I remember those times rather fondly, because my mom would chastise us (myself and my brothers) for being lazy, and she would use that little Malay boy as an example. At a really young age (about 10 years or less), he would be wide awake selling his mother’s kuih muih as early as 7am in the morning! I used to remember my mom telling us what a hard life that boy leads and how we should be thankful and shouldn’t begrudge helping her mop the floor or perform other errands around the house. That lesson is still very much engrained in my memories, and I wonder sometimes, what happened to that little Malay boy? He should be close to 30 years old now. Hmm.
Loosely adapted from Florence‘s recipe
Makes 16 medium sized curry puffs
For the pastry
150 g all-purpose flour
40 g butter
35 g shortening
205 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp vinegar
50 g shortening
30 g sugar
95 g water
3 small potatoes
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 tbl garam masala
1 tbl chicken curry powder
Some curry leaves
- For the filling, par boil the potatoes. Peel and cube them into small pieces. Stir fry the onions until fragrant and add in the garlic followed by the cubed potatoes. Add in the seasoning and cook for about 1-2 minutes, or until the potato softens to your preference. Leave aside to cool until room temperature.
- Meanwhile, prepare the water dough. In a bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Add in the shortening and mix well with the dry ingredients. Add in the vinegar followed by the water and knead until you get a soft and pliable dough. It should take you about 10 minutes or less. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and leave it to rest for 30 minutes while you prepare the oil dough.
- For the oil dough, in the same bowl, add shortening to the flour and mix well. Next, add in the cubed butter and mix everything well until you can compact everything into a ball.
- Divide the water dough into 2 pieces of approximately 170-180g each, and divide the oil dough into 2 pieces of approximately 75-85g each. Working on one piece each of oil dough and water dough and wrap the other 2 pieces of dough separately in cling wrap to prevent them from drying out.
- Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the water dough until it is big enough to enclose the oil dough. Seal the oil dough within the water dough. With the sealed seam facing upwards, roll the dough into a rectangular sheet of approximately 1cm in thickness. Roll the rectangular sheet up from the shorter side, as if rolling up a swiss roll. You should get a horizontal scroll. Now, turn this horizontal scroll 90 degrees until it is vertical. Roll this out until you get another thin rectangular sheet of about 1cm in thickness. Again, roll the sheet up from the shorter end until you get a swiss roll. Let the dough rest for about 15 minutes before cutting the ‘swiss roll’ up into 10 portions. For each portion, you should be able to see the swirling of the water and oil dough.
- To fill and shape the curry puff, flatten the disc using a rolling pin until you get a rough circle big enough to place your filling. Place about 1-2 tablespoons of filling in the centre and fold the circle into two. You should get a rough semicircle. Press the edges of the dough together and beginning from the bottom, pinch the edge of the puff with your thumb before bringing it upwards to the front. Repeat the process of pleating until the entire semi-circle is sealed.
- Repeat the same process for the remaining pieces of dough.
- Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the other 2 pieces of dough.
- Heat up a wok with at least 2 inches of oil. Deep fry the puffs on medium heat until they turn golden brown. Before removing the puffs from the oil, be sure to turn up the heat to medium-high to make sure that the oil does not leach inside the puffs.
- Drain on paper towels and cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
- Taste: For the filling, be sure to add more spices and flavor than you normally will, because the filling needs to be really flavorful. I loved how the curry leaves gave the filling that extra punch – YUM!
- Texture: I absolutely love the textural layers on the outside which are so very crisp after frying. You are then greeted with a hot, spicy potato filling which is almost mushy, with some ‘bite’ from other bits of potato which I purposely left un-mushy.
- Serving size: I divided the dough into half and made 10 curry puffs out of a half portion of dough because I wanted smaller puffs and more crispy surface area ;p I think 12 is perhaps the smallest you can go because otherwise there is not enough dough to wrap enough filling for 3 small bites of a small curry puff.
- Modifications: You can choose to add chicken, carrots or peas or even hardboiled eggs into the filling – any variation including sardines is fine! Just make sure to make the filling extra tasty so that it will taste normal after frying. Also for the oil dough, I will probably try using more butter and less shortening the next time because I felt that the dough was slightly too crumbly for my preference.
- Storage: The curry puffs taste best on the day they are fried, but they keep well at room temperature for up to 3 days if stored in an air-tight container, and briefly reheated before consumption. You can also keep them in the fridge for up to a week, but the curry puff did not crisp up well in the toaster after that period of time.
- Would I make this again?: Although it was insanely delicious and rewarding to eat my own curry puffs, I’m definitely staying away from curry puffs for a while – I consumed more than 4 curry puffs within 2 days and looking at the huge amount oil that I used to fry them gives me the heebies jeebies. SO MUCH OIL and fats going to my hips!
- Notes on frying: Do do make sure that you have enough oil in the wok. I had too little oil in the wok, and my heat was cranked up a little too high, which resulted in my first batch of puffs turning golden brown too quickly, and the inside layer of the puffs was not cooked through.
Now that I know how much work goes into making a single curry puff, I’ll never grouse paying RM1 for the large curry puff (with half an egg) I always buy from the makcik near my house! I’ll be sending this onto Muhibbah Malaysia Monday hosted by Shaz of Test With Skewer and Suresh of 3 Hungry Tummies :]