Here’s a hack of an Indian snack, the curry puff. I learned it during my grad student days in Austin from another grad student whose aunt knew the shortcuts that kept our tummies happy even if our hearts longed for home.
When I was growing up in Secunderabad, we got curry puffs from city bakeries. Blatantly buttery layers of pastry held assertively seasoned dry vegetable curries made of potatoes, green beans, peas and carrots.
My attempt at a potato version:
Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets (pkg contains 2 sheets)
Russet potatoes, 3 medium to large
Olive oil, 3 tablespoons
Medium onion, chopped
Grated ginger, 2 tablespoons
3 green chillies, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 key lime
Chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons
Turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon, heaped
Sea salt, 1.5 teaspoons or to taste
Black (rock) salt, 1/2 teaspoon (ask for kala namak at the Indian store)
Garam masala, 1 teaspoon
Can make ahead
- Boil potatoes until tender, but not to mash state. Cool, peel, coarse-dice.
- Heat oil in pan. When nice and hot, add green chillies, chopped onion, grated ginger, minced garlic, and turmeric. Saute till onions are translucent and raw garlic smell goes away.
- Add potatoes and sea salt. Mix it all together and cook until heated through. You’re aiming for a mass that holds together but isn’t wet.
- Add garam masala and cook on low to medium heat for a couple minutes.
- Remove from heat. Add rock salt, lime juice and cilantro. Stir to combine.
- Allow filling to cool to at least room temperature before assembling curry puffs.
Depending on the size of the potatoes, you might end up with more filling than you’ll need for two pastry sheets’ worth of puffs, but the leftovers are good with rotis, in sandwiches, or even as dosa stuffing!
- Follow package directions to thaw pastry.
- Each sheet has three panels. Make cuts to separate the panels and divide each panel into thirds. You’ll have 9 squares per sheet. So the 2 sheets make 18 puffs.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Gently roll out a single pastry square on a floured surface so it becomes more of a rectangle.
- Place a heaped tablespoon of filling on the rectangle. Fold over and press edges together to seal. Optional: press down sealed edges with fork tines.
- Repeat for the remaining 17 squares. Place puffs on lightly greased baking trays.
- Bake 15 to 20 minutes until puffs are golden-brown. I had to go longer than the 15 minutes suggested on the package, more like 20 min.
- Remove trays from oven and allow puffs to cool slightly.
Serve with Maggi Hot and Sweet Tomato Chilli Sauce and steaming mugs of ginger chai!
If you don’t have black (rock) salt, sub with sea salt or table salt.
For the filling, use any dry curry or one of the samosa fillings found here.
Brush puffs with an egg wash before baking for a beautiful golden sheen.