Epok-epok sardin / Sardine-filled curry puffs

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I guess one of the things about living in the UK and so far away from Singapore is that you end up missing the food a lot. Sure, there are Singaporean/Malaysian restaurants that you can go to, but whenever I go to these places, I just end up comparing how much more I could get for the same price back home.

Recently, I had a hankering to make some curry puffs or epok-epok as we call them in Malay. I remember when I first came to this country and seeing my first Cornish pasty and immediately associating it with the more familiar curry puff, albeit it looking more like a giant-sized curry puff. It's probably more closely-related to an empanada actually.

Some of the normal fillings are:
1. Curried chicken and potatoes
2. Sardines
3. Vegetables such as bean sprouts, carrots and sengkuang (yam bean)

I decide to go for sardines for this one. Spicy sardines, yum!

Filling ingredients:
400g of tinned sardines in tomato sauce
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 onions, chopped
5 green chillies, chopped
5 red chillies, chopped
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp curry powder
½ tsp cumin powder
juice of ½ a lime
salt and pepper, to taste

Pastry:
300g plain flour
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp ghee
½ tsp salt
170ml hot water

Heat 4 tablespoons oil and fry onions and chillies until fragrant and beginning to brown. Add sardines with the tomato sauce and stir for 2 – 3 minutes.

Break up the sardine and mash them into the onion mixture. Sprinkle over the curry powder and cumin and stir over moderate heat for about 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add salt, sugar and lime juice and stir well. Turn off heat and set aside until cold, while you make the pastry.

For the pastry, combine the flour, oil, ghee and salt and mix until it resembles breadcrumbs. Then add the water and mix (careful not to overwork it) until you get a soft dough. Leave it to rest for 15-30 minutes.

When the dough is ready to be worked with, divide it into 20 small balls. Flatten each ball into a circle and put 1 tablespoon of filling in the middle of each circle. Fold into half/semi-circles and crimp the edges.

Deep-fry until golden brown and drain on kitchen towel paper. Then enjoy!