I have very fond memories of curry puffs. My first husband’s parents were from Malaysia and his mother was the best cook I have ever known. She made curry puffs – about 100 each time – and kept them in the freezer for snacking on.
Heated, they are delicious, of a monsoon-y afternoon with a cup of Earl Grey tea, but equally delicious on their own in a lunchbox. I made some this weekend for my girls to have as after-school snacks. It was a great way to use up some of the potatoes I got in Aldi for 39c per kilo!
Those of you familiar with this Asian delight, will notice that my recipe strays slightly from the curry puffs you’d get in Singapore or Malaysia; I have baked, rather than fried them, and I have omitted the boiled egg. My Kashmira won’t eat boiled eggs, so there was no point in including them.
I made two lots of puffs – one used homemade shortcrust pastry, the other used shop-bought puff pastry (a 375g sheet of pastry, costing €1.29 gave me 10 puffs – more expensive than homemade, for sure, but cheaper than a shop-bought snack and a much quicker option).
Shortcrust pastry is not difficult to make as long as you remember that the best results occur when you use everything as cold as possible (ice the water, put the knife in the fridge to cool it for about an hour before using it, and use butter that hasn’t been out of the fridge for more than 15 minutes). After that, the basic recipe is 2:1 flour:butter and enough water to pull it all together. I use butter rather than margarine because I think it’s healthier and also it’s more flavourful.
To make enough pastry for about 20 curry puffs and an apple tart, use 500g of plain flour, a pinch of salt, 250g of butter and about 250mls of chilled water. Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl. Cut the butter with a cold knife into small cubes. With clean hands (rinse them in cold water) rub the fat into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. This is probably the hardest part of pastry-making; you want to rub the fat in to make a fine enough mixture, but at the same time, you don’t want to overwork the mixture so the heat of your hands melts the butter. Make a well in the centre of the mixture (just push it out from the middle of the mixture towards the sides of the bowls until you have a hole in the centre). Pour the water in, a little at a time, stirring after each addition. You may not need all the water – it depends on the brand of flour you’re using, which is why I’m advising caution when adding the liquid.
Once you have a smooth ball of dough (you can use your chilled knife or your chilled hands to bring it all together), you’re done. Cover the bowl with a clean tea-towel and put it in the fridge to relax for half an hour before using.
Your choice of pastry -either shortcrust or puff
500g of Potatoes
125g of Frozen Peas
2 Tablespoons of Curry Powder
25g of Garlic Cloves
25g of Fresh Ginger
3 Long, Whole, Fresh Green Chillies
7 Stalks of Fresh Corinader (Leaves only)
1 Tablespoon of Oil for Frying
Clean, but don’t peel your potatoes and then cut them into small pieces. I got between 16 and 22 pieces per baby potato.
Peel and finely chop the onion.
Bash the garlic and ginger together to make a paste.
Chop the chillies – I use a kitchen scissors because it’s easier.
Put the potatoes in a saucepan and add just enough cold water to cover them.
Bring to the boil.
Turn the heat down and simmer the spuds for about five minutes.
Heat the oil over a medium heat and add the onion.
Saute for a few minutes, until the onion starts to soften.
Turn the heat down to medium.
Add the ginger garlic paste, the chillies and the curry powder and continue to cook, for about five more minutes.
Add the potatoes and peas and stir to coat the lot with spices.
Turn the heat down low and cover the pan.
Leave to cook for a further ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
Scatter the coriander leaves in and stir to mix thoroughly.
If using your own pastry, roll it out to about 3mm thickness.
The puff pastry is pre-rolled, so just unfurl it gently and lay it out on a flat, clean, floured surface.
Cut the pastry unto rounds using a cutter about the size of the mouth of a pint glass.
Put a tablespoon of the potato mix in the centre of each pastry round and draw the sides up around the mix until you have half-moon-shaped parcels.
Lightly oil a few ovenproof dishes/baking tins/roasting tins.
Cook the curry puffs in an oven pre-heated to 180 for 325-30 minutes, until golden.