A flaky, crisp curry puff recipe with a warm, spiced (but not spicy), savory potato filling that uses mostly cupboard staples. Best of all, it's a no-knead dough that doesn't leave you with sticky hands. Delicious and perfect for meal prep as it tastes good hot and cold!
⭐ Why You'll Love This Snack
- Curry Puffs are delicious and flexible: a popular street food and dim sum in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, they're like the spicy South East Asian cousin of Empanadas, Samosas and Cornish Pasties. You can make so many variations of this Asian snack with different fillings once you master the dough recipe!
- Perfect meal prep dish for pot luck or parties: You can cook the potatoes filling 1-2 days in advance then wrap on the day of your event. Alternatively, curry puffs freeze super well and can be fried from frozen, perfect for unexpected guests! (They're tradition:ally sold and eaten at room temperature, so a great finger food for guests who are always late.)
- They're simple to make: the recipe is not complicated and there are no fancy ingredients. However, it takes time because of the wrapping. (It's much simpler than the 2-dough spiral Malaysian karipap (for which you need a water and oil dough) though!) Be warned, this is not a recipe to make when you're in a rush, if you're not familiar with rolling and wrapping dough!
🥟 What are Curry Puffs?
They're traditionally deep fried till golden and crispy and come with an assortment of fillings, ranging from vegetarian potato to sardine, chicken, and beef.
Trivia: Despite the "curry" in the name, coconut milk is not used to make curry puffs! For more information about the history of curry puffs in Singapore, click here.
Vs epok epok
Although the 2 words are now used interchangeably, they were originally not the same thing.
Many people today think epok epok is just a Malay curry puff, but here are some ways the 2 differ:
- The crust is different, with curry puffs being more buttery and flaky
- Epok Epok doesn't contain curry whilst karipaps do!
- Epok Epok usually comes with a chilli dip but curry puffs hardly ever do. If you need a sauce, try these samosa dips which work well with curry puffs too
🥔 Ingredients & Substitutes
Here are some of the simple, easy to find ingredients that you will need:
For the Dough
- All purpose flour: Do not substitute with cake flour if not a dough wrapping expert- the skin will be more delicate and will tear when folding the puffs. They fry up just as well though!
- Rice flour: We want regular rice flour and not glutinous rice flour. You don't want a chewy dough here!
- Corn flour: You can substitute with tapioca flour
- Vegetable Oil & Margarine: If you're not vegan, you can use oil and butter or pork lard (for an extra flaky pastry.) Do not use olive oil (strong smell) or shortening (the dough will be waaaaay too soft to hold its shape if you follow the quantities in this Singaporean curry puff recipe.)
Tip: If you don't have time to make the dough, you can use puff pastry (produces a wonderfully buttery, golden, flaky crust!), several layers of Phyllo pastry or roti prata to wrap.
Make 1-2 slashes on the top of the puff pastry before baking so the steam can escape- if not, your puffs will burst!)
For the filling
- Potatoes: Because coconut milk is not used in traditional curry puff filling, you want potatoes that break down and become pasty as they cook. Red potatoes are good but I've also made this with Russets. Alternatively, some people use sweet potato instead of white potato to be healthier.
- Curry leaves: Fresh curry leaf imports are actually banned in some countries due to concerns about citrus greening disease. You can try to grow your own (seeds and seedlings available online but not easy to grow in cool climates) or buy dried ones online (UK) and in the US. If not, you can leave out them out.
- Curry powder: This is sold pre-mixed in Asian supermarkets. You could potentially substitute with curry paste but I've never tried doing so. Add a bit of turmeric powder to pimp it up!
- Stock: Either chicken broth or vegetable stock if vegetarian will give the potatoes so much flavor! However, I have also made the curry puffs without any stock and they were still tasty (I mean, these puffs are deep-fried after all!) but would suggest using a pinch of salt in the dough, if so.
