Sunday, November 29, 2009


When my children thought these puffs were deep fried it was like little bubbles of pleasure had burst inside of me. I knew I had hit the jackpot.

Traditionally Malay curry puffs are deep fried to acquire a crispy crust to complement the spicy curry filling of meat and potatoes inside. But finally, I have conjured up the perfect curry puff crust....that is, baked and not fried, for a healthier version.

Yet they were crisp, crusty, crunchy and flaky and stayed that way for hours. Comparable and as delicious as the traditionally deep fried ones.

I had used the short crust pastry dough for the Nori Nibbles in my previous post but to which I added an extra ounce of butter which proved to be a very good move because it simply made the pastry that much crustier.

Since I also wanted the pastry to take the form of a spiral pastry dough which seems to be the rage these days in Malaysian curry puff world I rolled out the dough into a rough rectangle that was about 1/4 inch thick.

Then, just in the nick of time, I remembered Jamie Oliver's pastry for his Portuguese Egg Tarts. So I decided to sprinkle some cinnamon powder over the pastry rectangle before rolling it up.

That little activity stimulated me and I thought chillie powder would be good too so I reached for some and sprinkled that on which in turn got me more animated that I thought cumin would be even better so I sprinkled that on as well.

With that, I may have perfected the Art of Indecisiveness.

Verdict : None of the spices stood out in flavour. I should have stuck to one spice and sprinkled a substantial amount rather than a little of each. Preferred choice : cinnamon. Or curry powder?

No matter. The curry puffs were a hit anyway.

And although they were not as pretty as I would have liked them to be they passed the bill in this house.

PS : I had also sprinkled some grated cheddar cheese over the filling before I folded the pastry over to seal. That added a nice cheesy twist.

The recipe..............................

For the filling...............

200 gm beef fillet or chicken tenders, minced or cut into very thin and tiny pieces
2 medium potatoes or 1 medium potato and 1 small sweet potato, skinned and diced small
1 white onion, diced finely
2 pips garlic, (optional)
2 T curry powder plus 1/4 cup of water and mixed to a paste
1/4 - 1/2 cup water or chicken stock
1 T cornflour mixed with a little water

Some grated cheddar cheese (optional)

4 T cooking oil

Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions, garlic until fragrant. Add the curry powder paste and continue to saute until the curry paste turns darker and is cooked through.

Add in the diced potatoes and the meat and the chicken stock or water, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until the potatoes are tender and the meat done. Add salt to taste. Finally thicken with cornflour.

Ideally the mixture should be between dry and ever so slightly saucy. Thick-ish really.

Let the cooked filling cool completely before using.

The pastry......................

8 oz plain flour
5 oz butter, frozen block of it
5-6 T of ice cold water

Sift flour into a medium bowl, Grate the frozen butter over the flour. Using your finger tips mix the flour and butter so that the curls of butter are well coated and are distributed evenly throughout.

Sprinkle about 5 or 6 tablespoons of cold water over the flour-butter mix and using a fork at first stir to bring the dough together. If the dough seems a little too dry add another tablespoon of cold water and mix again. When the dough looks moist enough to cling together, use your fingers to gather and pat and squeeze the dough into a squarish shape very lightly.

*Excessive handling will make the dough tough and the butter will melt.

Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the freezer for 15v minutes or so until it firms up but not too hard sothat you can still roll it out.

*It is important that the butter remains in visible pieces because this is what will make the pastry puff, be crunchy and ever so flaky. The batter forms pockets as the pastry bakes and as it melts and the steam from the melting butter pushes up the dough forming layers making the resulting pastry puffy and flaky.

Take the dough out from the freezer and flour a board. Place the dough on top and roll out the dough until it forms a rough rectangle that is about between 1/4 inch thick. (Sorry that I did not measure the size)

You may make the edges neat by trimming them. I didn't because I did not want to waste any pastry.

