Saturday, March 31, 2012

Baked Curry Puffs

Having made the fried version of these Malaysian curry puffs last month, I wondered how they would be baked rather than fried.  As I pointed out in the previous post on the fried curry puffs, the dough is the same as that used for flaky char siu pastries, which are baked.  I knew these could also be baked therefore, but I didn't know if they would retain the distinctive look of the spiral pastry that the fried version has. Unfortunately, the answer is no.  Although you can still discern the spiral pattern if you look carefully, it is much less pronounced than in the fried version.  The fried curry puffs are also more delicate than the baked version, with an incredible flakiness.  On the other hand, these may be slightly better for you (or not quite as bad for you), and you can bake the whole shebang at once, rather than hassling with heating up the oil to just the right temperature and frying several at a time.
If you are looking to impress for a special occasion, I'd definitely recommend the fried version.  If you want a delectable bite without too much work, try the baked puffs. 

Baked Curry Puffs

Flaky Pastry Dough

Water Dough
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting when rolling out
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 TBS vegetable shortening or lard
approximately 1/3 cup ice water

Combine flour with sugar. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles bread crumbs. Stir in ice water until the dough is moistened and just holds together when pressed. This may require a little more or a little less than 1/4 cup. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead just until the dough holds together as a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and then form the dough into a circular disk. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Short Dough
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup vegetable shortening or lard

Cut the shortening into the flour unit mixture resembles coarse meal. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and then shape the dough into a ball. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

After both doughs have been refrigerated at least an hour, unwrap the the water dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Unwrap the short dough and center it on top of the water dough. Fold the sides of the water dough over the short dough, with the edges overlapping slightly. Press the overlapping edges and both ends to seal in the short dough completely. Form into a rectangle and roll out to approximately 12 x 8 inches. Like folding a letter,  fold the dough in thirds.  Roll out again to a 12 x 8 inch rectangle and fold in thirds again.  Now roll out to a 12-inch square.  Tightly roll the square to form a cylinder with a diameter of about 1 1/2 inches.  Slice into 12 equal rounds.

Chicken Curry Filling

1 potato, peeled and cut into small dice
1 onion, peeled and cut into small dice
12 oz boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into small pieces
2 TBS Madras curry powder mixed with a little water to form a paste
salt, to taste
2--4 TBS coconut milk
2 TBS oil

In a bowl, stir the curry paste into the chicken, mixing well to distribute the curry paste evenly.

Heat a frying pan over medium high heat.  When the oil is hot,  fry the potato until browned on all sides.  Add onions and cook until softened.  Stir in the chicken and enough coconut milk to keep the curry moist but not wet and cook until the chicken is done, not more than five minutes.  Allow the curry to cool before filling the puffs.

Assembling the Curry Puffs

Press each round of dough flat, then roll them into circles with at least a 3 1/2-inch diameter.  Fill the circles with a generous tablespoon or so of filling, fold in half, and crimp the edges closed.  Place the filled pastries on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with egg wash.  Bake in a preheated 375º F oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack at least 5 minutes before eating.  May be served warm or at room temperature.

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