Malaysian Curry Puffs

Monday, April 15, 2013

For some reason, unbeknownst to my present self, before the age of 9, I refused to eat Chinese food. So, whenever we visited Singapore or Malaysia, I would only eat food from Pizza Hut or McDonalds. This was a real tragedy, because now that I eat pretty much anything, I realize that I missed out on 9 whole years of the BEST FOOD EVER.

The one thing I would eat, however, was Won Ton Noodles. Gosh, I loved that stuff. And almost every day for the multiple weeks we were in Malaysia, my grandmother would go down to the hawker stall and bring me back a hot steaming bag of Won Ton Noodles with barbecue pork.

Speaking of my grandmother, check out this picture of my grandmother on our wedding day. Her cut-eye at HH is the best thing ever.

Anyways, sometimes, along with the noodles, my grandmother would bring back a small, clear, red plastic bag, full of curry puffs. And even for me, the picky one, they were amazing. The pastry would be light and flaky, and the insides full of warm curried potatoes and beef. We would sit around the table, and snack on those puffs until they were all gone.

You can't really find puffs like these in Canada. Sure, there's Chinese curry puffs that you can buy at some Chinese bakeries. But those are triangular in shape and have a different pastry texture. And there are samosas with curry filling. But a malaysian curry puff is like a marriage of the two and best when fresh or reheated warm out of the oven.

I've had a hankering for these for awhile, but always thought they would be too hard to make. And it's true, they do require a lot of work and time on your hands, but these little pillows of goodness are totally worth it! If you can do some of the prep work beforehand, it would take a lot less time to make.

First start by chopping up potatoes. Take a picture of your fast chopping skills. Then fry these babies up with a splash of sesame oil.  (You can use regular oil, but I love the smell and taste of toasted sesame oil).

While you're frying the potatoes, grab some shallots and chop em up. Do the same with the carrots and measure out the peas. Drop the peas and carrots into boiling water and cook em up till they're soft.

Put the fried potatoes aside and splash a little more oil into the wok. Start frying the shallots until they are nicely caramelized and then add in your curry paste. Malaysian curry paste has a distinct flavour, but if you're like me and don't have any on hand, any other curry paste will work. I used a mix of Glico Curry cubes and Thai Kitchen Red Curry paste. Fry until the colour of the paste has darkened and your house smells wonderfully fragrant.

At this point, add in your ground beef/chicken/turkey. I used ground turkey because it's healthier for you and has less fat (and...loblaws was out of ground beef..shhh), but if you want to be super legit, ground beef is where it's at. 

Cook up the ground meat and when it's cooked, throw in the potatoes, the carrots and the peas. Stir everything together and then pour in the coconut milk. Let it simmer for awhile and then take it off the heat. The mixture should thicken upon standing, but if your mixture looks too wet, add in a teaspoon of flour or cornstarch. 

In a mixing bowl, combine the ingredients of the water dough. Use your paddle attachment on medium speed for about 1 minute. Then switch to the dough hook, and take it out when it forms a ball. (You can also do all of this by hand.)

Put the dough on a floured surface and cover it with a tea towel. Let it rest for about ten minutes while you prep the butter dough.

Combine the ingredients for the butter dough and with a paddle attachment process it into pea sized crumblies, or use a pastry cutter to achieve these results.

Press the crumble together to form a rectangular block.

Roll out the water dough and then place the rectangular butter dough in the middle. It might not look super pretty, but just go with it!

Fold up all four sides of the water dough into the middle, like an envelope. A yummy buttery letter inside an envelope. Then flip it over and roll it into a larger rectangle.

Once you've rolled out the dough (sorry, I don't have a picture for that. Oops!), fold the top and bottom ends into the middle, and then fold that in two. Is that confusing? it should look something like this: 

Turn the dough 90 degrees counter clockwise, cover it, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.

Then, roll the dough out again into a rectangle, fold it into three parts, rotate 90 degrees counter clockwise, cover and let it rest for another 10 minutes. Watch Frasier because it's fun and witty.

Finally roll it out into a large rectangle. Or, if you're inept like me, something that doesn't even remotely look like a rectangle, but strangely looks a bit like Grimace, the purple monster. 90s children don't even get that reference.

Cut the dough into four and then start rolling each quarter up. Roll it tightly but don't overdo it!

Cut up the dough into little blocks. Each block should weigh no more than 20g.  

Then roll out these blocks into circles to make the puff wrappers. Each wrapper should be about 2mm thick, not less, or else you will have some meat explosions whilst filling! I speak from experience!

Gaze at your work with admiration and look at the little spiral pattern. You know it'll be some flaky goodness!

Now it's time to fill! Put a couple of spoonfuls of the curry-meat mixture in the center of the wrapper, and fold in half, so that it looks like a little moon. Make sure to press the edges together firmly. Then, it's time to start pleating. I didn't manage to take pictures of how to do this, but this youtube video should help you! 

Admire your handiwork and breathe a sigh of relief. Only 29 more puffs to go!

When you've finished pleating all of them, line them up on a foil pan, and line another baking tray with doubled up paper towels.

Heat up oil in a dutch oven or wok, and start frying for about 2.5 minutes per side. 

Take a picture of your HH being your sous-chef.

Get back to work fry up the rest, and then let them sit to cool for a bit. They will be VERY hot and very irresistible and sexy-like.

Then, enjoy your handiwork! Yum!

The Moose agrees.

Malaysian Curry Puff Recipe
(adapted from Indochine Kitchen)

makes ~ 30 curry puffs. This recipe is easily halve-able.

Water Dough
420g flour
120g salted butter
220 g ice water

Butter Dough
240g flour
150g butter

400g ground beef/chicken/turkey
600g potatoes, cubed and pan fried (approximately 6 medium sized potatoes)
5 shallots
100g peas
100g carrots
1 cup coconut milk
3 cubes of Glico curry and 1 teaspoon Thai Kitchen Curry Paste
salt to taste
flour or cornstarch
sesame oil for filling
canola oil for deep frying
To reheat, just stick in the oven at 375 degrees for about 8-10 minutes!


  1. that looks DELICIOUS!!

    my favourite part of all of this is that there is a full on BUTTER DOUGH!!! i feel happy about that.




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