Sprinkle some cinnamon/cumin/chillie powder or cayenne pepper generously over the rectangle of dough. Roll up the dough tightly from one end until it becomes a log. Place in the freezer again to firm up if your kitchen is warm like mine.

Constructing the curry puffs...............

Take out from the freezer and slice a few slices at a time (perhaps at most 4, if your kitchen is warm). The slices should be about but not quite 1 cm thick. Roll out one slice until it becomes a bigger circle about 3 inches in diameter. You will be able to see a spiral of dark spice in the slice of dough. Put the filling in the centre using a small teaspoon, add some grated cheddar dheese if you like then fold the pastry circle over the filling and crimp to seal with your fingers, Malaysian style, or press with a fork. Finish the rest of the pastry in the same way. You will get about 20 - 25 curry puffs. While you are doing a few slices refrigerate the rest.

Bake the curry puffs in a preheated oven at 170 C for s5 - 30 minutes until teh curry puffs ar alight golden brown. Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!


Bren said...

I never know that this baked puffs can be as crispy as the fried ones. It sure does look crispy in the photos.. ooohh.. I can imagine having a bite .. crisp..crisp..:)

Angie's Recipes said...

These are a great heart-warming winter treat!

tracieMoo said...

oh Zurin, I would really prefer baked than deep fried curry puffs. I asked my mum how to make the filling today. What a coincidence! Mum and I love curry puffs. This is one thing I'm going to make when I find the time to!

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Zurin, they look fantastic! I seriously dunno how they can get any prettier. I have always failed miserably at every recipe which calls for delicate handling of butter. Ask me to do this and you'll be eating mangled puffs! ;P What a beautiful treat!

La Table De Nana said...

Ju you made me laugh..

Zurin..I hope to try these..not fried thrills me and the spiraled dough..Oh!!

Thank you .. they are darling too you know...

KennyT said...

I thought they were deep fried too!! Pls send me some!

fimere said...

ma chère zurin ça doit être un vrai régal, je note ta recette
bonne soirée

ICook4Fun said...

I wish I can have one or two. I am crazy over curry puffs. This look so flaky and better still it is baked.

Anonymous said...

I love curry puffs! I tried making spiral curry puffs a few weeks ago and completely failed to get a decent looking one. I realised it is quite hard to roll out the pastry so that the 'centre' of the spiral is right in the middle - hope you know what I mean! I still have some dough in the freezer though, so will attempt it again soon.

I think you did really well, amd your story about being indecisive made me smile coz it reminds me of myself, hehe.

Oh and I also bake my curry puffs. :P

Quinn said...

You make me miss home so much. In Malaysia, we would eat these almost weekly. That's how much I like them! Still like deep fried then baked ones though hehe!

Ninette said...

Ah, I see why you felt like making curry puffs when you commented on my Filipino empanada post. Very similar!

Pei-Lin said...

One of my favorites and a comfort food as a Malaysian!! Have thought of baking curry puffs, but am concerned about the outcome of the texture of the final product. Thanks for sharing! will try this out sometime!


Faida said... apetizing and healthy. I like healthy food.Thanks for the idea.

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

wah, I never see a healthy version of curry puff, very good idea to bake it, will try out soon. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

Hummmmm !!!!!!!
I dream to taste these puffs, it's so wonderfull
It's so bad that my english is not enough correct to say how much I like these !

Zurin said...

Sophie, oh yes very much like empanadas:)

MSK, very crispy n just as good! :)

Angie, yes they wd be)

Tracie, hope u make them :)

Ju, heh, I'm sure you can make them pretty! :)

Monique, Hope u make them soon! :)

Kenny, I'd love to send some to you! :)

ADDG, tq, it is quite good :)

ICook4 fun, Yes baked is much healthier isn't it? :)

Breadetbutter, I never get the centre in the centre either! but as long as its flaky I'm a happy woman !:)

Quinn, you cld make them easily !:)

Ninette, yes, they're just like empanadas! :)

Dodol, These are nice n flaky. Do try K :)

Faida, Yes healthier than the fried ones of course but the butter is still in there! :)

Sonia, Welcome :)

Chapot, Your english is perfect...:)

Mary Bergfeld said...

