Tuesday, January 18, 2011

CURRIED CHICKEN PUFFS with HOMEMADE PUFF PASTRY

Chicken Puffs
There could be certain small things which reminds you of your hometown bakeries,even if you are lost among modern decor and high end coffee shops, right? For me, these tiny things are things like puffs especially motta puffs (egg puffs),paper-il pothinja cake (sponge cake in candy wrappers), variety of biscuits (cookies are called as biscuits in India) and a lot of other sweet and savoury treats. I'm sure we can try and make them at home, but we might miss out that authentic taste of it. I really wanted to eat some 'nadan' chicken puffs sometime last week and I did, as you can see :) When I was a kid, I used to think, puffs were deep fried because they were oily! Now, I know how :)
Puff Pastry
When I was in India, I used to long to see readymade puff pastry in our local supermarket. Unfortunately, we never got any of those stuff and I am pretty sure we never will! :-) I used to dream then, of pushing my cart around each aisle and pulling out everything I wanted from the shelves.I still dream but certain conditions do apply! I keep telling myself,'Don't get used to readymade puff pastry or pie crust,when you go back to India, you will be denied of such luxuries'! For people here, it's not a luxury, but for people like us, yes it is. Ummm...they say,'Make hay while the sun shines'! and here I am making sure the hay doesn't get too dried fearing the days when there will be no sunlight.
Chicken Puffs

I made this batch of puff pastry way back in July and froze it. I completely forgot about it till I cleaned my freezer  and there it was, well wrapped and frozen like a brick! I was not sure whether it will thaw successfully. Luckily it did and I baked a sample batch. The pastry puffed up so beautifully and filled our little apartment with a wonderful aroma.

I used a leftover chicken curry as  filling.You can use whatever you like.

Chicken PuffsCURRIED CHICKEN PUFFS with HOMEMADE PUFF PASTRY
                                      
HOMEMADE PUFF PASTRY
Recipe taken from Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan,page no:46
Original recipe belongs to Michel Richard

Ingredients:
2 1/2 c unbleached all purpose flour ( You can use all purpose flour/maida too)
1 1/4 c cake flour ( To make cake flour at home: For 1 cup of cake flour , use 3/4 c all purpose flour with 2 tbsp cornstarch/cornflour)
1 tbsp salt
1 1/4 c ice water
4 sticks/1 lb/454 g of very cold unsalted butter
Chicken Puffs

Method:
Mixing the dough:
Put the all purpose flour, cake flour and salt together and whisk together.
Add all the water at once and mix till it forms a ball. You can use a food processor for these steps. The dough will be very moist and pliable and will hold together when squeezed between your fingers.
Remove the dough from the machine,form into a ball,and, with a small sharp knife, slash the top in a tic-tac-toe pattern.Wrap the dough in a damp towel and refrigerate for 5 minutes (don't skimp on it!).
Meanwhile place the butter between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and beat it with a rolling pin until it flattens into a square that's about 1" thick.Take care that the butter remains cool and firm; if it has softened or become oily, chill it before continuing.

Incorporating the butter:
Unwrap the dough and place it on a work surface dusted with all purpose flour.With the rolling pin,press on the dough to flatten it and then roll into a 10" square.Keep the top and bottom of the dough well floured to prevent sticking and lift the dough and move it around frequently.Starting from the center of the square, roll out over each corner to create a thick center pad with "ears" or flaps.
Place the cold butter in the middle of the dough and fold the ears over the butter, stretching them as needed so that they overlap slightly and encase the butter completely.You should have a package that's about 8" square.

The dough must be cold at all times. If your room is warm and you feel that the butter has softened,wrap the dough with a plastic wrap and chill it.

Making the turns:
I don't think I can do justice to you guys by typing out the method, so why don't you all go ahead and watch Michel in action? Do come back

Freezing the puff pastry:
It can be frozen at any stage, ideally after completing the six turns,roll it out into a flat sheet, chill it on a parchement -lined baking sheet ,and then, when it is cold, wrap it for freezer. I didn't do any of that, I just wrapped the dough (after 6 full turns) in cling film and then packed it in a ziplock bag and froze it for more than 6 months! :)
When you need to use it,thaw the dough, still wrapped , in the refrigerator.

Chicken puffs

How I made the Curried Chicken Puffs:
Since I froze the pastry in bulk and not the sheet form, I let it thaw on the counter in room temperature. Use any chicken/vegetable filling of your choice.