Tip: You can also add diced carrots, peas and hard boiled egg to provide a pleasant variation in the texture of the filling. (You'll need less potatoes if so.)
For Thai curry puffs: add coriander roots, garlic, white pepper and soy sauce to the potato filling.
For a full list of ingredients, please scroll down to the recipe card. I also have alternative filling suggestions under FAQs.
🥘 Step-by-step Instructions
Making the Dough
Note: before you make the dough, make sure you have cold water on hand. If not, chill some in the fridge at least half an hour before you want to start work.
- Mix the 3 flours in a heat-proof bowl.
- Heat the oil and butter/ lard/ margarine.
- Once hot and liquid, very carefully pour into the flours, being careful not to spill.
- Immediately pour the cold water in, and use a wooden or heat-proof spatula to start mixing the dough.
Note: I've tested all the fats. I've even tested a 100% lard version! Lard makes the flakiest pastry but butter a tastier one!
Tip: If using a metal bowl, don't balance it on your bare skin as the bottom will get burning hot from the hot oil!
5. Optional: add some salt to season the dough. If not adding salt, make sure your filling is very savory later.
6. I used to market this curry puff recipe as a no-knead dough. Technically, you don't need to knead, but I prefer to use my hands to finish the last bits, to ensure all the flour is well-mixed with the oil and fat.
7. Roll into a ball, cover and rest for at least 15 minutes. Use that time to make the potato filling!
Preparing the Filling
Note: you can do this after you've made the dough, and whilst the dough is resting.
- Mince the onions.
- Saute the minced onions till translucent and fragrant (about 5 minutes.)
- Add the curry leaves and stir.
Tip: I like red onions as they're sweet but you can also use shallots or yellow onions.
4. Add the potatoes and stir a few times. (Use a large skillet if you have 1- this is my largest and it's sort of overflowing already!)
5. Add the curry powder, stir till the potatoes are well-coated.
6. Pour the stock or water to cover the potatoes and simmer till soft. Add more liquid if it becomes too dry.
7. Taste and season with salt or soy sauce, if necessary
Note: Let the filling cool a bit before wrapping!
Rolling the Dough
- Divide the dough into 4 equal portions.
- Take 1 out, and leave the other 3 covered.
- Roll into a smooth log, then cut into equal pieces. I cut into 6 for mini puffs (I wouldn't recommend going any smaller than this) but you can cut into 4 for larger snacks
Note: see 1st photo in post to get a sense of how small mini is!
4. Roll each of the 6 doughs into smooth balls. If not smooth, you won't get circular wraps later.
5. Roll out each piece of dough into a flat circle, like a dumpling wrapper (see above photo, top circle.)
6. (Above photo, middle)Scoop 1 Tablespoon of potato filling into the centre of the circle. You can actually go up to 1.5 Tablespoons but it'll be tough to wrap if you're new to this. Less is more when you're starting out!
7. (Above photo, bottom) Carefully fold the dough in half, over the potatoes.
Folding the Curry Puffs
I used the pinch, fold and pleat method. Honestly, it will be easier for you to make curry puffs if you watch my video in the recipe card below!
Tip: If you've wrapped Chinese potstickers before, it's quite similar!
Alternative Wrapping Methods
- Curry puffs are traditionally deep fried but I shallow pan fry to save oil.
- Pour a generous amount of oil into the pot/ pan. (If not, it will stick!)
- Heat till an inserted wooden chopstick or wooden spatula creates bubbles. (You can also use a food thermometer.)
Tip: you can also use a deep fryer if you have 1!
4. Carefully place the curry puff in the pot. Don't throw them in as you don't want hot oil to splash on you!
Tip: Make sure you don't overcrowd the pan or the temperature of the oil will fall and the puffs won't be crisp. (You'll need to fry in batches.)
5. Once golden brown, turn over and fry the other side.
6. Remove and place on kitchen towels to drain.
7. Repeat till all are fried!
🥡 How to Store
Fried curry puffs taste best eaten on the day they're made but also last for 2-3 days in the fridge.
