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.
WOW! Nice! Thanks for sharing. I love curry puffs. Now I have a better idea how its made.ReplyDelete
You're welcome :)Delete
*Looks up Denise's mum's contact info* ... kidding! ;)ReplyDelete
Where did you get that curry puff mold? I think that would be a perfect gift for Peter. I think there's no shame in using something like this to speed up the process -- more time for eating! And the results are beautiful :)
Hi Jessie, the mould is pretty common around here. I got it from a sundry shop in my neighbourhood and it's just a dollar a piece. Best kitchen investment I ever made ;)Delete
Oh wow. That's craftsmanship right there! They look amazing! And delicious, if I may say so. Keep up the good work :)ReplyDelete
Hi Tora, thank you. It's also actually a pretty fun kitchen project. And seeing the layers puff up when you fry them is quite thrilling...Delete
First time seeing a curry puff mould! Ingenious!ReplyDelete
So Yummy.. This is in my son wish list for long time..ReplyDelete
I have always wondered how one gets this spiral shape, thankyou for showing how it is done, and i am inlove with these puffs they just look so so beautiful and deliciousReplyDelete
Hi Finla thanks for your lovely comment. I hope you try making these - it really is quite fun if you don't have to make too many, of course :)Delete
I will definitely try this. Have also wondered how it is done. Do you a recipe for the normal curry puff? I also had some doubts to clear on your sugee cake. Would be grateful for your help. ThanksReplyDelete
Hi Veronica, thanks for leaving your comment :) Sorry I missed your question on the sugee cake post.ReplyDelete
In a nutshell, I usually reduce the sugar in all my cake recipes, as I don't like them too sweet. In fact, my husband thinks my sugee cake is not sweet enough as he has an incredibly sweet tooth. As you are an experienced baker, I am sure you know that baking unlike cooking is quite an exact process, one could say, a science. So adjusting the recipe in any way will definitely effect the outcome, and not always for the better. Hence, before you adjust the recipe in any way I would advise you to try it as it is first, then decide if you want to change anything.
I have a recipe for a fried sardine curry puff using normal pastry here
Wahhhhhh!!! So that's how the karipap looks pusing pusing ..... aisheh! I want!!! Can you fedex me these ? They look amazing!! Will attempt one day. Bookmarked. ;)ReplyDelete
Hey Jackie :) Yup, that's how it goes. Senang kan? Tell me how it turns out ok?Delete
Great pictorial. Thanks for sharing. I will have to try making some curry puffs soon.ReplyDelete
Thanks :) It was quite fun making these. Hope you try them too!Delete
I love these spiral curry puffs and it brings back great memories. It was my Grandma's specialty and we used to make them by the hundreds for the huge extended family. I had a lot of practice with the fluting :) The last time I made some was some years back and it is not easy for a one-man show. I have seen those molds but never bought one. I should have as it would definitely speed up the process. Perhaps the next time I visit, we should have a curry puff making and eating session ;)ReplyDelete
Hi Biren - we SHOULD do this together. Maybe you can teach me how to take these in hand. I still really feel intimidated by them, after all this time. I am happy though with my little red 'castanets' LOL Real life and sanity savers for the fluting impaired ;) Btw, the pastry itself is super tasty and so crunchy! I gathered up the trimmings and fried those and they were gone in seconds!!!Delete
Wow! These are beautiful, Denise. Picture perfect :-D One of my favourite snacks. I was wondering if we could bake them instead of deep frying? Not sure if we will get that flaky finish if baked. I would think so, but the taste would be slightly different, I guess. YUM YUM!ReplyDelete
Thanks Dora! I always feel like a pig after making these cos I can't stop until I have at least 5 or 6 in my belly *sigh* What to do? Karipap is really SO sedap. Tak boleh tahan! As for baking these, sadly it doesnt work well. The pastry doesnt really crisp or flake into layers for that matter. Frying really is the way to go, for these.Delete
These are just beautiful Denise and u should absolutely show these to your Mum - she'd be so proud! If I made these I'd be shouting from the rooftops. Flaky & gorgeous!ReplyDelete
chow :) Devaki @ weavethousandflavors
