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I love Chinese layered pastries, but I hardly make them anymore because it involves water dough and oil dough and it’s time consuming to just prepare the dough, not to mention the work on the fillings! Thanks to COVID lockdown, I “sort of” have some free time to deal with water dough and oil dough project. I was craving for Malaysian curry puffs so why not make the spiral curry puffs. In Malaysia, the traditional curry puffs that selling at roadside stalls are smaller, with only potato fillings, and cost only around US 5 cents each. Spiral curry puffs, however, are much fancier– fancy look (spiral pattern and much larger size than traditional ones), fancy fillings (with egg and sometimes chicken), of course the price is on the fancy side too. I personally don’t care about the chicken and the egg in the fillings, but I just love the beautiful spiral look! Aren’t they beautiful?

Spiral Curry Puffs 螺旋咖喱角 (adapted from Katherine Kwa— Spiral Curry Puffs, makes 30 pieces)

Ingredients:

Fillings:
2 cloves garlic– minced
1/2 onion– finely diced
2 boneless chicken thighs– finely diced
6 cups finely diced steamed potatoes– steam for 10 minutes
8 hard boiled eggs– shell off and cut each egg into 4 wedges
8 curry leaves– minced
A little of water

Seasoning:
6 tbsps curry powder
2 tbsps chili powder
1 tsp chicken powder
1 tbsp sugar
Salt to taste

Water Dough:
2 3/4 cups flour
5 tbsps unsalted butter
2 tbsps sugar
1/2 tsp salt
210 ml water

Oil Dough:
2 cups flour
3 tbsps unsalted butter
9 tbsps shortening

Method:

  1. Prepare the fillings: sauté garlic, onion and curry leaves until aromatic then add in chicken. Stir around until chicken is just cooked. Add in all seasoning and cooked potatoes then stir to combine. Add in a little water if needed to slightly bind chicken and potatoes together. Set aside to cool.
  2. Prepare water dough: combine all ingredients in a bowl then rub butter into four mixture. Knead to form a smooth dough. The dough should be very soft. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Prepare oil dough: rub butter and shortening into flour then form ball (DO NOT knead). Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Wrap oil dough into water dough, make sure there isn’t any air pocket trapped in the dough, sealed tightly. Roll the dough out to a rectangle, then roll it up (like a cake roll) from the short side.
  5. Roll the dough out to rectangle again. Visually divide the dough into 1/3’s form the long side. Fold 1/3 from right side over and onto the center 1/3, then fold over 1/3 from left side, to form a small rectangle of three layer dough.
  6. Roll it out to rectangle, then roll it up like a cake roll. Cover to rest for 30 minutes.
  7. Use a knife in a chainsaw motion, slice dough into 30 portions (like slicing cake roll). Roll out each portion (from cut side) to form a 4 inch disc.
  8. Place dough disc in your hand, put 1 egg wedge and 1 heaped tbsp of chicken potato filling in the center. Fold over to form a half circle, pinch the edge to seal tightly. To pleat the edge, use the corner of your thumb to fold and press the edge. Repeat with remaining dough discs.
  9. Heat up a frying pan or pot with enough oil for deep frying. Fry curry puffs at medium heat until golden brown. As they fry, the spiral pattern will show up. Drain on paper towel. Serve immediately.

Regina’s Note:

  • Fillings can be prepared in advanced and keep in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before using so the fillings won’t be cold after frying.
  • For pleating the edge, please watch any curry puff tutorials on YouTube if needed.

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Caesar Salad DressingCaesar Salad Dressing

My family loves Caesar Salad. I can’t believe I had not made my own Caesar salad dressing all these years. The store bought version was either too salty, or too tangy, or too thick, hardly any anchovy taste…

The dressing is very easy to make, just put everything in food processor and done! This recipe I got from Once Upon A Chef is very simple. Like the author said, “… rich and creamy… It’s not overly garlicky or fishy– it’s just right.” I made some modifications to the recipe but overall still in the loop. The dressing still tastes finger licking GOOD….

