Showing posts with label potato curry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label potato curry. Show all posts

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cheater Curry Puffs

Weekends are funny things.  Until I moved to Abu Dhabi, back in 1987, to me weekends were undeniably Saturday and Sunday.  And Friday night was a great night to go out because you had two days of lounging around recovering before school or work began again on Monday.  I was surprised to learn that weekends were Thursday afternoon and all day Friday in the United Arab Emirates.  It’s not like I had led a sheltered life, and I had even lived in a Muslim majority nation before (Indonesia) but it had just never occurred to me that weekends might mean other days of the week to someone else around the world.   Years later, when I moved to Malaysia, I discovered that there many people also worked five and a half days a week, but their weekend was Saturday afternoon and Sunday.  Even my cleaning lady came in on Saturday mornings.  And she would bring me fried potato curry puffs.  With their tender flakey crust and spicy potato filling, boy, howdy, they were tasty!

After making and eating potato curry the other evening, the thought suddenly jumped into my head that what I had were not leftovers, but curry puff filling!  Rather than making pastry and frying them, I decided to use puff pastry squares and make them into little pillows of curry puff to bake.  This is hardly a recipe since it’s almost all method but here’s how I did it.   

Leftover curry – you could use beef or chicken but potato is my favorite for curry puffs
Small puff pastry squares - about 4 in or 10cm – one for every two to three tablespoons of leftover curry

Take your puff pastry squares out of the freezer and allow them time to thaw.  Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.   Line a cookie tray with parchment paper. 

Cut the potatoes in your leftover curry into much smaller pieces.  This will make it easier to wrap the puff pastry around the filling.  (If you are using a meat curry, do the same to all the chunks in your curry.)

Dampen your countertop and stick a piece of cling film down.

Place one square of puff pastry on the cling film and, using a rolling pin, gently enlarge it by at least an inch or 2cm.

Place your filling in the center of the puff pastry.  

Fold the far corner over, creating a triangle.  Press the sides of the pastry together around the filling, making sure to get all the air out. 

Using a pastry brush, dampen the pastry with water.  Fold the two sides in, then fold the bottom up. 

Pinch the corners to help make sure you have good seals.  I also just like the way that looks.

Place the finished curry puffs on a plate, which has been covered with cling film.  (The cling film helps them not stick to the plate.)  Cover the curry puffs with a dampened towel or paper towels until they are all done or until you are ready to bake them.

Place the curry puffs on your prepared cookie sheet.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden and puffy. 

Don't worry if they aren't so pretty now.  It won't matter when they have baked!

Serve with fresh raita, if desired.  I make mine like this.  I added chopped tomatoes this time too though.  I took these as an appetizer to a dinner party so I didn't get a photo of the curry puffs on a small plate.  Imagine one puff, with a spoon or two of raita on the side.  Pretty and delicious. 

By the way, here in Egypt, folks work a five-day week but their weekend is Friday and Saturday.  Who knew?  What days are your weekend?


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Spicy Potato Curry

My own fusion Burmese and Indian potato curry with tomatoes and lovely spices. It's my younger daughter's favorite! I hope it will be yours as well.

Food Lust People Love: My own fusion Burmese and Indian potato curry with tomatoes and lovely spices. It's my younger daughter's favorite! I hope it will be yours as well.

While I grew up eating curry, having lived in Trinidad as a child, Trinidadian curries tend to use a single curry powder, premixed from a variety of ground spices, so I was unfamiliar with the myriad of spices used in Indian curries.  

In the early days of catalog shopping, I came across a boxed set of Indian spices from Penzeys that came along with a delightful little paperback book called Spice Kitchen by Madhur Jaffrey that not only explained what each spice was (with illustrations!) but included great recipes for all of the author’s childhood favorites. You know I had to order it.  

This was before the days of internet so I faxed my order north and one of my husband’s accommodating rig hands brought it to me in Brazil, where we were living at the time and where Indian spices were never found in the stores. That little book is one of the most used, stained up, well-loved books in my cookbook collection. And I have saved the beautiful spice containers though their spices have long been used up.

One of my personal favorites from that book is Bazaar Potatoes. They are spicy and peppery and delicious and also beautiful to look at with their sprinkling of brown mustard seeds, kalonji, cumin, fennel and fenugreek cooked with bright red ripe tomatoes.  My only regret is that there is hardly any sauce. When it comes to curry, in fact for most dishes, the sauce or gravy is my favorite part. 

So I like to mash up (in the musical sense) two recipes to come out with a potato curry that still has all the color and spice of the original Bazaar Potatoes but also has a wonderful aromatic curry sauce that is perfect for pouring over rice or dipping your naan or chapati in.

Spicy Potato Curry

I usually have Burmese curry paste on hand because my original recipe makes enough for three pots of curry and it keeps beautifully in the freezer.  (Head over there and have a look.  It's not hard with a blender.)  I spoon about two good serving spoons worth and put it aside.  Then I follow Ms. Jaffery’s instructions until it is time to add the potatoes to the spices. And I add in the Burmese curry paste, and then the potatoes and a goodly amount water. The result is a lovely saucy potato curry.  Follow along with me.  

Approximately 4 oz or 100g Burmese curry paste from this recipe here.
6 medium, waxy potatoes (about 1.3 lbs or 600g)
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon kalonji
1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 bay leaf
3 medium-sized tomatoes
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
 (The original recipe also called for a small amount of fresh ginger and garlic but I omit these since I am adding both with the Burmese curry paste.  I also leave out the dried chilies since the paste has a generous helping of cayenne.)

Give your potatoes a good scrub but don't peel them.  Then, in a large pot with ample water, put them on to boil.  

With a sharp knife, cut an X into the bottom of your three tomatoes and put them in a narrow heatproof bowl.

Meanwhile, when your potatoes are cooked, drain the boiling water into a heatproof bowl holding your three tomatoes.   Give them a few minutes to loosen the peels and drain the water off the tomatoes too. 

Allow them both to cool enough to hold and peel them.  I use a fork and a sharp knife when mine are still quite hot because I think tomatoes and potatoes are easier to peel when still hot.  Also, this is how my maternal grandmother always peeled potatoes for her famous potato salad with homemade mayonnaise and I like to think about her sitting at her usual place at the kitchen table while I do it.  I miss her.

Break the potatoes into pieces with your hands.  You can cut them but breaking them gives rougher edges to absorb the spices and I think it looks nicer too.   Set aside.

As for the tomatoes, cut them in half and remove their seeds.  Chop the halves further into large pieces.

In a pot that is going to be large enough for your potatoes with room for stirring, heat a little olive oil.   Throw in the rest of the seasoning and the bay leaf.  Let those sizzle for a couple of minutes, then add in the curry paste.  Give it all a good stir.

Now add in the tomatoes and stir. 

Add in the cooled potatoes and season to taste with sea salt.  At this point, I also add enough water to make a goodly amount of sauce, about 2 cups or 500ml. 

Cook over a slow fire for about 10-15 minutes or until the tomato chunks are starting to melt into the sauce.  You do not want them to disappear completely.  

Food Lust People Love: My own fusion Burmese and Indian potato curry with tomatoes and lovely spices. It's my younger daughter's favorite! I hope it will be yours as well.

Serve with rice or fresh naan or chapatis. 

Food Lust People Love: My own fusion Burmese and Indian potato curry with tomatoes and lovely spices. It's my younger daughter's favorite! I hope it will be yours as well.


(If you have leftover potato curry, click here!  I used mine to make curry puffs.  So easy and delicious!)