A vegetarian/ vegan curry puff recipe that doesn’t leave you with sticky hands: delicious, easy to make and perfect for batch freezing!
A spicy South East Asian cousin of Empanadas, Samosas and Cornish Pasties, curry puffs (also known as epok epok or karipap) are delicious and freezer friendly. It’s super easy to make a big batch so I always have this easy vegan curry puff in my freezer, ready to fry for when unexpected guests pop by or when I have sudden hunger pangs.
What type of dough for vegan karipaps?
There are many recipes for curry puff dough but this is my favourite as it is fast, easy and tasty – best of all, kneading is not required and the dough does not stick to one’s hands! If you want to go all out to impress though, you could try making spiral curry puffs, which requires making 2 types of doughs- a water dough and an oil dough- so a project for when you have more time! For people who hate any sort of pastry work or deep frying, you can use shop-bought puff pastry with this filling recipe then bake them.
What filling to use in the vegan curry puff?
Traditionally, curry puffs aren’t vegan but 1 of my good friends is allergic to dairy and eggs, so I often try to figure out how to make local Singaporean food that she can eat. Hence, in this post, I’ll be sharing an easy vegan karipap recipe. The dough contains no butter and the puffs have a potato filling – if you’re not vegan, other traditional fillings include:
- Vegetarian karipap: potatoes and hard boiled egg (the egg adds a pleasant variation in the texture)
- Chicken and hard boiled egg
- Sardines in tomato sauce
- Beef/ lamb (This filling is the most difficult to find amongst commercially sold curry puffs- I’m guessing it’s because beef and lamb are more expensive?)
If you’ve tried curry puffs before, which filling is your favourite?
Vegan curry puff recipe
- Metal (or other heat-proof) bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Rolling Pin
- Wooden chopstick
- Wire mesh
- Kitchen towels
- 250 g All purpose flour (0.55 lb)
- 50 g rice flour (0.11 lb)
- 50 g tapioca or corn flour (0.11 lb)
- 50 g vegetable oil (0.11 lb)
- 130 g cold water (4.59 oz)
- Vegetable oil Don't use olive oil as it's for deep frying
- 2 stalks curry leaves
- 1 onion, diced
- 600 g potato, diced
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon vegetable stock powder (if you're not vegan, Chicken or ikan bilis stock powder/ liquid stock works well too) Optional
- Pinch of salt
- Mix the 3 flours in a heat-proof bowl and put aside
- Heat up the oil and margarine in a pan and when the mixture has all melted and is very hot, pour it into the flours and use a wooden spoon to mix thoroughly. (If you use a metal bowl, note that the parts of the bowl in contact with the mixture will also heat up)
- Add cold water and mix with a wooden spoon till a soft dough forms. If you decide to finish the kneading by hand (the dough doesn't stick), make sure the dough is cool enough to be touched first!
- Cover the dough and rest for a minimum of 15 minutes. (Making the filling will take more than 15 minutes after accounting for the time needed for the mixture to cool down )
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Roll out each piece of dough into a circle of about 9 cm diameter (approximately 2mm thick). 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. Place approximately 1 tablespoon of filling in the centre of the dough then fold the dough into half (to form a semi circle)
- Pinch the edges of the curry 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 steps 9-11 with the other pieces of dough in the covered bowl.
- The curry puffs can be frozen at this stage for future use. If you want to eat them 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. 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.
Margarine can be replaced by an equal amount of butter. Technically, shortening should be an option too, but when I used the same proportions, the resulting dough was waaaaay too soft to hold a shape, so more experimentation will be needed!
I have successfully used cake flour instead of all-purpose flour for this recipe, but the pastry will be more delicate and may tear a little when folding the puffs. (They fry up just as well though!)
Wrapping the puffs
If you don’t remove the curry leaves before folding, make sure they are not sticking out, as the stalks may pierce your pastry. 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 end up with more curry leaves than needed for these vegan karipaps, here is a list of recipes that use curry leaves.)
Freezing the karipaps
Curry puffs can be frozen after wrapping. Place them 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. When you want to eat these vegan karipaps, there is no need to defrost- just fry from frozen (it will take 5-7 minutes longer than frying freshly made 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, the frozen puffs retain the filling and shape better than the fresh ones (during the frying process).
Note: Fresh curry leaf imports are actually banned in some countries due to concerns about citrus greening disease. However, 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 you make this, do let me know what you think of this easy vegan curry puff recipe! Other vegan recipes on my blog include matcha mantou buns and spiral pandan mantou buns, vegan osmanthus tea konnyaku jelly and yuzu marmalade konnyaku jelly.