Makes 8 individual stuffed breads
Fried bread stuffed with a savory curried filling is a favorite snack or pick-up lunch in Japan. You'll find racks of these buns at Japanese bakeries and convenience stores, but this version is especially delicious. Note: The word pan is derived from Portuguese and they introduced yeast breads to Japan in the 1500s.
1. Prepare the Curried Beef Filling and chill, as directed below.
2. To make the dough, sprinkle the yeast over the lukewarm water in a small bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes; then stir to dissolve the yeast.
3. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and mix with the paddle attachment on low speed. Add the dissolved yeast and mix in enough cold water (about 1 cup) to make a soft dough that forms a ball on the paddle. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium-low speed for 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand until smooth and supple, about 2 minutes. (Alternately, beat the dough with a wooden spoon to mix as best you can, then turn out and knead by hand for 10 to 15 minutes.)
4. Place the ball of dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat the bowl with the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
5. Punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal balls. Place the balls on a lightly oiled plate. Dust with flour, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for another hour before rolling out.
6. Dust a baking sheet with flour. Working with 1 ball at a time, roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface into a 6-inch (15 cm) round. Place 2 tablespoons of the cooled filling in the center of the round. Bring up two opposite sides of the dough to meet over the filling and pinch the seam closed to form an oval-shaped bun about 4 inches (10 cm) long. Be sure that the seam is well sealed. Place the bun seam side down on a floured baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap while forming the remaining buns.
7. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep fryer, or at least 2 inches of oil in a large deep saucepan, to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C). Place the flour, beaten eggs, and panko in separate shallow dishes. Roll the buns in the flour, then dip in the egg, and finally in the panko to coat.
8. Add half the buns to the hot oil and fry, turning occasionally, until they are a deep golden brown, about 4 minutes. (After about 1 minute, spike 5 or 6 holes in each bun with a skewer to prevent them from exploding.) Do not undercook, or the dough will be soggy. Using a slotted spoon, remove the buns to a wire rack set over a baking sheet to drain. Fry the remaining buns in the same fashion. Serve the Curry Pan warm or at room temperature.
Makes about 2-1/2 cups
1. To make the filling, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring often, until browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the beef to a plate.
2. If there is less than a tablespoon of fat left in the pan, add the remaining olive oil. Add the sliced onions and saute over medium-high heat, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the grated onion, carrot, and potato; sauté for 1 minute. Return the meat to the pan. Add the wine and bring to a boil over high heat, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula. Boil until the liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes.
3. Add enough water to cover the potato, about 1-1/2 cups, and the curry paste. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the meat and potatoes are just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat to high, and boil, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes.
4. If the sauce is not thick enough, stir in the dissolved cornstarch and cook until the filling is very thick, about 1 minute. Season with salt to taste. Transfer the filling to a large bowl and spread out so it can cool quickly. Then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Note: The filling must be cold before you fill the dough. To speed up the process, you can set the beef over a bowl of ice and water and stir occasionally until it is cool.
This page created November 2007
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