Pre-heat the oven to 425F/220C and position the rack in the middle.
Dust your work surface with flour, lightly.Cut out a small portion of the puff pastry and roll it out into 1/4" thickness, evenly. Try to keep it in a rectangular or square shape to avoid wastage.
Divide them further into squares using a sharp knife.Keep the filling in the center ,fold over and seal the edges using water. Place the filled pastry on a parchment/butter paper lined baking sheet.
Beat a whole egg and brush lightly on top of the filled pastry and bake for 25-30 mins or till the top is nice and golden.
Let it cool slightly as it gets crunchy when it cools.

If you are looking for some chicken filling ideas, you can have a look at my Kuttanadan Chicken Roast & Indian Samosa!


Verdict: It cannot get any more perfect than this for me, I am sure. It had such a wonderful crunch and the filling complemented really well. Jobin loved it and gave me a big thumbs up! Every evening after I made it, for almost a week, he used to come back from work and ask me for these crunchy puffs :)

Please don't go by the length of the recipe, it's really easy and the results are mindblowing! So get your rolling pins out, people! I am making another batch of puff pastry this week :)

I am sending these delicious Curried Chicken Puffs to Kerala Kitchen - a monthly event co-hosted by my dear blogger friend 'R' of  Magpie's Recipes and yours truly.So every time you make a Kerala 'inspired' dish, think of us, think of our event and send your entries to magpiemails AT gmail DOT com and make this event a success! There are many badges (Top Dish,Best Pic & Top Contributor )awaiting you!

16 Comments:

Divya Vikram said...

Yummy yummy!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those look terribly scrumptious and appetizing! Marvelous pastry.

Cheers,

Rosa

Krithi's Kitchen said...

Crunchy and appealing..

Divya Kudua said...

Making puff pastry is like a dream for me,believe me,one day I will!!I was wondering why you made it at home when you get everything there,but homemade stuff is indeed special,isn't it?Curry Puffs looks delicious!!

Sharmilee! :) said...

Perfect crispy puffs

Nags said...

gorgeous pictures!

Priya's Feast said...

I never miss any readymade pastry sheets when i see them.... Sure,Homemade is a class and worthy to try..

Magpie said...

Yayy!! Beautiful Chicken puffs for Kerala Kitchen! They took me right to the little bakeries with the paper wrapped salt biscuits and lemon cake and those very sweet, bright green bean shaped pastries. Sigh! I'm homesick :(
Well it's time for me to make some puffs!

Priya said...

Irresistible puffs..damn tempting..

Swapna said...

Perfect puffs and gorgeous pictures Ria:)...

Happy Cook said...

I love puffs; oh how i remember mom buying it always from the bakers and also as teenagers going with friends to eat them.
This looks so so good.

Sarah said...

So many layers in your puff pastry. I should definitely try it out since I live in the land-of-no-readymade-puff-pastry-sheets. And the Kerala kitchen looks like a wonderful idea and I'm thinking of submitting my latest post for it as well.

Kristen - Dine & Dish said...

Beautiful and delicious. Mouthwatering photos!

Ria Mathew said...

Thanks everyone,even I'm quite satisfied with these pictures!

Divya- So that shows you didn't read through my post! :P I know, I can get it here in supermarkets, but I don't want to get used to that luxury because once I get back to India, I will miss all that :)

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

Wow you made homemade puff pastry. I really need to try making it too! Yours looks perfect!

Are you returning to India? I thought you were there for good?

Seema Kamath alias Seema Abbas Ali said...

Girl,

I can't thank you enough for this recipe. I made the puff pastry on Saturday and made these puffs yesterday. I had halved the recipe coz of inhibitions and cold feet specially after looking at Michael. Wish I had stuck to the original quantity. I stuffed the puffs with your Kuttanadan Chicken Roast and it was absolutely yummy. Only thing I forgot to do was brushing the puffs with egg before baking them, so I didnt get that beautiful colour that your puffs have. I felt on top of the world coz it is certainly an achievement for me. I couldn't click a single pic, coz the smell of puffs baking had tempted us all so much so that we couldn't wait to attack them.

Thanks again Ria, wish you a Happy Valentine's Day and advanced Anniversary wishes...

Regards,
Seema
amchi-bong-konnexion.blogspot.com
seemabbas.blogspot.com

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