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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Recipe of the month: Vegetable Curry Puff

After yet another humdrum day at school, the three kids jumped out of the car (much to the amusement of their mother) and raced towards their favorite local bakery, their eyes gleaming with excitement at the thought of the delights that lay enclosed within the countless glass shelves. Within a matter of seconds, their rumbling tummies had relayed the message to their mind as to what yummy snack was to be relished that evening. For the two younger kids, it would be a crispy, flaky, delicious vegetable puff and for the older, it would be a warm, flavorful and satisfying potato bun. The orders shouted out and money paid, the kids then polished off the goodies within a matter of minutes. With messy faces, smiles of contentment and a pleasant feeling of fullness, the only thing that remained was the anticipation of the next time they would get to relive this happy memory!

This was me and my siblings several years ago in my hometown, doing what we did best together....creating happy food memories! Going to the local bakery was a common occurrence for us and one that was met with eagerness. It is what brings a sense of déjà vu whenever I come across any snack that has ties to my childhood. To tell you the truth, I never imagined I would make baked goodies like stuffed buns or puffs at home because it seemed to me that certain types of snacks are meant for eating in a cafe or bakery! But if you have seen my Potato Bun post, you would know that I have changed my mind now :)

Singapore and Malaysia have their own version of puff called Curry Puff which is an extremely popular snack in this part of the world. It can be either vegetarian or non-vegetarian but most often, it is the latter. There is a snack stall in the food court at my work place where they have the most delicious curry puffs which contain curried potatoes and boiled eggs. I absolutely love it and treat myself to one every now and then during tea breaks. Although different in taste and texture, the curry puffs here  remind me of the puffs that I used to enjoy when I was in India so I thought to myself why not try making my own version at home using a mixture of Indian and Singapore influences. I decided that if the procedure was too elaborate then I wouldn't bother in the future but it turned out that my concern was unwarranted! After going through many recipes, I decided to make the puffs using puff pastry (just like how it is in India) and for the filling, my main inspiration was this wonderful blog called Singapore Shiok that I had chanced upon a while ago while browsing the Foodgawker gallery. I had never worked with puff pastry before so I didn't know what to expect but it was easy-peasy....no problems encountered whatsoever! The filling requires only a handful of ingredients and can be made within half an hour. Prepping the puff pastry is simple and if you prepare the filling ahead of time, you can pop the puffs in the oven and 20 min later, you will have a fabulous snack ready!

Try this recipe and I promise you that you won't be disappointed!

Preparation time: 45 min (excluding thawing time for puff pastry) 
Baking time: 20-25 min
Makes: 8 puffs
Recipe Level: Easy

Ingredients:

For the filling:

2 medium red onions, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
3-4 green chillies (depending on your spice level), chopped
500 g/1 lb (approximately 4 medium) potatoes, washed, peeled and cubed
11/2 tsp curry powder*
11/2 tsp tandoori masala* Optional
*Or you could just use 3 tsp curry powder
400 ml (2 cups) water
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp sugar
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Coriander leaves, chopped, Optional garnish

For the outer covering:

1 package puff pastry (I used Borg's Light & Flaky frozen puff pastry)
1 egg beaten with 1.5 tbsp water, Optional


Method:

For the filling:
  1. Heat  5 tablespoons vegetable oil then fry the onions and garlic until fragrant and translucent. Add green chillies and fry until limp.
  2. Add the curry powder and tandoori masala and stir for a few min. You can add a little water so the spice powders don't burn. Add the sugar, salt and the potatoes and stir for about 3 minutes until potatoes are well coated. Then add water, lime juice and stir well. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer partially covered until potatoes and tender and curry is very thick. This should take about 20 minutes. Stir from time to time, to prevent sticking and burning, especially as curry begins to thicken. You can mash the potatoes with the back of the spoon if you find them too chunky.
  3. Turn off heat, garnish with coriander leaves (if desired) and let curry cool completely. I made the filling the previous day and refrigerated it overnight.

For the outer covering:
  1. Take out the packet from the freezer about 2-3 hours before you want to use it. It has to thaw completely and become soft. Alternatively, you can keep the puff pastry in the fridge overnight and then thaw it at room temperature for about 30 mins which is what I did
  2. Place the softened slab of puff pastry on a liberally floured surface and roll it out firmly to a uniform thickness of about 3mm. You will get a large rectangular sheet of puff pastry.
  3. I cut the puff pastry into 8 equal rectangular pieces. Cut accordingly based on the portion size and shape that you desire.

Assembling the puffs and baking:
  1. Brush some egg wash on the puff pastry strips (this step is optional). Take a rectangular strip of rolled out puff pasty sheet and spoon in 1 tbsp filling on one end, leaving enough space on all sides to 'seal' the puff.
  2. Bring in the other end and pinch the sides so that they are well sealed. At this stage, if you are not ready to bake the puffs, you can store in the refrigerator for later. But if you want to proceed, arrange the puffs on a baking tray over a sheet of baking/parchment paper. Brush them again with the egg wash to give a nice glossy finish. You can also brush the puffs with melted butter. 

3. Bake in a preheated oven at 220 deg C for 20-25 min until the top is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for a few minutes.
4. Serve these delicious puffs while they are still warm with the sauce of your choice! 
Notes:
  • The filling has to be thick and completely cool before you attempt to stuff it into the puff pastry strips
  • You can add in other veggies into the filling such as peas and carrots. 
  • Incorporating a hard-boiled egg along with the filling in this recipe will give you an amazing egg curry puff.
  • You can use slightly less filling inside the puffs than what is shown in the pictures above (I used 11/2 tbsp) because the only criticism I had of the puffs were that they were ever so slightly overfilled. 
  • If you don't consume eggs, you don't need to use it in this recipe. The puff pastry is sticky by itself so you can seal it without the aid of the egg wash. 
  • I did not use any additional butter/oil to brush the puff pastry in this recipe. The puff pastry itself contains fat which is more than sufficient. 

2 comments:

  1. Looks yummy. Enjoyed the narrative at the begining;made me all nostalgic too :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. You guys should try this. I'm sure you will like it :)

    ReplyDelete

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