Caesar Salad DressingCaesar Salad Dressing

Caesar Salad Dressing (adapted from Once Upon A Chef, yields 1 1/3 cups)

Ingredients:

2 cloves garlic, chopped
5 anchovy strips, roughly cut into pieces
2 tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce– see note below
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Put all ingredients in a food processor, blend until well combined. Keep dressing in a clean glass jar, and use clean spoon to take out dressing each time.

Regina’s Note:

  • Worcestershire sauce: I don’t use it so I don’t have it at home. My substitute is chinese black rice vinegar, which is tangy with a sweetness to it. Regular vinegar will be too tart.
  • Prepare the dressing in advance will bring out the flavor of anchovy later.
  • The more cheese you add the thicker the dressing.
  • The author said dressing will keep for about a week in the fridge, but my dressing was still good until we finished it (3 weeks maybe?). Just use a clean spoon each time when you take dressing out of the glass jar.

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I found out I like lemon more and more, especially the Eureka variety that really has a very refreshing lemony fragrance. Unfortunately, for lemony baked goods I get from stores, it’s usually too sweet and not lemony enough for my liking. I want to taste the tangy flavor… with this mind I created this cookie recipe to try for our annual Christmas cookie bake at home.

The results? I like it a lot. The coconut flavor is there but subtle compared the sunny cheery lemons. These cookies give a refreshing change to the typical sweet cookies around Christmas holidays. The glaze is a MUST!

May your Christmas as joyous as these lemon shorties!

Coconut Lemon Shortbread Cookies. Before glaze. Look at the yellow specks of lemon zest!

Coconut Lemon Shortbread Cookies. Before glaze. Look at the yellow specks of lemon zest!

Coconut Lemon Shortbread Cookies, after glaze.

Coconut Lemon Shortbread Cookies, after glaze.

Coconut Lemon Shortbread Cookies (makes around 50 Cookies)

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut– grated and toasted to light brown
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh lemon zest (about 5 large lemons)– see note below
1/2 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter– softened

Lemon Glaze (mix until smooth):
1 cup powder sugar, plus a little more if needed
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients (except butter) in a large bowl. Mix to blend well.
  2. Add butter and use finger to rub butter into the flour mixture, until it forms a dough.
  3. Place dough on parchment paper. Shape the dough into a log and roll it up tight (using a rolling pin if you feel comfortable with this method, see note below). Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours until harden.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking pan with parchment paper.
  5. Cut dough into 1/4 inch thickness and place on baking pan, 1 inch apart. Bake for 20-22 minutes, turning halfway during baking. To prevent cookies from spreading out too much in the oven, keep unbaked dough in the fridge at all times until it’s ready to bake.
  6. After removing for the oven, let cookies sit in baking pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Once cookies are completely cooled, dip the cookies top into lemon glaze then let them dry for 1 hour. When the glaze is dried, you can stack the cookies and store in airtight container.

Regina’s Note:

  • Lemon zest: To help lemon zest mix into flour mixture better, I washed lemons and dry completely with paper towel to keep the zest as dry as possible.After zesting, I finely chopped instead of grating lemon peel from straight– I found grating will break out the lemon oil in the peel and form little lumps, which is hard to break up in flour mixture.
  • Lemon glaze: Even with 1/2 cup of lemon zest in the cookie dough, the unglazed cookies still don’t have a prominent lemon flavor to my liking. Lemon glaze really brings out the soul of that bursting refreshing lemony flavor. Take care of the ratio of lemon juice and powder sugar, thicker glaze results in sweeter instead of tangy flavor. Thinner glaze creates more rundown which means thinner layer of glaze, resulting less prominent lemon flavor.
  • Grated desiccated coconut: always toast to light golden brown (in a dry clean frying pan, low heat stir constantly) to bring out the aroma of coconut. I like to use unsweetened coconut because it doesn’t stick together after grating and toasting, making it easier to mix with flour mixture. If sweetened coconut is used, reduce amount of sugar.

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