Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Curry puffs

Do you have a Famima in your area? This is a Japanese 7-11 of sorts, and Southern California has been inundated with them sprouting all over the place in the past year or so. They have a curried fried bread that is truly addictive, but it is so chock full of oil, that it makes me feel sick later.

So I figured out a lighter version, sans the frying.

Keep in mind we ARE using Japanese curry paste cubes here- and much as I am averse to prepared curry pastes, in Japanese cuisine even the natives use prepared curry spice blocks, so I can't complain :) My preferred brand is S&B:

What you will need:
  • A package of phyllo sheets
  • 1/2 a broiled or fried chicken
  • A package of Japanese curry, preferable S&B
  • A boiled potato
  • 1/2 cub of diced red onion
  • 1/2 mined jalapeno
This is what you do:
  • Once you have bought your phyllo from the store, please keep it refrigerated (NOT FROZEN), until ready for use. Typically, 1 phyllo pack has approximately 12 6" x 6" sheets, which you can cut into your preferred shapes- you can also get larger sheets and shape per preference.
  • Open the package of Japanese curry- it is going to be in the form of solid blocks of spice, divided into 1" square cubes. For this recipe, you need only 1 square- you could add more if you like. I like to store opened packages of S&B in the fridge.
  • Thinly shred the left-over cooked chicken, discarding any bones- you should be left with about 2 cups of shredded chicken you can work with. Whatever kind you use: fried or broiled, just make sure it is no more than very mildly spiced.
  • If you are using the potato and red onion, spray some olive oil in a wok, and throw in the onion- stir fry till slightly golden.
  • Then add the potato, and stir fry till it is slightly golden as well.
  • Add the shredded chicken, jalapeno and the cube/s of curry, breaking up the spice with your spatula in the wok.
  • Stir fry for about a minute, then add 1/2 a cup of water, and bring to a boil.
  • As soon as the water comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover and let cook for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes:

  • Your chicken filling is done. Open the cover, and boil away any excess moisture- you are going to bake this, so you don't want liquid floating around in there. Kill the heat and let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes:
  • Take the phyllo out of the fridge, and take out 1 phyllo sheet at a time.
  • I simply folded each 6" square sheet in 1/2, and filled the resulting pocket with the chicken mixture. Don't overfill.
  • Close all the edges of this "pocket" by pinching the ends together. You should have a small parcel of pastry in your hand.
  • Take a sharp knife, and slash 2-3 lines on 1 side of each parcel (1 side only).
  • Fill the rest of the phyllo sheets, until either the sheets or your chicken mix finishes!
  • Place all the pastry parcels, knife-slashed side up, on a lined baking tray, and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. This will depend on the strength of your oven, so please do keep checking, but don't open the oven door (they are transparent for a reason).
  • Take out when golden brown. Serve w/ sirracha/jalapeno sauce/ranch- per preference. We ate all these up super fast, so I couldn't click a photo, and therefore hijacked a pic from Wikipedia


  • If you are preparing extra pastries (I always do), these are super easy to store.
  • Just take the puffs out when they are barely beginning to puff in the oven, and are NOT golden yet. This should be after they have been in the oven for about 10 minutes.
  • Cool the puffs completely on a the kitchen table, place in a air tight box and store in the fridge, where they will keep for 1 week.
  • When reusing stored puffs, remove from fridge, and leave on the kitchen table for about 15 minutes, until they are almost at room temperature. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or till golden brown.


Instead of the chicken mixture, you may also like to try:

  • Apples, splenda (as sweetener)/sugar and cinnamon (ahem, no curry please).
  • Potatoes, broccoli and red onion (w/ or without curry).
  • Peaches, sweetener/sugar, dried sweetened cranberries and mangoes (yes, no curry here either :D)
  • lamb/beef, red onion (curry per preference).

Or any other combos of your choice!

Disclaimer: I do not have an affiliation with any brands mentioned in this posting.

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