Monday, October 4, 2010

Beef and Potato Curry Puffs

This is a breakfast or tea time favorite in Malaysia and some other South East Asian countries and is very similar to the samosas from the Indian region or empanadas of the Latin countries. It is believed that they were introduced to Malaysia in the 16th century by the Portuguese. These days you would be lucky to have any type of meat in the curry puffs (or karipap as they are called) that are sold by road side hawkers as they are usually made with a spicy potato and sweet potato filling; which are delicious all the same. This version is more similar to one my mother makes.

When we were younger we would wait eagerly for her to finish deep frying the curry puffs and as soon as they were out we would wait all of 10 seconds before picking up one, biting the two ends off and then blowing through one hole to send the steam out the other hole! We had to be careful not to have our fingers in the way though as the steam could really burn. On our recent trip to Malaysia my mother brought over some curry puffs, but luckily they were just warm and not piping hot otherwise I may have embarrassed myself in front of Keith doing the cooling down technique!

Curry puffs are usually deep fried but here I have adapted them so that they are encased in a short crust pastry and then baked. We had a friend drop by after I had made these and he wolfed down six although he had just had lunch so I guess they must have been good!

The curry is delicious served on rice or with an Indian bread like chapatti or naan and is very similar to Kheema curry. Just add a little more water so there is a sauce and half to one cup of frozen peas cooked for another two minutes before serving.

PS: I made this for Keith’s office baking contest just before Christmas and they won first prize!

Makes 32 curry puffs

Beef Curry Filling
2 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped or grated
2” ginger, finely chopped or grated
6 pips garlic, finely chopped or grated
6 – 7 curry leaves, finely sliced
1½ pounds minced beef
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
3 tbsp meat curry powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp beef stock granules
Salt to taste
½ cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Heat oil and cook onions until translucent, then add in ginger, garlic and curry leaves, cook another 1minute. Add in beef and cook until beef is browned.
  • Add in potatoes, curry powder, cinnamon powder, beef stock granules and salt to taste. Add in water, cover and cook for about 15 minutes until potatoes are cooked.
  • Add lemon juice, stir and leave to cool before filing pastry rounds.

4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 sticks (16 tbsp) butter/margarine/shortening
½ - ¾ cup cold water

  • Sprinkle salt onto flour, rub butter/margarine into flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Pour ½ cup cold water in the middle of the flour mixture and using a butter knife or pastry blender stir it in until a dough starts to form, adding more water if necessary. Don’t add too much water and don’t overwork the dough.
  • Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the dough and cut into 32 equal pieces, roll each piece into a 3” round.
  • Place about 2 teaspoons of filling in the center and crimp the edges.
  • Place on an un-greased cookie tray and brush with egg wash (1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp cream or 2 egg yolks)
  • Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 20 minutes.
  • Suitable to freeze. Re-heat directly from the freezer in a medium oven (350°F) for about 15 minutes.