixed with 3 tbsp water to form a paste
2-3 tsp chilli powder/chilli flakes (add this to the curry powder)
10 oz (300g) chicken, roughly chopped/minced
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
1 tbsp ketchup
1/4 cup water
Salt, to taste
2 2/3 cup (400g) plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup (180g) butter, cut into tiny cubes
1/2 cup cold water (approx)
You will need to prepare the curry puff filling a day ahead.
Curry puff filling:
Place cubed potatoes in a microwave safe bowl with 3 tbsp hot water, and cover loosely with a lid. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes until cooked, stirring once in between. When cooked, drain off the excess liquid and set aside.
Heat the vegetable oil in a wok. Add cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise, onions and garlic. Fry for 2-3 minutes until onions are translucent, then add curry powder and chilli paste mixrture. Fry for 2-3 minutes until the oil separates. Add chicken and fry until cooked. Add curry leaves, the cooked potatoes, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar and ketchup. Toss to mix evenly. Add 1/4 cup water and mix again. Bring to a boil and let it simmer until potatoes are soft and has absorbed all the flavours. Add salt to taste. Fry until the curry is thick and dry. Dish out and let it cool before refrigerating.
Making the pastry and puffs:
Place flour and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Add cubed butter and rub into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Alternatively, use a pastry cutter or food processor to do this. Drizzle water into the mixture and stir around with the round tipped knife until the dough starts to come together. Bring the dough together with your hands, adding a little more water if it's too dry and crumbly. Do not overknead the dough as it may cause the pastry to be "tough/chewy" when fried. Place the ball of dough on a floured surface and roll out into a disc. Use a round cutter and cut out small discs (makes about 15 pieces). Roll out each disc into a flat oval shape (about 1/8 inch thick). Place 2 tbsp of curry filling in the centre, fold in half and pinch the edges to enclose. Use thumb and forefinger to pinch the edges to form fluted edges.
Heat sufficient oil in a wok/pan for deep-frying. Fry the curry puffs in batches on medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes until golden brown. Move the curry puffs around in the oil so that they brown evenly all over. Remove and drain and kitchen paper. Caution: Filling is hot! Enjoy!
Note: Alternatively, you can bake these in the oven instead of deep-frying. Preheat oven to 200C (400F). Place curry puffs on a lined baking tray and brush the tops with egg wash (beaten egg + 1 tbsp water). Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden and crisp.