“Hot Cross Buns” (BBB April 2017)

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forsythiaBBB April 2017 summary: recipe for Kare Pan; spring at last; embracing diversity; deep-frying in a wok; statute of limitations for April Fooling; a Bread Baking Babes project;

* :-) O :-) Happy Easter! O :-) O * *

kare pan It’s Easter and spring really has sprung at last! What better way to celebrate than with hot cross buns?

Whoa!! That doesn’t look like a hot cross bun?!

What exactly IS the statute of limiatations on April Fooling? Even if it’s a little bit lame? Because, of course, it’s completely obvious that that isn’t even close to being a hot cross bun. :lalala:

In fact, it’s what Aparna chose for this month’s project for the Bread Baking Babes (BBB) April 2017: Kare Pan (Japanese Curry Buns)

Kare pan (curry bread), is a very famous Japanese snack which has been featured in many animes and dramas. It’s one of my favorite ways to eat curry. If you’re new to curry, kare pan is a great way to start! I had some left over curry from the night before, so I decided to make kare pan. You can eat it for lunch, dinner, or as a mid-day snack. I ended up eating too many and had to skip dinner…
– Mamaloli, Kare Pan Recipe

That’s right. No traditional hot cross buns this time round (or at least not on this page). But.

Let’s not forget the name of Aparna’s blog: My Diverse Kitchen….

Embracing diversity, here’s how kare pan making went:

BBB Kare Pan diary:

7 April 2017, 16:29 There MUST be a way to make these without deep-frying (not even shallow-frying in a wok). And of course, there are…. Naturally, Aparna anticipated this question and pointed to some articles.

– Nadeshiko, Instructables.com, Japanese Curry Buns (Kare-Pan)
Classic karee pan, and the type you will find sold everywhere in Japan, is fried karee pan but in this recipe I am going to show you how to bake it instead (just to make it a little healthier). The fried version is so delicious though, so I definitely recommend trying it!
– Shihoko, Chopstick Chronicles, CURRY BREAD – KAREE PAN ?????

10 April 2017, 09:28 Still waffling, I googled to find Kevin’s (Closet Cooking) article, where he wrote,

Kare pan or Japanese curry bread is curry wrapped in bread and covered in panko bread crumbs. It is normally deep fried though it can be baked.
– Kevin, Closet Cooking, Kare Pan (Curry Bread)

But Kevin ended up deep-frying!

I was a bit worried about the deep frying but it turned out ok. […] [K]are bread was amazing!! The golden brown crust was nice and light and crispy and the inside was soft and moist. […] Each bite was a crisp, soft, warm, and tasty moment of utter enjoyment.
– Kevin, Closet Cooking, Kare Pan (Curry Bread)

Not to mention that Aparna did say, There are baked versions but I don’t think they come anywhere near the traditional deep fried kind.
– Aparna, message to BBBabes

So… I’m flip-flopping. I’ve decided we WILL deep-fry after all – or rather, shallow-fry – in the wok.

10 April 2017, 10:44 Still thinking about the logistics here and Panko crumbs. I know we can get them. They’re probably even available at the supermarket. But Aparna had to make her own breadcrumbs because Panko crumbs aren’t readily available where she lives in India. However, I don’t think running day old bread through the blender will give the same texture.

A few years ago, to see what the fuss was about, we bought Panko crumbs from a Japanese supermarket on Queen Street. They were quite flaky – very different in texture from dried bread crumbs. They were also quite sweet, in a bland sort of way. So I googled for more information. (That’s the thing I love about the internet. Whenever I have a question, I can be assured that at least one other person has asked the same thing AND that at least one other person has answered.)

What sets [Panko] apart from standard breadcrumbs is its texture and the type of bread that’s used. While breadcrumbs can be made using a number of different types of bread, panko is made using white bread. There are two varieties of panko: white panko, which is made from white bread without any crust, and tan panko, which is made from the entire loaf. The bread is processed into large flakes, rather than crumbs, and then dried.
– Kelli Foster, Kitchn, The Difference Between Panko and Breadcrumbs
Panko bread crumbs have a coarse, airy texture. […] The key is to make large, coarse flakes instead of a fine powder. […]
Panko bread crumbs are used for texture and absorbency, not flavor. A mild-flavored white bread is a common choice for this reason, but you can use anything on hand. The loaf should be a day or two old, dry enough to crumble apart but not completely stale […] The defining difference between panko and ordinary bread crumbs is panko’s large, flaky texture. There are three ways to achieve this with home implements:
* Push strips of bread through the shredding disc attachment on a food processor.
* Cube the bread and pulse in a blender once or twice, or until coarse. This is a less consistent method.
* Grate by hand using the largest holes on your grater.

– wikiHow do anything… www.a.com/Make-Panko-Bread-Crumbs

I gather that traditionally, Japanese white bread is an egg bread that has some sugar (which would account for the sweetness of the commercial Panko crumbs we tried).

So. I know I should make my own crumbs. But I might be lazy. Instead of using ridiculously over-priced panko crumbs, we’ll use crushed cornflakes. Because I think that cornflakes will work just as well….

13 April 2017, 10:49 I suddenly comprehended that 16 April is Easter Sunday and that these buns really HAVE to be turned into hot cross buns.

