Malaysian Spiral Curry Puff

7:50 PM

As a food enthusiast, I love to explore a country through its cuisine. So every time we plan a travel I do extensive research on what to eat and where to eat. So my joy knew no bound when my husband took up a new job in Singapore.

Singapore can by no means be defined by its tiny size. Rather its the melting pot of various cultures with people coming from all over the World. But the four prominent culture that could be seen in its culture, food and art are the Chinese, Indian (Tamil), Malay and Peranakan or Baba Nyonya.

curry puff at East Coast Park, Singapore

Now this Peranakan cuisine was something that fascinated me. Largely peranakan people are the native-born descendants of the Chinese immigrants (who came to Malay Archipelago including British Malay that is Singapore and Malaysia) of mixed local and foreign ancestry. There are various Peranakan communities Depending on the ancestry, like PEranakan Indian, peranakan Dutch etc but the Chinese form the biggest and most important group of it all. Their women are called Nyonya and the men BAba, following which they are also known as Baba-nyonya. The resultant cuisine that has the mix of both Chinese and local ingredients, techniques and spices are known as Nyonya cuisine. This definitely is a mixed cuisine where Chinese noodles are simmered in a coconut milk broth or Chinese style simple marinated pickles are made spicier using various spices and herbs. 

All over Singapore in the Hawker centres, night markets and restaurants these Nyonya cuisine is very famous. And surprisingly this was the first dish that we tasted first in the city. While returning from the supermarket on the first evening we wanted some snacks and found a roadside vendor frying these Half moon shaped pastries, called curry puff, very similar to our Gujia or Pyaraki. But the layerings on them were beautiful, I knew from my Masterchef Australia watching experience that this spiral texture is a result of two doughs. We loved the spicy chicken and potato stuffed puffs. Later we tasted many varieties of it even in Malaysia but the layered ones had the best crunch and flavour.

So here is my recipe. Exactly the way I watched how the vendor skillfully made it in the Boon Keng HAwker centre. Yes, it's a little time consuming but if you make a big batch you can easily freeze them in ziplock bags for a couple of months. 

Chicken and potato Curry puff
(Makes 16 spiral puffs)

The oil dough:
Flour: 2/3 cup
Butter (at room temperature): 21/2 tbsp or 35 gms
Note: I used Amul butter hence no salt was used

The water dough:
All purpose Flour: 11/2 cup
Water as much required to make a tight dough.

The filling:
Chicken breast or thigh meat: chopped in 1/2" cube: 1 cup
Potato: cut in 1 cm cube: 2/3 cup (I used a big potato)
Onion: 1 large: chopped (approx. 1/2 cup)
Ginger -garlic paste: 1 tbsp
Chicken curry powder: 2 tsp (I used Everest brand)
Turmeirc: 1/2 tsp
Salt as per taste
Chili powder: 1 tsp or as per taste
Oil: 2 tbsp

White oil for deep frying

Peel and cut the potatoes in small cubes. Wash, drain and keep aside.
Wash and drain the cubed meats.
Add 2 tbsp water to the curry powder, turmeric and chili powder and make a paste. Keep aside.
Roughly chop the onion and roughly pound the ginger garlic.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and first fry the potatoes with a pinch of salt till golden. Take out.
In the same oil add the onion and saute for 3-4 minutes till the edges are golden, add ginger garlic paste and cook for 2-3 minutes till the raw smell is gone. Next add the curry paste. Cook on medium till you see oil separating at the sides (approx. 4-5 minutes).
Now add the chicken, salt and potatoes. Lot of water would come out of the chicken, so cook on medium till this dries up and oil starts to bubble up on the sides. Take out and let it cool down completely.

In the meantime, let us make the doughs.

Water dough:
Take the flour in a big bowl and start sprinkling water and knead. once the dough comes together knead it briefly to get a smooth dough. Rest the dough for 20 minutes.

Oil dough:
Take the flour in a big plate and rub the soft room temperature butter in it. It should be flaky in the beginning and then will come together. Make a smooth dough. Rest the dough for 20 minutes.

Making the shells:
Divide both the doughs in 4 equal parts.
Roll out each water dough to a small flat circle and place the oil dough in the centre and gather the edges to enclose it.

Now on a floured surface roll this out to a rectangle of roughly 8"X4".

Roll the dough from the larger side (8" side) like a swiss roll.

Now take the dough and again roll out on the longer side. (follow the picture).

Again roll from the small side and get a thick roll.

Divide the roll into 4 equal parts. Check the cut slices, admire the beautiful rolls in them.

Now flour your surface again and roll each spiral disk into a thin circle. Do not press too much while rolling out or the layers will be fused together.

Making the curry puff:

Once you have rolled one disc fill it with cooled chicken mixture in the centre and fold in half. Seal the edges and fold as shown in the picture or just decorate the edges with by pressing with a fork.

At this stage, you can freeze them by first freezing them for an hour in a single layer on a pan. Then place them in a ziplock bag for upto two months.

To fry heat enough oil on medium-low, and once the oil is hot, place a couple of the curry puffs in the oil and fry gently till they are golden on each side. 

Serve hot with sauce and some drinks of your choice.


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