Hi Devaki, LOLOL my mum bought a couple of these when I was a child - bright orange they were, I still remember. She only relented because I was fascinated by them but never used them herself. She's the resident expert at pinching and fluting pastry edges. She left them in the cupboard until they were cracked and splintered from the tropical heat and humidity. Thanks for your lovely comment. You should try making these - something tells me you're no stranger to the fine art of pastry work...Delete
Very nice, almost too pretty to eat! I have one of those handy tools...I need to use it more after seeing this!ReplyDelete
Thank you Lyndsey. Unfortunately for these pretty puffs, they taste even better than they look, so they never last long on the plate :D I hope you do try making them, and enjoy the results.Delete
Awesome! it looks like a store bought dish. I am loving the step-by-step pictures which makes it easy for us to follow. Can I make it in advance and then re-heat the following day? I need to bring something for Thanksgiving potluck at work. I will mail you to ask more details.ReplyDelete
Thanks Vijitha. You can make them ahead and chill, unfried and covered in the fridge for about 2 - 3 days. You could also fry, keep. then reheat before serving, but they really do taste best fried just before being eaten. I look forward to hearing from you soon :)Delete
Truly fascinating, thank you very much for sharing all this knowlegde !ReplyDelete
Hi Mathilda, thank you and you're very welcome :)Delete
These look lovely: I've seen spiral pastry before but didn't have any idea how to make it, but thanks to you I do now!ReplyDelete
The press you used looks very similar to a gyoza press, which means another excuse for me to buy some :)
Oooh - very pretty. Obviously far too much work for a lazy bones like me, but I wouldn't mind at all if you made these the day I happen to pop in and stuff my face - er, I mean say hello!ReplyDelete
Oh wow..what a great snack! Loving this idea and I have actually mold and never even opened it..got to put it in a good use!ReplyDelete
I tried it! didn't turn out as pretty as yours, but it tasted real good! thanks!ReplyDelete
Hi yianling. Glad you were happy with the taste :)Delete
With practice, your puffs will be beautiful. Thanks for taking time to give your feedback .
i was craving for curry puffs, and found your blog.
Tried making them immediately...but one question....how do you make the oil dough come together? I used the cold butter and flour, but they are so dry they wouldn't stick together. I zapped it in the microwave to warm it up a bit, hoping to melt the butter a little so the dough would stick....Does that defeat the purpose of using cold butter? It's sitting in the fridge now. Fingers crossed!
Hi Sin Yee. I doubt the microwaved dough is still usable but once its cool try working it together again with a little more butter kneaded in and keepDelete
adding butter bit by bit till it comes together. You will probably have to make a new batch of oil dough. Its best you weigh out the flour and butter rather than use cup measurements as i suspect your flour and butter ratios may be off due to packing the flour down into the cup. Hence the dryness of the dough. I had no problem with the dough but its also possible youre using a higher protein flour like bread flour, by mistake or unknowingly. In any case just rub in extra butter in increments of half to one teaspoon until the dough gels. Hope this helps :)
Thanks for your reply, Denise. My mistake was to use the dry oil dough and had it wrapped up with the water dough. There was no going back once I did that. The spirals just fell apart...I will have to gather up courage and more energy to try this spiral puff again, using your above tips.Delete
It's winter here, and wonder if the colder temp had anything to do with the dryness of the dough? I did put everything into the food pro to whizz up, hoping it would come together as a dough. Another mistake? Thanks again anyway.
Hi Denise, may I know if I can oven-bake the puff following your recipe instead of frying them? I know frying them will definitely taste better but will have some health-conscious friends coming over you see. ;)ReplyDelete
I tried both. Frying was a bit of a mess. Lots of flour residue turning the oil black after only frying 5 of them. So I baked a couple to see how it works. Nearly at the end of baking I brushed over some oil on them. My son tells me they taste great baked. I sadly can't taste them as I have gluten intolerance.Delete
what amazing pict of karipap. actually i made this karipap pusing 3 days ago,but i think we have different way in point no 5, i didn't roll it horizontally, i rolled vertically just like the first one. i don't know if that can make difference. You can see my karipap in http://lovelyharuna.blogspot.com/2013/12/spiral-curry-puff-karipap-pusing-dengan.htmlReplyDelete
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