How to Reheat
Curry puffs are like fried chicken.
You want to heat them up in a way that retains the crisp golden skin. I recommend microwaving or, if you're like me and don't have a microwave, heating them up in the toaster oven or regular oven till piping hot inside. (The time will depend on how big your veggie curry puffs are!)
Note: curry puffs actually taste good at room temperature. In Singapore and Malaysia, these deep-fried snacks are usually pre-made so when you buy them from a street stall, you eat them cold!
How to Freeze
These vegetarian curry puffs can be frozen after wrapping.
Place the karipaps on a tray with gaps in between each puff, then cover with plastic wrap before putting in the freezer. Once frozen, they will no longer stick to each other and can be transferred to ziplock bags for easier storage.
Store for 1 month in the freezer.
Cooking from frozen
When you want to eat these potato curry puffs, there is no need to defrost. Just fry from frozen! (It will take approximately 5-7 minutes longer than frying freshly made vegetable curry puffs.)
In fact, they're actually easier to fry from frozen!
If your wrapping skills aren't amazing and a little filling is oozing out, frozen puffs retain the filling and shape better than fresh ones (during the frying process).
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
Tip #1: If you don't remove the curry leaves before folding, make sure they are not sticking out, as the stalks may pierce through the dough (leading to burnt filling.) Alternatively, you could pluck the leaves off (and ditch the stalks) or slice the entire sprig thinly before stir-frying the filling to avoid this problem. (If you have too many curry leaves, here is a list of recipes that use curry leaves.)
Tip #2: If the edges of the karipap dough aren't sticking well, apply a little water before pinching them together.
Tip #3: Don't use olive oil to deep fry as it has a strong taste and low smoke point
Tip #4: I would not recommend baking or air frying this veggie curry puff recipe as the dough just doesn't taste as good. (I've tried both methods- I though they tasted bad but a non-Singaporean friend said they were still tasty, so... it may depend on what you're used to!) Instead, you can make the potato filling as per the recipe card, wrap in puff pasty and bake!
💭 Recipe FAQs
No! You can also use chicken (most popular curry puff filling), beef, lamb or sardines in tomato sauce, for traditional fillings. (It's a great way to use up leftover meat stew actually!) For modern fusion fillings, you can use hae bee hiam, cheese or otah.
You can toss them in your next chicken stew or heat them up and serve as a side dish for steak, soy sauce chicken or pork chop!
🍧 Other Asian Snacks
Enjoyed this Potato Curry Puff recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating in the recipe card below & if you REALLY liked this Singaporean street snack, please consider supporting it by buying me a coffee! 🙂 (No obligation though!) Thank you and have a great day!
Curry Puff Recipe (Potato)
- Metal (or other heat-proof) bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Rolling Pin Oil or flour before using
- Wooden chopstick To test the temperature of the oil. Substitute: wooden spoon or food thermometer
- Wire mesh
- Kitchen towels
For the vegetarian curry puff dough
- 0.55 lb All purpose flour (250g)
- 0.11 lb Rice flour (50g) Don't use glutinous rice flour!
- 0.11 lb Corn flour (50g) Substitute: tapioca flour
- 0.11 lb Neutral vegetable oil (50g) Don't use olive or peanut oil as they're strongly flavoured.
- 0.11 lb Margarine (50g) Substitute: butter or lard
- 4.59 oz cold water (130g) It needs to be cold to react with the hot melted fats later
For the potato filling
- Neutral vegetable oil for frying Don't use olive oil as it's for deep frying or peanut as it has a strong taste
- 2 stalks curry leaves Before portioning out the potato filling later when wrapping the puffs, remove the stems so that they don't poke through the dough
- 1 red onion Minced. Yellow will do but red is sweeter Substitute: shallots
- 1.32 lb potato diced (600g)
- 2 Tablespoons curry powder
- 1 Teaspoon stock powder Substitute: liquid stock or msg. If you're not vegetarian or vegan, chicken or ikan bilis stock powder/ liquid stock works well too. If you leave this out, remember to season the dough!
