Sunday, September 9, 2012

Vegetable Curry Bun

The Curry Bun. A clever invention made popular to meet a region's need for curry and starch. It satisfies the Indian's fierce appetite for spicy along with a fair share of grain. With more than half the population of India favoring rice as their number one staple, a good many would very well claim bread as a well standing second. Carbs are delicious, no doubt and when they're dished up with a pool of curry, it becomes a desirable meal. Served on occasion, in Kerala households, it is the lazy man's solution for quick, semi-traditional and oft-sustaining fare.

So, here we have a bun or roll, kneaded and shaped more like an edible cave making room for lightly seasoned ingredients. Rolling dry curry into dough bun seems a technique too complex for layman, but not so . This recipe requires no Master Chef skill, nor much fanfare. Curried vegetables come together in all of 10 minutes and breadmaker meticulously churns out a blooming good dough. Assembly is effortless, and bundles rest a bit before their entrance into the oven. 

A base of of black eyed peas, a throw- in of mushrooms, the usual mix of onions, garlic and ginger give in to a beautiful bun stuffer. But only after being the side to our dinner plates the night before (hence, we experience leftover magic). With the background elements of fragrant masala and tangy lemon doing their thing, black eyed pea/ mushroom curry becomes the exceptional end product to dressing a superior and satisfying bun. 

The breadmaker's dinner roll dough turned out to be fantastically sturdy, with just enough pull to envelope an oversized tablespoon of vegetable curry. Not to mention it's so round and cute, an impressive dough giftwrap packaging a blissful and savory surprise. 

Curry buns can pretty much be served any time of day.  It makes for a great breakfast shortcut when heading out the door in the morning, a meal held in the palm of your hand and possibly one stuffed between both cheeks.

For the Bun ~
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 ¾ c bread flour
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • ¼ c water
  • 1 egg
  • ⅞ c milk, 
  • ¼ c butter
  • Measure all ingredients into bread pan.
  • Select dough setting
  • Press start
  • When finished and unit signals 0:00, take dough and turn out on counter.
  • Punch down and divide dough into 12-16 equal sized balls.

All ingredients should be at room temperature when preparing dough in a breadmaker.
Don't have breadmaker?  I'd try the dinner recipe roll here, it provides a yield close to the one above.

For the Curry Stuffing~
  • 2 tbs cooking oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ medium onion
  • 1-2 jalapenos, chopped fine (deseed, if preferred)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • ¼" piece ginger, minced or grated
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1-2 dried, crushed red  chili(optional)
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ c sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 c softened and cooked black eyed peas or ¾ of 15 oz. can of black eyed peas, strained and rinsed
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp salt or more, according to taste
  • few sprigs of cilantro, chopped
  • Heat oil in a medium skillet  and temper mustard seeds until they pop.
  • Add onions and fry until soft and translucent.
  • Add jalapeno(s), garlic, ginger and saute for a minute until cooked.
  • Stir in the spices from coriander to cumin, cook an additional minute or so, until oil lightly separates from the ingredients, (when you get a good whiff of the spices).
  • Put in the mushrooms, fry until brown and cooked.
  • Stir in the black eyed peas. Combine.
  • Pour in lemon juice, stir an additional minute until all moisture is absorbed. 
  • Add in salt, stir. 
  • Sprinkle with cilantro.
  • Take off heat and set aside to cool.

Ingredient needed: 1 egg, beaten
  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Flatten or roll out each ball with rolling pin into a 5 -6 inch disc.
  • Place 1 generous tablespoon of filling onto center of the round.
  • Take up the sides up and over the filling, closing dough and pinching ends together smoothing seam. Repeat with remaining.
  • Place seam side down on lined baking tray(s) and leave to proof 10 minutes.
  • Brush top and sides of buns with the egg wash. 
  • Place in oven on middle rack and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Meat and seafood make for perfect bun fillers. Use rotisserie for easy Tandoori chicken buns/ chili chicken buns.

I had my first bite of curry bun at Hot Breads after moving straight out of college and to the city where I got my first job, when plentiful rolls and croissants were becoming a common item on menus throughout  Kerala. My best friend and I would frequent the famous bakeshop and gully away stuffed flatbreads, curry buns and taco rolls. Because back in the day, metabolism was on my side.

Sidenote~ No, it's not your eyes. The font has a mind of it's own today. I'm sorry for the crazy appearance of script on the page. Blogger has been acting up and for some reason has decided not to straighten out, hopefully it stops with just this post. 

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16

Let it sparkle, let it glow, Let It Shine!


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