Malay Curry Puffs - Street Food Asia


These yummy things are basically the meat pies of Malaysia (although there are vegetarian versions too) and they are soooo good. My good friend Thana takes me to Brickfields, one of the largest Indian areas of Kuala Lumpur, and we stop by Ammar’s Indian Cake Stall, where he has been coming for Indian snacks since he was a young boy. It’s a family-run stall that’s quite famous in these parts and people flock for the delicious, inexpensive home-style snacks and cakes. When we arrive, they’re doing a brisk trade in all sorts of fried goodies – you just grab a basket and take what you like from the huge assortment. They’ve got pakoras, appam, vadai and an addictive sweet called urundai, which look like dumplings and have soft, gooey centres filled with palm sugar. I love watching curry puffs being made. After rolling out and filling the pastry semi-circles, they use a special little cutter–crimper contraption to make the edges neat. When they’re finished, they’re all perfectly uniform. You can easily make curry puffs at home without one of these gizmos, the old-fashioned way, by crimping them using your fingers.

- Luke Nguyen from Street Food Asia

Photographer Alan Benson



250g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

60g unsalted butter

1 litre vegetable oil, for deep-frying


3 tablespoons vegetable oil

20 fresh curry leaves

30cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons malaysian meat curry powder, dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water

200g minced beef

250g potatoes, peeled and cut into 5 mm cubes

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar


To make the filling, heat the vegetable oil in a wok, add the curry leaves, ginger, garlic and onion and sauté over a medium heat for 3–4 minutes, or until the garlic and ginger start to turn golden brown. Pour over the curry powder solution and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, then add the beef and stir-fry for a further 3 minutes, or until browned. Now add the cubed potatoes, salt, sugar and 125 ml water, bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender

Transfer the filling to a bowl and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, add the flour, baking powder, salt and butter to a large mixing bowl and mix with your fingertips until well combined. Pour in 125 ml water, a little at a time, and mix until a firm dough forms, then very lightly knead for 2 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator for 30 minutes to rest.

Divide the rested dough into 14 equal portions. Roll each portion into a small ball, then roll each ball out on a floured work surface into a thin circle about 8 cm in diameter.

Working with one piece at a time, pick up and gently stretch a dough circle and place 1 full tablespoon of filling in its centre. Bring the bottom of the pastry to the top to form a semi-circle and pinch the edges tightly to seal. Crimp the edges with your thumb and index finger, then repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok to 180°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 15 seconds. Fry the curry puffs in small batches for 8 minutes until they turn golden brown, crispy and flaky. Drain on a wire rack.

Serve hot or warm as a snack.

Phuong Nguyen