- Water to cover the potatoes If you used liquid stock above, decrease the water here accordingly
- Salt, to taste
Making the dough
- Before you start. make sure you have cold water on hand. (This is necessary for a flaky, crisp dough.)Mix the 3 flours in a heat-proof bowl and put aside.
- Heat up the oil and margarine in a pan or pot. When the mixture has all melted and is very hot, carefully pour it into the flours and use a wooden spoon to mix thoroughly. Note: If you use a metal bowl, note that the parts of the bowl in contact with the mixture will also heat up so you don't want to be touching them with your bare skin!
- Add cold water and mix with a wooden spoon till a soft dough forms. Note: If you decide to finish the kneading by hand (the dough doesn't stick and I like to do so to make sure there are no hidden flour pockets), make sure the dough is cool enough to be touched first!
- Cover the dough and rest for a minimum of 15 minutes. Note: Making the filling will take more than 15 minutes after accounting for the time needed for the mixture to cool down !
Making the filling
- Whilst the dough is resting, prepare the filling. Heat vegetable oil in a pan then fry the onion and curry leaves till the onion turns translucent.
- Add the diced potatoes and cook till golden. Add the curry powder and saute for 1 minute,
- Add enough water to cover the potatoes. If using, add the stock powder (for liquid stock, the amount of water should then be decreased correspondingly) and stir to mix thoroughly. Taste and add salt as required, then allow mixture to come to a boil.
- Simmer till the potatoes are slightly pasty and allow to cool
Folding the puffs
- Whilst the mixture is cooling, return to working on rolling out the dough. Make sure the rolling pin and surface you work on is floured or oiled to prevent the mixture from sticking. Divide the dough into 4 equal balls, leave 3 balls in the bowl and cover again. Note: I have a video on the curry puff dough rolling and wrapping process in the post. It will make things much clearer!
- Roll the 1 ball of dough that you have taken out into a cylindrical log, then cut (using a dough scraper or knife) into 6 approximately equal pieces. You can also use your hands to pinch out the 6 smaller pieces but this may result in more variation in the size of the dough.Note: this makes mini bite-sized puffs. Divide into fewer pieces if you want bigger bites!
- Roll out each piece of dough into a circle of about 9 cm diameter (approximately 2mm thick). Note: It will take practice to make the dough circular, but the more circular the dough is, the easier it is to wrap the curry puffs and the rounder your rolled-out dough.
- Place approximately 1 tablespoon of filling in the centre of the dough then fold the dough into half (to form a semi circle)Note: you could actually use up to 1.5 Tablespoons of filling, if you're good at wrapping! Beginners should start with a less ambitious amount as burst out filling burns easily 🙂
- Pinch the edges of the potato puff together in your preferred style. I like the pinch and fold method where you pinch the very end of the border, then fold it down. The dough here will be thicker (as there are now 2 layers) so pinch the dough and fold again. Repeat till you've reached the other end of the dough then plate.
- Once you've rolled and wrapped the 6 pieces of dough, repeat the folding Steps with the other 3 pieces of dough in the covered bowl.
- For freezing: The karipaps can be frozen at this stage for future use. If eating now, continue on.
- To eat now: prepare for deep frying by heating up a deep pot or wok half-filled with oil. Make sure the oil is hot enough before adding the curry puffs- to check, place a wooden chopstick into the oil. If many bubbles form around the chopstick, you can start deep frying. Tip: Don't add too many curry puffs at a time, or the temperature of the oil will drop.
- Once the curry puffs turn light brown, use a wire mesh to remove them from the oil and place them on a plate lined with kitchen towels to absorb any excess oil. Enjoy!
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