Thursday, May 16, 2013

Daring Cooks May 2013 Challenge: En Croute~ Kerala Meat Puffs

Our lovely Monkey Queen of Don’t Make Me Call My Flying Monkeys, was our May Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to dive into the world of en Croute! We were encouraged to make Beef Wellington, Stuffed Mushroom en Croute and to bring our kids into the challenge by encouraging them to create their own en Croute recipes!

En croute translates to any food that has been wrapped in pastry dough and baked in the oven. Yes, people life in this month's Daring Kitchen is good, and to gushingly fine heights. Clearly this is  the  right! best! way to consume your favorite foods, all pocket-tucked in crisp, feathered dough.

The possibilities for en croute can be ambitiously endless and by this I mean, if it makes your tastebuds sing, then why not? Which is how I reached today's predicament. For though we were offered three stellars from our host, the mind here was running one track to singularly take on a dough wrapping destination close to my heritage, familiar to my palate. A savory treat similar to the one here, yet of grander reputation; enter now Kerala meat puffs, a region's answer to beef and pastry fixings. In it, we come across a nucleus of generous seasoned ground meat clinging to an encrusting supplement of golden pastry; thus reaching Level of Indescribable Awesome, and an endresult quite difficult not to like.

This could very well be a much delayed ode to the beefy puff. Where I'm from, the item's cult like status shows especially well when cues line outside local bakehouses, on sideroads where manned street carts offer these favored coffee/tea snacks. Yes, that's right, meat puffs come from that genre of appetizer/ short eats served fastidiously at the Indian's teatime, a vague multi-hour window stretching anywhere from after lunch upto a couple minutes before supper. The uninterrupted show of mouthwatering meat filled pastries fits perfectly into the laws of equilibrium for meatpuff supply and demand, and is equally responsible for a locale of very happy people.

Sauteed with spice, masala and flavor, these puff cores are great introduction to Kerala style beef, albeit on a much swifter level. Capsuling masala'ed meat, the pastry overcrust offers that just- right- bite balancing in its intense insides. Baked to a near burnished brown, this is the perfect hand- to- mouth nosh, one of shockyoursense magnitude.
Meat puffs are a big deal in this household, often greeted with expected squeals of excitement and woot! woot!'s. Being a cinch to make and the aftermess an easier cleanup, it requires not more than my three man crew. For this is one of those rare moments that I often request of their services, with mixing, formbuilding and the like. The sets of hands, small, medium, even the large can work multiple batches, baking up significant lots of this home favorite. Sad to say, this was not the case in today's puffmaking agenda. Since being a late show to our Challenge party, I had to bring this one to the table and fast. After sauteing, assembling, baking, eating, phototaking eating and scribbling(whew!), my segue should reach finish line before the day's end. And let me tell you, the desperation to post and desire to chow lead to much accelerated productiveness. So I thank you all for listening in. You may now take it and run.

To dear hostess Monkey Queen, thank you much. How fantastic could it be that this much loved meatpuff packet cued in perfect to our May page, an apt debut in a most excellent en croute task.

Confession... I used frozen peas and carrots. You can do the same if you have a conspicuous half package that has seen better days lying around in your freezer. Otherwise just buy the peas.

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 serranos (green chillies), chopped (seeded if preferred)
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 pinch turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp salt or enough to flavor
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ¼ c frozen peas
  • 1 large egg, beaten 
  • 1 tbsp water 
  • Over medium flame, heat oil in skillet, saute onion, allow to brown.Then add ginger, garlic, serranos until cooked through .
  • Spoon in cayenne, coriander, turmeric, cumin, and saute for an additional minute. 
  • Add the ground beef, combine well. Lid the skillet, cook covered until meat is done.
  • Remove lid, mix in salt.
  • Increase heat to high, and cook until moisture is thoroughly absorbed, app 2-3 min. 
  • Stir in garam masala. Add peas at this point. Mix well. Turn off heat. Set aside to cool a bit.
  • Have pastry sheets ready and thawed. Gently roll out the dough sheet(s) with a rolling pin.
  • Cut sheets into squares large enough for a tablespoon of filling. Put a tablespoon of the meat in the middle and fold over to cover the filling. Press sides to seal.
  • Whisk together beaten egg and water and brush the tops with this egg wash. Bake at 375°F degree F for 20 minutes or till it is golden brown.

No worries if you have leftover meat. Between two slices of bread it makes for a splendid next day sandwich.

From an earlier DB challenge~  for those wanting to make puff pastry from scratch.


"Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
 And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these."
Matthew 6:27-29


  1. The puffs look so perfect Tisa... Feel like grabbing one

    1. Thank you, Vimitha- go ahead grab- maybe the screen will yield :-))

  2. Wow this looks so delicious:) especially the last picture Tisa

    1. Thank you Rekha- I'm always worried about the pictures- glad you liked!

  3. Tisa ,those beautiful looking meat puffs bring back a flood of memories.I donoo if it is the appearance or the smell of freshly baked puffs that entices me more.

    1. Aww thank you, Meena- I know exactly what you mean..flood of memories is right!

  4. love the aroma of freshly baked home puffs... ur snaps as usual are tempting... should I run to nearby shop or should I make it :) ... great work girl... the last snap is very tempting
    Noel Collections

    1. Come on over, Reshmi, I'll pack a few :-))

  5. ayyo tisa... looks so delicious... i really wish i was somewhere around there... i wouldn't have even left a single pc baaki...

    1. Ayyo Rafeeda, we can hopefully cook up a batch together.

  6. Tisa, lovely dish and pics! Cheers

  7. These would recieve cheering in my house too. The kids love making and eating them :)
    Beautiful clicks Tisa and a wonderful combination of flavors

    1. Aww thanks Sawsan- yes, I think anything with a fluffy pastry cover is gold in kids' eyes.

  8. Wow this just amazing n love ur clicks too... I won't take beef so going to try with mutton


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!