These look simply wonderful and I love the baked not fried method that you've used.

Anonymous said...

Ahh you definitely hit the jackpot with these! Tastes like deep fried but isn't? That just begs to be made :)

Marysol said...

Oh, you're my new hero!

Zurin, it only took me 20 years perfecting the fine art of indecisiveness [g], to finally try curry. And I'm glad I did.

I'm going to try your baked puffs of curried heaven. I have a feeling Thumper is going to love them too.

Kate at Serendipity said...

LOL, when I first read this post title, I thought it said "CHERRY puffs"--probably because I have just thawed out some cherry filling I made last summer.

These look delicious. I love curry. I love shortcrust.

I love cherries too, but that's another story...

Through My Kitchen Window said...

Thank you zurin for your comprehensive explanation for making these little golden puffs of perfection. I am so impressed with your knowledge. You really do sound like you know your stuff.

Anonymous said...

omg you're amazing!
the swirls and the folds :)
big fan of curry puffs.
both the potato and sardine ones.
mail some over please! :P

Anonymous said...

I am sooo going to try this but with sardines inside instead. Btw, we downsouth calls it epok-epok :)

Anonymous said...

I think your epok-epok look really good! The spirals look perfect :) And I love the twist of cinnamon, as well as the cheese in the filling, though I reckon the older folks in my household would probably strangle me at the mere thought of tweaking a traditional recipe :P

Zurin said...

Mary, tq :)

NQN, I just made some more today!!

Marysol, lol...Thumper's gong to love it!! Promise.

Kate, cld be something to do with my blog name too :)) Yum.... what r u going to do with the cherry filling I do wonder??!!

TMKW, ur very very welcome :))im sure you know better though.

Felicia, hmm. sardines sounds good ..:))

Percicilan, o make make!:))

Ovenhaven, No...not perfect swirls...ok la...

heh....tell them .."keep an open mind"..although I love the traditional ones too!!

Agnès said...

They look nice. Really want to test one.

Nadji said...

Tes feuilletés au curry sont magnifiques. Je note la recette.
A bientôt.

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

These puffs are simply looking delicious. I would love to taste them :)

Anonymous said...

YUM!! After craving for mee goreng from Ju's blog... I should not have hopped over here. Now I have doubled cravings for both mee goreng and curry puffs. Love the pastry, so flaky :)

Elin Chia said...

Hey Zurin ...nice curry puffs...haha I was wondering how the three spices would be like :p but the cheese would be a god match for these curry puffs. Thanks for sharing...I love the malay curry puffs. My office cafeteria sells the classic curry puffs...and I seldom miss it :))

Mari @ Once Upon a Plate said...

Zurin, They are absolutely lovely! Oh how I wish I could reach through the computer monitor to taste. :)

"With that, I may have perfected the Art of Indecisiveness." You made me laugh out loud. I'm that way, too.

Thank you for the wonderful recipe and all of your helpful hints. I would love to try to make these some day. (I wish you could come tutor me in person.)

I love your blog!

Astrid (Mrs.B) said...

oh, I love,love curry puffs! Thanks for this recipe. I'll definitely try this.

Astrid (Mrs.B) said...

Hi Zurin, thanks for dropping by my book blog. I love your blog too. I actually went and bought myself some chicken puffs today after I read this post. They didn't have curry ones. I'll just have to make your recipe sometime!

The Yellow Wallpaper is available in many editions. I'm sure you can get it anywhere.

French Cooking for Dummies said...

I want one of these :-D

Barbara said...

What a great little puff of deliciousness!
Definitely going to try these!

S said...

mmmmm zurin, i adore curry puffs, this, like the nori nibbles, is a lovely appetiser to serve guests while prepping for the entree.


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