27 July 2012

Curry Puff Dragons

"Puff the magic dragon lived by the sea
and frollicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee..."
Peter, Paul and Mary 1962

Marie-Laure's delightful watermill near Chateau Engalin. 
A weekend house party, lots of people coming and going at different times. Last minute arrivals with varied meal times and varied numbers, cocktails on the terrace before dinner or not?  But one thing's for sure the outdoor life and fresh country air means everyone's starving! A cook's nightmare. Well not necessarily. We were on just such a trip to see friends in the Gers region of South west France recently and to add to our problems the culinary standards of the Chateau owners are already stratospherically high. Chateau Engalin being very well known for it's culture of gastonomie. Daring to cook there is intimidating to say the least!

But back to the logistics of catering for hearty appetites in such a fluid and unpredictable environment. Maybe we are obsessed with food but really it just takes a little forethought and preparation and you can have most eventualities covered admirably. A couple of hours invested at the beginning of the break is guaranteed to  remove a lot of stress. All you need is a little secret armoury of weapons on standby and guests and fellow house mates will be very impressed. Key to this armoury we found were our curry puff dragons. They are essentially a Malaysian dish and talk about a versatile hunger weapon! They were very useful to augment the fresh fruits and salads on offer at lunch time delicious as a nibble with cocktails or as a casual starter before dinner. They can be made with minced chicken but we found wonderful 'steak hache' specially minced for us at the local butcher. We had fun making them up and then held them in the fridge and deep fried them as and when required.

Curry Puff Dragons


Half kilo lean minced beef
4 Medium sized potatoes peeled and finely diced
3 Onions diced
3 Tbsp Curry Powder
1 Tbsp Chilli Powder
1 Tbsp Turmeric Powder
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp Light soy sauce
1 Tbsp Sugar
Green peas, French beans and/or Carrots
2 Tbsps Vegetable Oil
1 Cup water
Seasoning to taste

3 Cups Flour
1 Tbsp Baking Soda
3 Tbsp Margarine at room temperature


Heat oil and fry onion until translucent add curry, chilli and turmeric powders and cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Add the meat, potato, sugar, salt and pepper and combine well. Lower the heat and continue until you are happy the potato is cooked but still slightly al dente. Test taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

While the filling is cooling sieve the flower, salt and baking soda into a large bowl and rub the margarine into the mix until it resembles fine crumbs. Gradually add water and knead into a dough using the heel of your hands to smooth. Roll into a ball, cover with a damp cloth and leave in the fridge to rest for about half an hour.

Once ready to assemble, flour a cool work surface and roll out the pastry to the thickness of say a pound coin. Cut into circles using a glass rim or pastry cutter. Take a teaspoon of the filling and place in the middle of each circle then fold in two and pinch or crimp the edge making sure no air remains inside. Place on a dusted tray, cover and store in the fridge until ready to cook.

To cook heat  6 cms of vegetable oil in a deep pan or deep fat frier. Gently lower the dragons into the hot oil in batches and fry until golden (2 - 4 minutes).

Posted by incredibly fed

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