I have been hankering for karipap (curry puffs) for days. To those who don’t know, karipap is a deep fried pastry with potato and chicken curry filling. It is normally eaten as a snack for morning coffee or afternoon tea. If you go to meetings with government agencies, karipap is almost always guaranteed to be served as snacks together with teh tarik. I guess you can call it a peasant dish because you rarely see karipap in this form sold in bakeries or coffee places, they usually sell the fancier baked puff pastry version or its mat saleh counterpart the Calzone.
There are all kinds of karipap and all kinds of fillings. Some people use sardines, some use a mix of potatoes and sweet potatoes (which I don’t like because I like my karipap savoury), some use beef instead of chicken, some put sliced boiled eggs in addition to the curry potato filling, some people make the pastry flaky, some people make it in layers (like a croissant almost) et cetera. Pretty much everything goes. The basic principle is the same – take pastry dough, put in filling, fry.
But it is tough to find karipap at 10am so today I decided to make my own.
I don’t cook or bake much (usually only on needs-be basis) but I could figure out more or less what I needed to do. Like I said, it’s a simple snack, don’t have to be Top Chef to crank out these babies.
For the filling I peeled 2 potatoes, cubed and then soaked them in cold water for a little bit. Then I boiled these with a few pieces of chicken (with the bones) til the potatoes are soft but still firm and crunchy to the bite. I drained these in cold water and let them sit.
To make the curry, I sauteed some diced shallots, plunked in the boiled chicken (which I shredded) and the chicken bones, added about 2 tablespoons of curry powder (which I mixed with a little water to make a paste) and when the the whole kitchen started to smell like curry, in went the potatoes, a little bit of salt, black pepper, parsley, basil and about a cup of water. I brought all these ingredient to a boil then left it on the stove over a small flame so that all the liquid was reduced and the potatoes became soft and mushy but still retained their cube shapes. Some people like their potatoes to be almost a mash in texture, I don’t. Once done I took this off the stove and put them in a bowl on the counter to cool off a bit, then I fished out all the chicken bones (I put them in earlier for flavour).
For the dough, I cubed some cold butter and then crumbled them with 2 cups of plain flour. Then I added one egg and water bit by bit to form a soft, buttery dough.
To assemble, I rolled out a small chunk of dough (the thinner the better), put the filling in the middle, added a slice of hard-boiled egg yolk and a little cream cheese, clipped the sides and then deep fried them til brown and crispy.
I made a dozen, I ate 6. I tried having one with Dijon mustard on the side and it was delicious! They are probably 5,000 calories each and I have to run many miles to burn these off but my cravings are satisfied and I don’t think I’d be making these again for a while. I guess if I want to make them less calorific next time, I can brush them with egg wash and then bake instead of deep-fry.
Anyway, if Ijah can, you also can so run along now and go make yours.