Influenced by Portuguese desserts introduced to Thailand in the fourteenth century, these pastries are a mixture of Western pastry and Eastern spices.
- 150 g (5½ oz) sweet potato, diced
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 50 g (1¾ oz) onion, diced
- 10 g (⅓ oz) red shallot, diced
- 100 g (3½ oz) chicken breast, diced
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 15 g (½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 tbsp fine sea salt
- ½ tbsp freshly ground white pepper
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Inner puff pastry
- 70 g (2½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
- 3 tbsp grapeseed oil
Outer puff pastry
- 3 tbsp Limewater (see Note)
- 3 tbsp iced water
- ½ tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 140 g (5 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 3 tbsp grapeseed oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
- Fill a large bowl with iced water. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil over high heat and par-cook the sweet potato for 3–5 minutes, until slightly tender but not mushy or soft. Drain the sweet potato, then transfer to the iced water to refresh. Once cool, drain again and set aside.
- Heat the butter in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and stir-fry the onion until translucent, then add the shallot and cook until fragrant. Stir in the chicken breast, soy sauce, caster sugar, salt, white pepper and curry powder. Add the sweet potato and stir-fry until the mixture is well combined and dry. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, make the inner puff pastry. Sift the flour through a mesh sieve into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the oil. Use a spatula to gradually incorporate the flour until a dough is formed. Using your hands, knead until the dough is smooth. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
- To make the outer puff pastry, combine the limewater, iced water, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Sift the flour through a mesh sieve into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the oil and the limewater mixture. Use a spatula to gradually incorporate the flour until a dough is formed. Using your hands, knead until the dough just comes together. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
- Divide the inner puff pastry dough into five equal balls weighing roughly 30 g (1 oz) each. Divide the outer puff pastry dough into five equal balls weighing 50 g (1¾ oz) each.
- To assemble the puff pastry, lightly dust your work surface with flour and roll the outer puff pastry balls into discs just large enough to wrap around the inner puff pastry balls. Place an inner puff pastry ball in the centre of each outer puff pastry disc and wrap the outer discs around the inner balls to form five larger dough balls. Cover with a damp kitchen towel.
- Lightly dust your work surface again. Place one dough ball seam-side down on the work surface and roll it out in one direction only until you have a rectangle 12–15 cm (4¾–6 in) long. Starting from the short edge closest to you, tightly roll the rectangle into a sausage. Rotate the sausage 90 degrees, so the short edge is close to you once again, then roll it out in one direction only until you have a rectangle 18–20 cm (7–7¾ in) long. Starting from the short edge closest to you, tightly roll the rectangle into a sausage once more and cut crossways into thirds. Place the thirds cut-side down on the work surface and roll out into ovals 2–3 mm thick. Set aside, cover with a damp kitchen towel and repeat the process with the remaining dough balls.
- To assemble the curry puffs, take one of the pastry ovals and place it on your palm. One side should have a more distinct spiral pattern on it; make sure the spiral side of the pastry is facing down. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the centre of the pastry and brush the edges of the pastry with a little water. Fold the pastry over to enclose the filling and press down to seal. Crimp the edge to secure the filling. Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling.
- In a deep-fryer or a large heavy-based saucepan, heat the vegetable oil to 180°C (350°F) – a pinch of flour dropped into the oil should sizzle on contact – and deep-fry the pastries in batches for 8–10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel before serving.
• To make limewater, in a large glass jar dissolve 1 tbsp slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) in 1 litre water. Leave overnight to allow the slacked lime sediment to settle at the bottom of the jar. The clear limewater is ready for use and can be stored in the fridge indefinitely for later use.
Recipe and images from Bangkok Local by Sareen Rojanametin and Jean Thamthanakorn, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99