Since this post, I have become rather proficient at making not just ordinary curry puffs, but the swirling and visually arresting spiral curry puffs too. Why are these called spiral curry puffs? One look at the pastry and the answer is clear.
After tinkering with recipes for months, I have conquered the intricacies of the rather involved double dough pastry that is essential for the spiral effect. This is the same kind of pastry used to make tau sar piah (mung bean paste filled pastries).
While I may now have the double dough pastry snugly under my belt, I am still as defeated by the art of pastry fluting, as I always have been. I finally threw in the towel and decided to get this, two of them, to be exact...
My mum would certainly cringe if she saw them, but they're cheap, very cheery in red, efficient and most importantly, keep my blood pressure at a healthy level, when making curry puffs, which anyone who has attempted will know as a rather tedious undertaking. But, what mum doesn't know, won't hurt her. If any of you knows my mum, don't you dare tell her about this post!!!
I wanted to see how long it would take me to make a sizeable amount of these intricate puffs as I had been called upon to make some for a well, rather sizeable crowd. They do take time, even with curry puff moulds at hand, but making them gets much easier with practice and stunning results are a guarantee, so long as you stick religiously to the method pictured.
The Malay name for these, "karipap pusing" means turning or spinning curry puffs, though the word "pusing" can also mean dizzy, not altogether an inappropriate reference as I find staring long and hard at the spirals on the puff can actually make me feel disoriented!
I have taken photos at every step, except for the frying bit because I'm a one-woman-show, and don't have the luxury of an assistant. These puffs brown wickedly fast in the hot oil, even at moderate heat, so please, your full attention on them while they are sizzling in the oil. Had I stopped to take pictures, they would not be as perfectly golden as they look in these pictures.
I'm really happy with this recipe, which has been finely tuned through many attempts over several months, for my curry puff crazy family. I hope you will love these, as much as we do. Now, can SOMEBODY please show me how to flute a blasted curry puff edge, so it doesn't look like Freddy Kruger's or a preschooler's handiwork??!!?
Prep 2 1/2 hrs Cook 35 mins Makes about 20 puffs (using a 10 cm diameter mould)
2 onions, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 green chillies, coarsely chopped or sliced
500 g (1 lb) yellow potatoes (don't use Russets or other floury varieties) peeled and cubed
3 tbsp curry powder (I like Baba's or Adabi meat curry powder)
400 ml (2 cups) water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Heat 5 tablespoons vegetable oil then fry the onions and garlic until fragrant and translucent. Add green chillies and fry until limp.
Add the potatoes and stir for about 3 minutes then add the curry powder. Stir another 3 minutes or so, then add water, salt and sugar 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.
Turn off heat and let curry cool completely.
2/3 tsp salt
125 ml (2/3 cup) water
300 g (3 cups) plain flour
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Put salt and water in a mixing bowl and stir until salt dissolves.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix then knead to a smooth and pliable dough.
Divide dough into 2 equal balls and cover. Set aside while you prepare the oil dough.
150 g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
90 g (2/3 cup) cold, firm butter, cubed
Put flour into a mixing bowl and cut the butter in with a pastry cutter or blender until mixture is crumbly.
Work mixture with fingers into a soft and very slightly sticky dough. Shape into two equal balls and rest covered, in the fridge for 30 minutes.
1. Take each ball of oil dough and enclose completely in the balls of water dough. Pinch to seal securely.
2. Flatten ball and shape into a square. Roll out to a long rectangle as thin as possible, without tearing and gently pierce any air bubbles with the point of a small, sharp knife that arise.
3. Roll up the rectangle tightly like a Swiss roll, beginning at the short side nearest to you.
4. Give the roll a quarter turn so that the one coiled end is facing you. Flatten the roll with a rolling pin and roll out to a long rectangle, as thin as you can manage, without tearing the pastry.
5. Give the rectangle a quarter turn so the rectangle now has a landcape (horizontal orientation) and roll up again tightly like a Swiss roll. The seam should be down. Roll gently back and forth to secure the seam, ensuring you end with the seam down.
6. Using a very sharp knife, cut across the roll into 2 cm thick slices. You should end up with about 10 (at most 12) equal pieces. Cover pieces and set aside.
7. Repeat steps 2 - 6 with the other ball of double dough.
8. Turn each piece of dough cut side up so you can see the spiraling layers. Lightly dust work surface and dough with flour. Flatten each disc (still spiral side up) and roll out to a disc large enough to cover the inside of the curry puff mould.
9. Transfer dough to mould and fill centre with about 1 tablespoon of curry filling. Fold mould into two to seal the puff, pressing firmly on the edges to make a deep imprint on the pastry edge.
10. Gently release puff from mould. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling until all are filled.
11. Heat enough oil for deep frying until moderately hot. Fry 3 or 4 puffs at a time over moderate heat until golden. Remove from oil and drain on kitchen paper before serving.
Note : To get an even colour and distinct layering and puffing of the pastry, heat the oil until quite hot then lower heat to medium just before lowering in puffs.