Keep calm and curry on, one small pie at a time.
You know the saying ‘You can take me out of Singapore, but you can never take the Singaporean out of me’? That absolutely applies to me. It has been 9 years since we left Singapore to establish new roots in Houston, Texas. And although we have fallen in love with the Lone Star State and been enriched by the change, my love for Singaporean food has led me to create a family tradition: celebrating major Singapore holidays with authentic Singaporean dishes. I hope to keep my family emotionally connected to Singapore through its unique food culture, and the diverse flavors of our home country’s wide array of cuisines.
One of my family’s favorite Singaporean snack that I make all the time is the humble Curry Puff, a miniature pie that is filled with mildly flavored potatoes and chicken. Only us Singaporeans understand how versatile this dish can be. We can have it at breakfast for a perfect start to the day, or as an afternoon delight to curb those mid-day hunger pangs. And it is not surprising that some of us have it for lunch, dinner or as a late-night snack!
One of my most unforgettable memories involving curry puffs was when I was a teen. There was an ‘Uncle’ who sold the crispiest curry puffs right outside my secondary school during dismissal times. He had a box filled with curry puffs tied to his bicycle. I would always buy one of his perfectly-sized handheld snacks after school and have it while walking out to the bus stop. I knew it would ruin my dinner that evening but I didn’t care because it was so good! Pastry that’s lightly browned and crisp, with a simple curried potato filling that is remarkably flavorful. Who could resist this beloved Singaporean snack?
The gorgeous aroma of these handheld puffs and the light crunch of the pastry when taking a bite, always makes me think of Singapore. I’m reminded of the warm and humid air that envelops us when stepping out of home. The endearing greeting of “have you eaten” (in various languages and dialects) when we meet one another. The hustle and bustle of the coffee shops and hawker centers. The stunning architecture of the city - from suburban neighbourhoods to iconic city landmarks. And not forgetting the pockets of amazing nature found throughout Singapore that provides a pleasant respite from the city’s bustle.
Whenever there is an international themed get-together or a Singapore holiday celebration, my homemade curry puffs would always make an appearance. No matter how far away we may be, I always hope that these warm and scrumptious curry puffs will take my fellow Singaporeans back to a familiar time and place back home.
With the nation’s 53rd birthday just around the corner, try making this easy and delicious iconic Singapore snack for any upcoming gatherings!
5 tbsp Cooking Oil
1 Medium Red Onion (diced finely)
3 tsp Garam Marsala Powder
4 tsp Curry Powder
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 cup Chicken Breast Meat (diced 3/8")
2 large Potatoes (skinned, boiled and diced 3/8")
1 1/2 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Salt
Sliced Hard boiled Eggs (optional)
1 lb All Purpose Flour
5 oz Butter Flavored Shortening
3/4 cups Water
1/2 tsp Salt
1. Prepare the filling first. Heat oil and stir fry onions on medium heat until golden brown.
2. Add the garam marsala powder, curry powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder and continue to stir fry gently.
3. Add the diced chicken and stir fry until chicken is cooked. Add potatoes, sugar, black pepper, salt and mix well. Set aside to cool.
4. Make the pastry. Mix flour, shortening, water, salt in a large bowl and knead well.
5. Let dough rest for 30 min. Note that the dough will not rise.
6. Roll dough out and cut them into 3 inch diameter circles.
7. Place approximately 2 tbsp of filling (and sliced hard boiled egg, if preferred) in the middle of the pastry and fold it over to form a semi-circle.
8. Pinch and fold the edges or you may crimp the edges with a fork.
9. Heat oil to 350 degrees and deep fry for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes 18 - 20 pieces
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