Monday, December 19, 2011

Easy Curry Puffs

Over the holidays’ season, you might have guests over for a drink or two – these curry puffs will be an ideal finger-food. They are easy to make – you can prepare them in advance and freeze them. And left- over turkey from your Christmas table will also make a good filling too. 

My beloved youngest paternal aunt whom I call Ah Tu (Ah is Aunt in Thai) taught me how to make curry puffs from scratch when I was young and they have become one of my signature dishes when we entertain. However, when I cook for the crowd, making the pastry dough from scratch is not practical so I have to find a shortcut so I use ready rolled frozen puff pastry instead. In many Thai restaurants, they use short crust pastry and deep fry the puffs but they can be a little bit oily and not so morish.  My curry puffs are baked - so you can always have one or two pieces more.

Curry puffs are a common snack not only in Thailand but also in Malaysia and Indonesia, with variations of course and the fillings can be either sweet or savoury. 

2 sheets puff pastry (about 23 x 23), thawed
200 grams beef mince (you can use cubed skinless chicken– but they won’t keep as long as beef filling – if you have turkey meat left over, you can use it too)
1 medium potato, cubed
1 small onion, chopped
1 ½ teaspoons curry powder, less if it is a hot variety
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon salt (I use stock powder in mine and just a little bit of salt)
1 ½ cups water
Loads of ground white pepper
1 egg lightly beaten to wash

Fry onion in a little bit of oil until soft, add the meat and cook for a few minutes until it turns brown. Add potato, curry powder, sugar, soy sauce, salt and half of the water. Bring to the boil and reduce heat, simmer and add more water until the potato is cooked and soft.  Add pepper when all water is absorbed. Taste it and add more seasoning if needed – it should taste salty and piquant. Make sure that the filling does not have excess water. Set aside to cool completely – actually, it will be a lot easier to handle if it has sit in the fridge for a few hours.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c. Cut the pastry sheet into 9 squares. Place the filling in the middle of each square and fold into triangle. Brush the edge with water and seal. I crimp them by hand but you can also use fork. Place the parcels on lined baking tray – brush them with egg wash and bake for 20 -25 minutes until golden brown.

This portion will make 18 parcels.

My aunt would have hers with cucumber relish – see Vietnamese Crepes – which is a very traditional way when you sit down for proper afternoon snack (similar to afternoon tea). It makes sense to me since in the original recipe the puffs would be deep fried, so you need some relish to go with them.

Note: If you use cooked turkey meat, add the meat after potato is cooked.

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