Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Jamaican curry turnovers, Zion-sent from Ras Chuck!

Okay, so I'm not a Rasta. I'm not even Jamaican, of which Rastas are a minority group. My hair's too short for dreads, I don't smoke weed, and the only Reggae I own is a Finley Quaye album and whatever Marley I was able to steal from my sister. I'm a nerdy white guy from Alabama, but, Jah, I can at least eat like a Rasta.

I gotta give props in advance to Adventure Melaney for the concept. Mine is a riff off her excellent recipe. I went for a fully-vegan version, and used allspice, which is very prevalent in Jamaican style curries.

Here's what you use for the pastry crust:
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 cup shortening, cold
  • 1/4 cup canola oil, chilled
  • 1/2 black plantain, boiled for 10 minutes in a pot of water, cooled, then mashed
  • 1/2 cup cold water, or as needed
Here's the filling:
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp crushed allspice berries
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 red potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans
  • 1/2 black plantain, diced
  • 1/2 tsp citric acid or 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt + more to taste

Let's start on the pastry. Combine your flours, curry powder, and salt. Once combined thoroughly, start to work your wet ingredients in, in the order of plantain, shortening, then canola oil. Make sure with the drier plantain and shortening that you work those in first. Work the dough with your hands and make sure to fully combine everything. You should get a consistency approaching that of wet sand. Add the canola oil and continue to do this. Add water, little at a time, until the dough just barely holds together. Do not work this any more than is absolutely necessary. You don't want to knead this. Kneading makes for stretchy and chewy bread, and since we want flaky delicate pastry dough, it would ruin that effect if you pounded on it for a few minutes.

Once it's cohesive, cover it and put it in the fridge. Keeping the dough cold makes it easier to hold together and work with.

While that's chilling, let's start the filling. Heat up your oil in your skillet on medium. Add your onions, salt, and curry powder. Bring heat down to low and sweat the onions until soft, roughly 10 minutes

Add your diced onions and bring up the heat to medium again. Let it cook a good 10 minutes.

Add black beans, plantains, and garlic. Cook another five minutes

Drop the temp to low. Add your coconut milk, allspice, and cayenne. Let this cook, stirring every so often, until the sauce thickens up slightly. Take off the heat.

Now, we're ready to put it all together. Go ahead and pre-heat your oven to 350. Remove your dough from the fridge. Roll it out using a rolling pin or wine bottle or whatever. Use extra flour if needed to prevent dough from sticking. You want a good 1/8" thickness when its rolled out.

Once its thin, get a bowl or something about five or six inches wide, give or take. It helps to have a rim on it that can be pushed into the dough.

The pastry dough isn't springy so you should be able to cut a circle without any fuss. Reserve your scraps in the main dough ball and keep making circles. When they're ready. spoon your filling onto them. Fill half of each dough circle, making sure to leave about half an inch of space from the edge of the pastry, so you have enough room to seal it.

Carefully fold the pastry over so the edges are on top of each other and you make a semicircle. With the tines of a fork, press firmly into the dough to seal everything inside.

Arrange them on your baking sheet like so...

Bake for about 35 minutes and remove from the oven. Set the turnovers on a wire rack to cool. You can eat them now, but they're wonderful the next day too.

Mmmm delicious Jamaican pocket pie goodness! Thanks again to Adventure Melaney for the inspiration.

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