Do you love empanadas? Can you never get enough samosas? Then you'll love these simple Thai Curry Puffs, made from buttery, flaky filo dough, with a savory potato curry filling!
Curry puffs, also known as Karipap, are typically deep fried, but I like to make things simple and easy in our kitchen. We're using our trusty air fryer for this recipe!
These tasty little appetizers originated in South East Asia near the Malay Peninsula and are popular snacks in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and China. Recently, they've become popular additions to Thai restaurants in America, typically using a yellow or Penang Curry base. (Penang curry is an orange, bright and "peanutty" coconut curry with coriander, lime, and chili flavors - my favorite!)
Don't worry - these aren't spicy unless you make them that way!
These are so easy to make with a few ingredients and spices you probably already have in your kitchen, or with a quick trip to the grocery store. I'm using a generic Curry Powder spice today, but you can use any curry powder or paste you have on hand. Just remember to add the paste in slowly if you are worried that you'll make these too spicy.
This recipe happens to be vegetarian, but add a little cooked shredded chicken, ground beef or diced shrimp to your filling mix for a heartier bite in each puff.
Prep the filling and/or the puffs in advance and then place them in the air fryer for a few minutes before serving, and voila! You have a warm, delicious, and crispy Thai appetizer to serve as your guests arrive.
(PS: see my footnotes at the bottom for baking or deep-frying these as well!)
Yield: 12 puffs
Time: 90 minutes
1 medium russet potato, in 1/4" cubes
1 teaspoon Vegetable Oil
1/4 medium White Onion, diced
1/4 cup Carrot, diced
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper, ground
1/2 teaspoon Coriander, ground
1/4 teaspoon Cumin, ground
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric, ground
1 tablespoon Curry Powder*
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Powder
1/2 cup Peas, frozen
6 ounces Coconut Milk, (or 1/2 can)
1 tablespoon All Purpose Flour, (for dusting)
1 roll of Filo Dough, thawed**
Vegetable or Avocado Oil, Cooking Spray
*If using curry paste instead of curry powder, be sure to add the paste in slowly if you haven't cooked with it before. Pastes are typically a bit more spicy and the more you add, the hotter your mixture will become. I recommend starting with 1 teaspoon in this recipe and adding more to taste if you desire.
**Filo Dough or Puff Pastry can be used for the curry puff dough.
Bring 4 cups of water to boil in a small sauce pot. Place the diced potato in the boiling water and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until a fork can easily pierce them. Drain and set aside.
Heat a large pan over medium heat until the pan is hot enough that a drop of water evaporates. Add the oil, onion, carrot, salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, curry powder, cayenne, and turmeric. Stir to combine. Cook for 6-8 minutes until the onion is soft (and translucent). Add the potatoes, peas, and coconut milk. Stir to thoroughly combine. Cook for another 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat while mashing down the potatoes so that they are smashed with some small chunks of potato still visible. Then set aside and let cool for 30 minutes, or overnight, in the refrigerator.
Prep your work surface by sprinkling flour on your counter or work surface. Unroll the Filo Dough. Separate the layers into 2 piles of Filo Dough sheets that are 8-10 sheets thick each. Using a 4-5" biscuit or round cookie cutter, cut out 6 circles from each pile of dough. Place a very damp, not dripping, paper towel over the circles to keep them moist.
Place 1/2-1 teaspoon of the potato filling onto the center of each piece of dough. Then fold them in half to enclose the filling. If using Filo dough, take a small cup of water and dab the edges of each layer with water using your fingers so that they stick together. If using pastry dough, crimp or roll over the edges to enclose the filling. Place them on your air frying basket, over the drip pan.
Lightly spray the puffs with vegetable oil (2-4 sprays over the tray) put them in the air fryer* on the lower rack and set the temperature to 450F degrees. Turn on the air fryer for 5 minutes. Then flip each puff and lightly spray the puffs again with oil. Return to the air fryer for another 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes and then serve.
*If you do not have an air fryer, you can bake these by brushing each puff with a beaten egg wash at 350*F for 10-12 minutes, or deep fry them in vegetable or peanut oil at 325*F for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown on both sides. Once done frying, set them on a paper towel to drain and cool for 8-10 minutes before serving.