Make Ahead

Coconut Curry Puffs

April  7, 2011
2 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Makes 40 curry puffs
Author Notes

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 I. Now, living in Israel, Thai food is hard to come by. In the small city we currently call home there isn’t a single Thai restaurant, and I’ve been known to lug home Thai take-out from a reputable restaurant in Tel Aviv (which is an hour and a half away).

This isn’t the only comfort food that’s hard to come by here. While it can be frustrating, it’s also forced me to be creative and figure out how to make it on my own. Burritos, Chicken Tikka Masala, and even meatloaf have all made it into my repertoire since moving here. 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. Enjoy!
- kmartinelli —kmartinelli

Test Kitchen Notes

This wonderful make-ahead dish has all the comfiness of a dumpling, wrapped around a flavorful and spicy filling. The dipping sauce provides a sweet compliment that cools down the heat making them nothing short of ambrosia. I used a 4-inch round pastry cutter to make the puffs and loved the dough-to-filling ratio; they had a nice balance of comfort and zip. You can easily adjust the spiciness by cutting them smaller and adding less filling. They would also be delicious made vegetarian by replacing the meat with more potato and other vegetables. I served them in small bowls and then spooned the sauce on top to make sure that cucumber was part of every bite. They are absolutely delicious, and I can't wait to make them again! - SwoonMySpoon —SwoonMySpoon

What You'll Need
  • 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
  1. Coconut Curry Puffs
  2. Heat oil in a sauté pan. Add the chicken and onion and cook, stirring often and breaking up chicken with wooden spoon, about 5 minutes or until the chicken is mostly cooked. Add the potatoes, stir to combine, and cook another minute. Stir in the curry powder, then the curry paste, making sure to incorporate it fully here (it may stick in globs slightly).
  3. Pour in the coconut milk and simmer (lowering heat if necessary so it’s simmering, not boiling), stirring occasionally, until coconut milk is absorbed. Add the turmeric, coriander, sugar, and mirin and season with salt. Taste and season with any of the spices as necessary. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  4. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/8-inch thick. Using a round cookie or biscuit cutter or large glass (I used a martini glass) cut out 3- to 4-inch circles (curry puffs can be large or small, so it’s up to you). Put a spoonful of filling in the center and fold over to close. Pinch the edges to seal and crimp with a fork (real curry puffs have a cool rope-like seal but I couldn’t get that quite right…).
  5. Heat about 1-inch vegetable or other high-temp oil in a heavy-bottomed pan until it is about 350F, very hot but not smoking (or, if you have a deep fryer, go nuts). Add the curry puffs one at a time; work in batches so as not to crowd the pan. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm in a 200F oven if desired. Serve with cucumber dipping sauce (recipe below).
  6. Note: curry puffs can be frozen. Allow to cool slightly then place on a parchment-lined baking tray and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to an air-tight container or freezer bags. To reheat, take straight from the freezer and bake at 350F for 15 minutes, or until warmed through.
  1. Cucumber Dipping Sauce
  2. Combine the mirin, sugar and a pinch of salt in a small pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Taste and add more salt and/or sugar if desired. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  3. Stir in cilantro and cucumber. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Note: This recipe seems like a small amount, but makes enough for about 20 curry puffs. It is easily multiplied for larger batches

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Tory Nettleton
    Tory Nettleton
  • Claudia Auger
    Claudia Auger
  • gingerroot
  • fiveandspice
  • ContinuingMyEducation
A native New Yorker, I recently moved to Be'er Sheva, Israel with my husband while he completes medical school. I am a freelance food and travel writer and photographer who is always hungry and reads cookbooks in bed.

15 Reviews

Tory N. March 13, 2017
making these for a party this weekend. can't wait! even in the middle of brooklyn it's hard to find a good curry puff.
Lisa February 28, 2017
I'm impressed that you had a martini glass to use for cutting the circles out in Beer Sheva!
I enjoyed your recipe and will try, but I'd like to share with you that there are several good Thai restaurants here in Jerusalem and a good Indian one in Ramle. I hope you're enjoying trying out some of th local specialties as well.
Rebecca F. February 27, 2017
Do you mean puff pastry or pate brisee?
Claudia A. January 8, 2015
"2 pounds pastry (about 1 package), defrosted if frozen "
Do you mean prepackaged pastry one buys at the store? Might you also include a dough recipe for those who want to make their own? Or at least provide a better description of the type of dough you buy to make these?
flossy November 13, 2011
these are great. i don't have my stuffing technique down, and my pastry was too thick (if that is possible) and i didn't have curry paste. even with ALL that, delicious. very easy to make the curry before a party and fry at the last minute, too. thanks!
kmartinelli November 15, 2011
Haha I'm so glad that you enjoyed these!! I need to make another batch soon.
gingerroot April 9, 2011
These look really delicious. I'm really intrigued by the cucumber dipping sauce and hope to try these soon!
frogincottage April 8, 2011
that looks gorgeous !!!!!
kmartinelli April 8, 2011
Thanks frogincottage!
fiveandspice April 7, 2011
Yum! These sound so tasty! We're Thai food lovers too, and these definitely look like something to try.
kmartinelli April 7, 2011
Thanks fiveandspice! I'd love to hear your thoughts if you do make them. They came out great but there's always room for improvement :-)
Yum, love Thai food, but although there are tons of places near me, I always think it is over priced and usually try to make my own. Love your flavor combinations!
kmartinelli April 7, 2011
Thanks! I love to make Thai food too - coconut curry has become one of my weeknight staples. But I never tried making curry puffs before.
Midge April 7, 2011
I know the feeling; when we moved to Boston a few years ago, we must've ordered Indian takeout twice a week to make up for years without it! These sound totally scrumptious
kmartinelli April 7, 2011
Thanks Midge! Mmm Indian food. Fortunately we have one vegetarian Indian place in town that's not half bad, but I still find myself making my own.