What to CookThai

The Southeast Asian Snack I Drove Across Israel For

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At home in New York, I was accustomed to ordering Thai food on any given night when I was too tired to cook, rainy evenings, lazy Saturday afternoons, you name it. Curry Puffs and Pad See Ew developed into serious comfort food for my husband and me. When we moved to Israel, Thai food was hard to come by. In the small city where we called home, there wasn’t a single Thai restaurant, and I did lug home Thai take-out from a reputable restaurant in Tel Aviv (which was an hour and a half away).

Coconut Curry Puffs
Coconut Curry Puffs

Thai wasn't the only comfort food that was hard to come by. While it can be frustrating, it also forced me to be creative and figure out how to make it on my own. Burritos, Chicken Tikka Masala, and even meatloaf all made it into my repertoire when living in Israel. So, this is my attempt at curry puffs, based on memory and guesswork. I figured puff pastry would make a good crust, and coconut milk was a must. While not an exact replica, they’re pretty darn close and regardless are completely addictive. Don’t skip the cucumber dipping sauce. For me, that’s what really made the experience like home.

A few notes on the recipe. I meant to use chicken breast but got turkey instead (darn language barrier and rushing in the supermarket), but it turned out great. Purchasing ground chicken or turkey would cut a step out and works great. I like to pulse the chicken breast in the food processor so I have control over the texture; I want it rough for this recipe, but that’s a personal preference. This recipe makes a lot, but they also freeze really well so it’s worth it to put in the effort once and then have a supply for later. Alternately, you can easily halve the recipe. Finally, really taste and adjust the seasoning to your preference. I thought it needed a little sweetness so added sugar, but it’s not necessary. Same for the dipping sauce.

Coconut Curry Puffs

Coconut Curry Puffs

kmartinelli kmartinelli
Makes 40 curry puffs

Coconut Curry Puffs

  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken or turkey breast, finely chopped or pulsed in food processor (ground chicken or turkey works as well)
  • 2 cups potatoes, peeled, diced and parboiled
  • ½ large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (I used curry Malaysia, but any will work)
  • 1 tablespoon yellow curry paste
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dry coriander
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • Salt
  • 2 pounds pastry (about 1 package), defrosted if frozen

Cucumber Dipping Sauce

  • ¼ cups mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, plus more to taste
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 2-3 tablespoons diced cucumber
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Tags: Fry, Community, Heirloom Recipes, Comfort Food