It is believed that curry puffs were created by the Malay people from the Malays Peninsula and they closely resemble the Portuguese empanada. They are widely available at Malay or Indian street food stalls, cafés, and marketplaces. In Malaysia, curry puffs are a snack enjoyed by every person of all ages. They are usually eaten for breakfast, as afternoon snacks, or an entrée. They are also perfect as finger food for parties and guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser.

Karipap: Malaysian Curry Empanadas [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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makes 40


For the Dough:

  • 5 cups plus 2 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose baking flour or 1 22-ounce bag gluten-free all-purpose baking flour
  • 1/3 cup, plus 2 tablespoons potato starch
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups boiled water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons rice bran oil
  • 1.2 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into tiny cubes
  • 1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 1/8 cups frozen baby peas
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 3 tablespoons coconut cream
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

For the Chilli Paste:

  • 3 fresh long red chilis, deseeded and cut into 1-inch pieces, lengthwise
  • 2 fresh small red chilis, deseeded (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small brown onion
  • 3 garlic cloves

Other Ingredients:

  • Rice bran oil, for deep-frying
  • Gluten-free flour, for dusting


To Make the Dough:

  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
  2. In a large bowl, combine and whisk together the gluten-free all-purpose flour, potato starch, xanthan gum, and salt. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture.
  3. Pour 1 1/2 cups of just-boiled water into the well in the bowl, stir, and combine the flour.
  4. Then add in the rest of the boiled water gradually as you use your hands to knead the dough until you have a smooth dough and is not sticky.
  5. Divide the dough into 2 portions. Transfer to sealable bags and let the dough rest in the refrigerator for an hour.

To Make the Filling:

  1. Place all the ingredients for the chili paste into a food processor and blend until you get a smooth paste.
  2. Heat up a frying pan with 3 tablespoons of rice bran oil. Stir-fry the chili paste, the curry powder, and curry leaves for 3 minutes on low heat or until aromatic.
  3. Then, add in all the sweet potatoes and stir-fry for 10-15 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are soft, stirring frequently.
  4. Follow by adding in all the chickpeas, peas, coconut cream, and salt, stir and combine all the ingredients for another 2 minutes on low heat. Discard curry leaves and set aside in a large bowl to cool.

To Make the Pastry:

  1. Dust the work surface and rolling pin with some gluten-free flour.
  2. Remove one bag of dough from the refrigerator and divide the dough into four smaller portions.
  3. Working with one portion at a time, roll into ropes of 1 1/2-inch thickness.
  4. Cut each rope into 1 1/2-inch pieces and roll them into balls.
  5. Flatten each ball into a disc or patty. Use the rolling pin to roll each ball into a circle.
  6. Continue to roll out each dough, turning it as you roll, to form a thin, 4-inch round pastry.
  7. Spoon some filling onto the middle of each pastry. With lightly dusted fingers, carefully press and seal the edges together. Press until the edges are thinned out.
  8. Using your fingers, fold over the edge, then twist and fold to form rope-like edge.
  9. Set aside on a tray until ready to deep-fry.

To Make the Curry Puffs:

  1. Heat up a wok half filled with rice bran oil. Deep-fry each filled pastry for around 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown on medium-low heat. Turn the pastry a few times to brown evenly during frying. Drain on kitchen paper towels.
  2. Repeat until all the curry puffs pastries are cooked. Deep-fry the pastries in 4-5 batches.


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