The British left behind many legacies when they quit India. The most perceived is, of course, the pervasive presence of the English language in the average Indian's life, which, has largely contributed to the country being catapulted as a significant player on the global scene.
I am indeed thankful for the many other subtleties that are not always mainstream. Being married to a Parsi, these little things are brought much more often to my notice. Parsis were the most anglicized during the British Raj and perhaps, even maligned for their adoption of many English traditions. But, they are a lot more clued into the Queen's culture than most Indians. Besides being originally Persian also helps!
One of the little things that I am glad was a fallout of colonization, is tea with pastries. Bakeries are a true delight to me and the smell of fresh, baking bread and pastries is the best ever mood booster! And, I love the fact that the bakeries have savory and sweet treats for the so inclined.
Tea, as you all know, is my favorite time of the day. Since I was a kid, I have loved having something warm with my tea. At home, mum would make a simple snack, like upma or more exotic stuff on weekends, like masala vadai. And, some days, when she stepped out for errands she would stop by a bakery and pick up fresh Puffs!! Those were my absolute favorites!
Chicken or Egg puffs;spicy stuffing encased in flaky pastry. Hard to ask for more pleasure in life! In India, making pastry isn't that easy but here it's a simple joy, especially with frozen pastry sheets so easily available. I made these puffs on a cold day recently with leftover chicken curry, spicy, aromatic and warming. The curry itself makes for a great main course with rice or roti...
Chicken Curry Puffs
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tsp milk for egg wash
(you won't need all of it for the puffs but you can make a meal of it with rice/bread/roti)
1/2 kg boneless chicken thighs
1 large onion, diced fine
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup whole milk yogurt
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp garam masala or curry powder
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
salt per taste
Cut the chicken into bit size pieces and marinate in the spice mix, salt and yogurt. Refrigerate for an hour.
Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add the chicken and saute uncovered for five minutes. Cover and cook stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked through. If there is a lot of water, cook uncovered till the sauce/gravy is thickened.
Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with rice/roti or use as stuffing
Roll out the pastry to one inch wider on each side. Cut 3 inch circles of the puff pastry. Place a bit of filling in the center. Brush the edges with egg wash and cover with another circle of pastry. Crimp the edges with a fork.
Bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Cool for a few minutes but serve warm. Store in an airtight container. They are yummy cold too :D