Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Curry Puffs

These puffs are great with salad and chutney.

The filling is sweet. aromatic, pungent, hot and sour.
I've long been intrigued by my Anglo-Indian heritage on the maternal side of the family; I grew up with dishes like curry puffs, peas pulau, green curries with vinegar sprinkled on top, mulligatawny soup and wicked hot Major Grey's- style chutneys going hand in hand with the comparatively plain English fare. This post is dedicated to my late grandmother: for it was at Granny's house where I would be given curry puffs from time to time, along with hot pickles and chutneys. She would make curry puffs from leftover curries, but I think they are good enough to warrant their own recipe- vegan-ised, of course. I don't know if the addition of apples and raisins to curry is typically Anglo-Indian, or just an idiosyncracy of Granny's, based on what was available in 30s and 40s rural England, which is when she would have been catering for her large family, having had to learn the art of cookery pretty quickly after the 1935 earthquake in Sind forced them to build a new life in the UK without any of the luxuries they had previously enjoyed.
I need to point out here that this was my first attempt at home made vegan puff pastry, and although the result was certainly edible, it wasn't quite as light and puffy as I had hoped. If you want really puffy pastry, then get ready-made- Jus Rol is vegan, although the quality of the fat used is most probably not great. The filling, however, came out tasting just right- so you might want to stick with the filling recipe and use bought pastry. This recipe makes about 8 (roughly the size of a samosa), with some filling left over.
Filling:
50g (dry weight) soya chunks, soaked until soft and cut into smaller pieces
300g vegetables, shredded or diced (I used cabbage, potato and peas)
2 tabs raisins
1/2 a dessert apple, diced
2 tabs cold pressed rapeseed (canola) oil
2 1/2 tabs Madras curry powder
1/2 tsp compound hing
1 1/2 -2 tsps seasalt
2 level tsps turmeric (haldi)
100ml water
1-2 tabs lemon juice

  • Saute the vegetables in the canola oil until starting to soften.
  • Add the soya chunks, curry powder, hing and turmeric.
  • Add the apple, raisins and water (if needed).
  • Simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the vegetables are soft.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and set aside to cool.
Pastry:
Dough-       200g medium atta (chapatti flour, a fine brown, strong flour with the wheatgerm and some of the 
                   bran removed)                       
                   425g white bread flour
                   100g vegan unhydrogenated margarine
                   250ml cold water
Shortening-  50g coconut oil, broken into small pieces
                   50g vegan margarine 
                   2/4 of a cup (1 cup = 250ml) white bread flour
  • Make up the dough ingredients as you would for making shortcrust pastry and leave to stand.
  • Make the shortening in your food processor: blend the coconut oil and margarine together, then add the flour. It will be hard to handle (I need to up the proportion of coconut oil next time I think).
  • Roll out the dough into a square, 1cm thick or less. Roll it out between sheets of greaseproof paper.
  • Here's where it begins to get messy: Pat the shortening into a square on top of the dough, so that the corners of the shortening are lined up with the sides of the dough rather than as 1 square exactly on top of another. 
  • Fold the corners of the dough into the centre and roll again to flatten further.
  • Now roll the whole thing up and flatten it, rolling out into a thin rectangle about 1/2 cm thick. (Some shortening may squidge out at the sides- don't panic, just leave it there!)
  • Use a round cutter/ lid to make circles of pastry. Put a blob of filling on one, then cover with another, sealing the edges tightly together with water. You may find that it is easier to do this last bit with the base circle already on the baking sheet.  Finally, make two slits in the centre of each puff, to release the steam and keep them crisp. Note: Those puffs you make from re-rolling the pastry will be technically rough puff pastry, as the layers will have been disturbed.
  • Place the puffs on an oiled baking sheet and cook in an oven preheated to 200C for about 25 minutes, until crisp and starting to brown.
  • The unique flavour of the filling is best enjoyed with a tamarind (imli)- based dipping sauce/ chutney. They make a great lunch served with a green salad.      

















6 comments:

  1. this looks delicious. i am following you. hope you will follow me back.

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  2. loved the vegan puff pastry. yummy filling. nice one

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  3. Thanks for your positive comments guys! The pastry really needs more development to be truly puffy: butI'll crack it eventually, and when I do, you'll be the first to know :)

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  4. As long as filling is yummy I don't care for outside. Looks yummy.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. you're very kind :) Yes, the filling tastes great! Outside is okay too, just not very puffy...

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