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flaky malaysian curry puff pastry

November 30, 2010

A moment of silence for the kitchen that was, if you please.

For it (with its high bench tops, wooden cabinet doors and worn linoleum flooring) is no more.

We’re most of the way through the process of installing a replacement. “Most of the way” being my best estimate of its actual progress, seeing as the tricky stuff has all come to ahead and there does not appear to be much to show for a day’s work anymore.

So covered in a layer of fine dust are we.

curry puff pastry

Before this, though, came the perfect excuse to do some deep-frying.

“It’s all going to be thrown away!” declared mum, sweeping her arms grandly. “We can deep fry! We can make roast pork in the oven! We don’t even have to clean the oven afterwards!”

(All conjecture, of course, seeing as the cupboards, oven and stove-top were subsequently sold on eBay and had to be scrubbed before their pick-up).

“We can,” she said, pausing for effect “make curry puffs.”

The Bean & I looked at each other, then back at mum.

“The proper curry puff pastry, right?” said the Bean.

“With the layered pastry that we deep fry?” asked I, keeping hopes muted.

“Of course!” said mum, triumphantly. “Let me go find the recipe. It’s here somewhere…”

curry puff pastry

curry puff pastry

The last time we’d made curry puffs in this fashion was over six years ago, in the dinky kitchen of a holiday house down the coast on a family trip. We’d rolled and pleated whilst laughing and listening to tales of years gone by.

A pot was procured, along with a large bottle of oil.

We ate them hot out of the pan, coughing on the shock of hot fat and the flaky pastry that flew off in every direction as we bit into the steaming puffs. We made dozens upon dozens to pack up and freeze on our return home. We mentioned them wistfully, from time to time, when their lesser puff-pastry-clad cousins were presented at a pot-luck gathering.

But the “no deep frying!” rule had been enforced stoically, and our puffs had been bought from others.

Not on this day, though.

We divvied up the dough and rolled it out to expose coloured concentric circles.

“Not too thin! It makes it hard to fold.”

We scooped a spoonful of mixture into the centre.

“Not too much! The dough will break!”

We dampened the edges, pressed and crimped.

I was so proud of my foray into my Malaysian culinary heritage until…

“Cheh,” said the Bean to me “yours are really ugly.”

“Cheh,” said mum “I think you need to try again.”

And so I won’t show you how to pleat the pastry the traditional way, because my fat, uncoordinated fingers wouldn’t do the process justice. I will, however, tell you how to make this pastry for you to fill with whatever you desire.


flaky malaysian curry puffs
Cuisine: Malaysian
 
Ingredients
for the "water dough"
  • 360g plain flour
  • 150g cake flour
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 150g butter (softened, cubed)
  • 200ml water
for the "butter dough"
  • 250g cake flour
  • 150g butter
How to make it
  1. Starting with the "water dough", place the two flours, sugar, salt and butter into a food processor and whizz to combine. Alternatively, sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the water a bit at a time, until you have a soft dough. The dough should not be sticky, so add just enough to have it come together and then knead the dough until it is smooth. Wrap in cling film & place in the fridge to chill out.
  3. To make the butter dough, rub the butter into the flour until a uniform, yellow dough is formed. It is important for the next step that the butter dough and the water dough have about the same consistency, so chill this dough slightly too if it is starting to feel too sticky and soft.
    To make the butter dough
  4. Roll the water dough out into a large rectangle. Flour the top of the water dough generously. Flatten the butter dough out as best you can and press it into the water dough so that it covers half of the rectangle (see picture).
  5. Flour generously again and fold over the bottom half of the water dough to completely enclose the butter dough.

    fold over the bottom half of the water dough
  6. Roll the dough out until it has formed a rectangle of the same size as the original water dough rectangle. Flour, fold into thirds and repeat. (The dough may get a little tough to roll out. If it does, leave it to chill out in the fridge for a bit and try again later.)

    Roll the dough out
  7. Now roll the dough out to a long rectangle of about 30cm width and 5mm thickness. Flour generously and roll the dough up into a long log. Work the cylinder with your hands so that the seam is incorporated into the dough. Cut slices from your dough log and roll them out into circles. You will see the two doughs layering!

    Cut slices from your dough log and roll them out into circles
  8. Fill with a dessertspoonful of filling, use water to seal the edge and pleat in your own style.

    use water to seal the edge and pleat in your own style
  9. Deep fry in batches until the pastry is golden and puffed up.


