There is so much nostalgia involved when talking about Malaysian Curry Puff. While sights, sounds, and smells are huge memory triggers, taste is another powerful memory trigger, especially when it comes to foods we haven’t had for a long time. When I bite into a curry puff, it takes me right back to my younger days growing up in Penang.
I did say this is a nostalgic post. 😉
Traditionally, curry puff is dough filled with chunks of potatoes (and sometimes small pieces of chicken and chopped up boiled egg) cooked in the spicy and flavorful Malaysian curry, then deep fried. It truly is one of my most missed foods from Malaysia. Upon my request, my parents bring me curry puffs all the way from Penang whenever they visit. Those curry puffs travelled long and hard to make their way into my stomach.
Another version of curry puff is potatoes and chicken curry filled in a puff pastry dough and baked in the oven. This is what I’ve been making for years after living in the United States. Baking is always easier and healthier than deep frying, and I’ve come up with all kinds of short cuts to this dish, while still maintaining a very traditional and delicious flavor and taste.
If you are familiar with Indian samosas, this is a very similar concept. The key difference is that the curry flavor is more Malaysian than it is Indian. I am, of course, seriously biased and love my Malaysian Curry Puffs the best. Sorry, samosa fans. But if you like samosas, you should seriously look into this. I really think you will like this.
When I moved to the United States, as you can imagine, there isn’t a ton of Malaysian Curry Puffs being sold around town (unless you live in New York, LA, and a few other larger cities). But the craving for these bad boys is REAL. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. I quickly discovered most grocery stores carry Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets, and found that it is the perfect (not to mention easy to manage) dough to create a pretty legit version of a Malaysian Curry Puff. To say I was excited is a understatement.
Today, John and I are pretty obsessed with our homemade Malaysian Curry Puffs. There is something about crusty, flaky puff pastry and curry. A match made in foodie heaven, I must say.
And yes, I totally converted my husband. He actually has a greater love for all things curry than I do.
This recipe is actually super simple because not only are we using ready-made puff pastry (no kneading of dough), but a curry paste as well. If you made homemade Malaysian curry paste, I salute you. That is incredible and you should use that. If you do not, you can still be a Malaysian Curry Puff creator/rock star as there are a handful of super delicious curry pastes out there that will help you create the most awesome curry puffs.
Keep in mind that when using ready-made curry paste, there will be variables on how each curry paste taste. Some are spicer, some are more “liquidy”, some are heavier on some spices (turmeric, lemongrass, garlic etc) than others. I have used many different Malaysian curry pastes for this recipe, but here are a few that I would recommend: Tean’s Gourmet Paste for Chicken Curry, A1 Instant Curry Sauce and Mak Nyonya Chicken Curry Paste. They are available at (some, not all) Asian grocery stores. Unfortunately, Malaysian spices are not as mainstream as Chinese, Japense, Korean and Thai spices and sauces. If you cannot find them at your Asian grocery stores, they are definitely available online (Amazon affiliate links attached).
Depending on what curry paste you use and your tolerance to spice levels, start with a tablespoon of curry paste, and add more if you want it spicier.
See what I mean by variables?
Most, if not all Malaysian curry paste will be spicy. Unfortunately there is no mild version of this. Heat is involved as the paste is made with lots of chillies. Delicious, lip-smacking, can’t-get-enough-of-it heat.
I have three key ingredients that goes into the puff pastry – potatoes (lots of them), small pieces of chicken and shallots.
To make the curry puff fillings, cook these ingredients, along with curry paste, coconut milk, salt, sugar and water in a pot. We want to boil until potatoes soften and the liquid is cooked down, creating a “paste-ty” filling.
Let the fillings sit for 30 minutes or so to cool. Super hot fillings will be difficult to manage when wrapping it with puff pastry sheets.
I usually bring two puff pastry sheets to the refrigerator from the freezer the night before I need to use them. While waiting for the curry puff fillings to cool, whisk up an egg and cut the large puff pastry sheets into four squares.
Fill the pastry with fillings and use the egg mixture to glue the puff pastry. When all puff pastries are filled and glued, use the remainder egg mixture to brush the top of each puff pastry to create a nice egg wash. Place puff pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If you are not using parchment paper, you will need to grease the bottom of the puff pastry because it will most likely stick to the surface. Find detailed instructions and step-by-step pictures on how to wrap the curry puffs in the recipe card at the end of the post.
Bake this at 400 degrees F for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.
Before you know it, you will be staring at some gorgeous, delicious good homemade curry puffs.
You guys. Trust me when I say – THESE THINGS ARE SO GOOD. And not to mention, ADDICTIVE.
I can still taste the potatoes and chicken soaked in the spicy, aromatic Malaysian curry sauce, wrapped with a layer of flaky, warm, buttery puff pastry.
I classified this post as “appetizer” on the recipe tab (I mean, isn’t this just the perfect unique finger food at parties?), but the truth is, we have it as a snack, for lunch, or even for breakfast. Anytime is a good time for Malaysian Curry Puff in our household.
I’m telling you friends, this totally TAKES ME BACK.
I’ve treasured this short cut, easy curry puff recipe for many, many years – I just love finding ways to recreate a simpler version of foods from the place I grew up.
Enjoy this beauty from my hometown.
Much LOVE to curry puffs. Favorite food EVER.
Malaysian Curry Puff
Potato and chicken cooked in aromatic and flavorful Malaysian Curry, wrapped in a warm, flaky puff pastry. So yummy!
- 2 Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets
- 3-4 red potatoes 9-10oz
- 1-2 tbsp chopped shallots
- 1/2 cup small pieces of diced chicken
- 1-2 tbsp Malaysian curry paste
- 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tbsp coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp sugar or to taste
- salt to taste
- 1 egg
In a pot, add vegetable oil and chopped shallots, cook for 30 seconds, then add potato, chicken and 1 tbsp of curry paste. Cook for 30 seconds.
Add water and coconut milk to pot. Once mixture comes to a boil and chicken is cooked, taste mixture and add more curry paste if needed. Also add salt and sugar to taste.
Cook until potatoes are tender and cook down the liquid until it looks more like a paste. Turn off heat and let it cool for 30 minutes.
While waiting for filling to cool, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F and beat up one egg.
Cut each puff pastry sheet into 4 squares
Once filling is cool, add filling to each puff pastry sheet, creating a triangle on one side of the square pastry sheet (see picture). Then brush egg mixture to all sides of the square.
Fold each square into a triangle and using fingers, gentle press sides to seal. Then using a fork, press to further seal pastry.
Bring curry puff to baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and brush egg mixture onto the top surface of each pastry. If not using parchment paper, grease the bottom of each puff pastry to prevent it from sticking to pan.
Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes or until top is golden brown.
Remove and cool for 10 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!