Vegetarian curry puffs

Curry puffs were a staple tea-time snack when I was a kid.  I’ve only ever made them once, a few years ago, for a picnic on Primrose Hill.  The pastry wasn’t right and the filling lacked flavour.   I recently bought a curry puff crimper on ebay and when it arrived in the post last week, I knew I had to give it another go.  I found several recipes online, and also in my trusty Bill Granger’s Everyday Asian cookbook.    There was a common theme.  Make the filling using chicken/beef/potatoes, make your own pastry or use store-bought puff pastry.  Fry or bake.  I decided to make my own pastry, stick to a vegetarian filling and shallow fry the curry puffs before baking them in the oven.   Absolutely yummy, no dipping sauces required.  I used half the pastry and froze the remainder.  More for next weekend!

Ingredients: (makes approx 12 curry puffs)

A) Pastry:

  • 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 150g cold salted butter, diced
  • 1/4 cup cold water

B) Filling

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus 100ml for frying
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1.5 inch ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • a handful of curry leaves
  • 300g Jersey potatoes, peeled, par-boiled and diced
  • 1.5 tbsp curry powder
  • 1.5 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 tbsp frozen peas
  • 1 to 2 tbsp dark soy
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a handful of chopped coriander

Method:

  1. To make the pastry, mix flour and butter in a large bowl.  Use your fingers to quickly form breadcrumbs (or pulse in a food processor instead)
  2. Slowly add some of the water to the bowl.  Lightly mix the flour to form a dough (you may or may not need to use all the water)
  3. Tip the dough onto a clean work surface and shape into a disc
  4. Wrap in cling film and leave the pastry to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes while you get started on the filling
  5. To make the filling, heat 1 tbsp oil in a pot and fry the onions for 2 minutes over low heat until fragrant
  6. Add the garlic, ginger, mustard seeds and curry leaves and fry for 30 seconds
  7. Add the potatoes to the pot, followed by the curry and chilli powder.  Give the wok a good stir until the spices coat the potatoes (about a minute)
  8. Pour in the water, and leave to cook over low heat for 25 minutes until the water has evaporated
  9. Add the frozen peas to the pot, season with soy, brown sugar, salt and pepper.  Finish off with freshly chopped coriander.  Leave to cook for 3 to 4 minutes
  10. Switch off the heat and leave the potato filling to cool down completely
  11. Once the filling has cooled down, take the pastry out of the fridge
  12. Remove the cling film, dust the counter top with flour and roll out the pastry until it is 2 mm thick
  13. Using a 2.5″ pastry cutter, cut out circles and place 1 tbsp filling in the centre of each circle.  Lift one end of the pastry and fold over to the opposite end to form a half-moon.  Press down te edges until completely sealed to avoid leakage.  Crimp the edges using your fingers, or press down with  fork.  Or use a curry puff crimper if you happen to have one
  14. Heat 100ml oil in a wok and pre heat the oven at 180 degrees
  15. When the oil is hot, fry the curry puffs for 3 for minutes on each side until golden.  Fry two to three at a time
  16. Once golden, remove the puffs from the wok using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper
  17. Then place the curry puffs on a foil-lined baking try
  18. Bake in the oven for about 5 minutes until crisp
  19. Remove the tray from the oven and leave to cool slightly before placing the curry puffs on a cooling rack
  20. Best eaten warm!

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