  • #1
    November 30th, 2010

    The no deep-frying rule in my household is self-imposed. And not because of the cleaning aftermath – I don’t do the kitchen cleaning – but because of fear of hot oil and things catching on fire =p

  • #2
    November 30th, 2010

    Those curry puffs look nice! Yum! I know what it’s like. Just before we upgrade our kitchen equipment we always have this urge to send the old one with a bang! Curry Puffs are always nice. It’s a great way to use up left over stew or something.

  • #3
    November 30th, 2010

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  • #4
    December 1st, 2010

    hehe im with rita on the self imposed no deepfrying rule! im sad tho cos i totes want curry puffs now!

  • #5
    December 1st, 2010

    Wow, those look fantastic. I wish I could reach into the screen and grab one; your photo is so inviting! But I’m really curious as to what the “curry” filling is exactly.

  • December 1st, 2010

    The curry filling is a mixture of boiled cubed potatoes, shredded chicken, curry powder, oyster sauce and salt. Fairly unremarkable but my family like it. Problem was that it was near impossible for me to jot down a recipe as my mother’s hands flew like the wind!

  • #6
    December 1st, 2010

    Yummmmm, gotta love the real flaky deep-fried pastry. I agree with the others, I never deep-fry cos of the mess but after having curry puffs in malaysia you realise how much better the deep-fried ones are!!

  • #7
    December 1st, 2010

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  • #8
    December 2nd, 2010

    I do deep fry, but only every blue moon.

    Those curry puffs look so delicious

  • #9
    December 2nd, 2010

    The puffs look delicious. First time to this beautiful place, hope to come here more often for these lovely treats. Best wishes.

  • #10
    December 2nd, 2010

    Wow! They look delicious! But, what’s cake flour?

  • December 2nd, 2010

    Hi Tina! Cake flour is made from a different wheat variety that means it has a much lower amount of gluten and protein. It helps to make the dough less elastic and more flaky. I bought a box labelled “pastry and cake flour” from my local supermarket. I’ve read that you can substitute normal flour, but subtract 2tbsp of flour per cup for similar results.

  • #11
    December 5th, 2010

    I might just use this kind of pastry for some future projects! It looks rather marvelous.

  • #12
    December 6th, 2010

    Oooo they look sooo yummy!! … aww damn!! i wish i had christened my kitchen in the same way… although my old kitchen is bein reused for another property.. so i dont think mum would appreciate it if i had gone nuts on the old kitchen hehehee

  • #13
    December 10th, 2010

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  • #14
    ann
    December 19th, 2010

    Hi Tina
    I am also malaysian and having been searching for flaky curry pastry recipe. Thank you for sharing. I have a question regarding freezing the puffs. Do you freeze them already deep fried or freeze them unfired?
    Thank you

  • December 19th, 2010

    Hi Ann, I fry them then freeze them after they have fully cooled. To reheat, I just microwave them and then put them in the griller until they are crisp again.

  • #15
    February 24th, 2012

    […] did bookmark Shez’s recipe for Malaysian curry puffs last year, but I’ve still yet to make these! Who wants to make me a […]

  • #16
    jeffrey
    March 30th, 2012

    terrible…does not say the quantity for amount of ingredients! you should read other sires to improve

  • March 30th, 2012

    Hi Jeffrey,

    The reason there are no quantities is because different people prefer to make their curry puffs different sizes. The size will also depend on what kind of filling you wish to put inside and how much filling is put inside. If you were curious about how many I made, I can tell you that there were about 40 chicken and potato filled puffs each measuring about 12cm along the base.

    Shez

  • #17
    Kit
    July 30th, 2012

    Can these be baked? I now live in HK and in a typical shoebox flat where any deep frying will be regretted for a long time to come … tried a few other receipes but the spirals just won’t come out nicely.

    Many thanks

  • July 30th, 2012

    Hi Kit!

    I haven’t tried to bake these before (and typically only make curry puffs when I have access to a well ventilated, or soon to be demolished, kitchen) but it may work? If you do try baking them, I’d suggest spraying the outsides with a little bit of oil before putting them in the oven.

    Please let me know how you go!

    Shez

  • #18
    August 20th, 2013

    […] did bookmark Shez’s recipe for Malaysian curry puffs last year, but I’ve still yet to make these! Who wants to make me a […]

  • #19
    Laura
    March 13th, 2014

    Hello from DC! I love these curry puffs and I’ve only been to two places that sell these. They are very hard to come by. Do you have a filling recipe? Thank you!

Shez