Thank goodness for the internet. Naturally, I quickly realized that there would be zero hits for how to score Kare-Pan. So I altered the search words to “deep-fried dough scoring” and came across Beavertails. Of course! (I thought maybe crullers were scored but it seems their unique shape is made with a mould.)

[P]lace [dough on] a lightly floured countertop. Shape into 8 equal sized pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece of dough into an oval shape. If you like, score a crisscross pattern in the top of dough.
-Miranda Keyes, Food Network Canada, How to Make a Classic Canadian Fried Dough Treat

Tomato Chutney 16:27 We decided that it would be nice to have some sort of sauce with the Kare-Pan. So T made tomato chutney. Tomorrow morning, he’ll make potato curry. Or maybe I should suggest that he make Aloo Anardana….

14 April 2017, 12:15 I just mixed and kneaded the dough. Wow. That was easy. But why do I suddenly have a nervous feeling that it was too easy?

The dough is now sitting in the cold section of the kitchen by the back door (it’s around 10C). Here’s hoping that in about 8 hours, the dough will have nicely doubled.

Fingers crossed that all goes to plan.

08:43 NOoooooooooooo!!! :stomp: :stomp:

The dough is now in the oven with only the light turned on. Because, you guessed it, it didn’t even budge, not even to shiver, in the cold section by the back door. :stomp: :stomp:

potato curry But we’re assuming that it’s going to double now. And we’re going to go ahead and make potato curry. Without peas. (How did that happen? I can’t remember the last time there were zero sweetlets in the freezer!) We do have some green beans though. We’ll cut those up small so they’ll look like peas….

We were also very surprised to learn that we had no cashews. (I thought we always had cashews!) So we used raisins instead.

10:04 The dough is rising. Finally.

It hasn’t doubled yet but we should be able to have Kare Pan for lunch. Shouldn’t we?

Actually, thinking about it, we could make them anyway, even if the dough doesn’t rise. They’ll be like samosas….

10:11 We just watched the Bread Channel’s Kare-pan Recipe YouTube video. Oh My!! According to the linked recipe, there is just 1 teaspoon of active dry yeast. But, whoa! There’s no way that the fellow in the video put in well over a tablespoon of yeast. No wonder the recipe says that it only takes 3 hours from start to finish!

And that curry… ewwwwww! Soy sauce? Sake?? Tomato ketchup??? Yikes!! (Good thing Aparna gave us her idea to make a nice dry potato curry!)

There’s something so addictive about YouTube, isn’t there? I can’t stop!!

I love the dog here! See how much he helps. (I thought this video was going to help me learn how to make a cross shape in our kare-pan. Melonpan are quite interesting buns, but… Alas, no. I’ll guess I’ll have to wing it.)

shaping kare pan 12:18 Quel relief! The dough had doubled nicely by around 10:30 this morning, which meant we could indeed have them for lunch.

Rolling them out was a breeze. As was filling them and forming them into balls.

Because there were only four buns and one large egg to hold the crushed cornflakes on, we decided to double dip. Oh boy! The crust was really crispy and stayed crispy!

As for the cornflakes, and why we used them instead of bread crumbs, T’s mother ALWAYS coated fish in crushed cornflakes. We have been feeling nostalgic about both of our mothers. So, crushed cornflakes it was.

When I introduced the idea, I was a little surprised that T was very much against me scoring crosses in all the buns. He was certain that filling would want to escape and/or the coating would come off. So we scored just one, to see if it would work.

kare pan No filling escaped. And no coating fell off. Not even remotely.

But the cross didn’t really show up either. So for the others, we will just cut the crosses in as we serve them.

shaping kare panKare Pantesting oil
Kare Pan

We were a little nervous about whether the bread was cooking or not. We kept saying that we should have baked the buns!

As it happens. The bread did get cooked. It is a little bit on the heavy side but it still had quite a nice crumb.

Kare Pan

In retrospect, I think it might have been better to use a cabbage curry or palak paneer as the filling. Oddly, the potato curry, that was delicious and flavourful on its own, ended up being on the bland side.

However, bland or not, lunch was delicious.

Thank you, Aparna!

Here is the BBB April 2017 Kare Pan recipe we were given. And here is what I did to it, by making just half the recipe:

BBB Kare-Pan
adapted from Mamaloli’s recipe for Kare Pan (Japanese Curry Buns)

makes 4-6 buns


  • 90gm water, body-temperature
  • 1gm (1/4 tsp) active dry yeast ¹
  • 0gm (none at all) sugar (BBB recipe calls for 2gm (1/2 tsp))
  • 11gm oil
  • 140gm flour ²
       » 30gm 100% whole wheat flour
       » 100gm unbleached all-purpose flour
       » 5gm wheat germ
       » 5gm vital wheat gluten
  • 3gm Kosher salt ³

Potato Curry 4
(sorry no measurements…)

  • Russet potatoes, unpeeled
  • vegetable oil (we use sunflower)
  • brown mustard, cumin, fennel, nigella seeds
  • dried chili(s), chopped
  • turmeric, powdered
  • fresh ginger, chopped
  • onion, chopped
  • green chillies, chopped in coins
  • raisins (normally, we’d use cashews, but we didn’t have any)
  • green beans, chopped in coins (normally, we’d use peas, but we didn’t have any)
  • seasalt and pepper
  • water

Coating and Frying

  • 1 egg, well beaten 5
  • good shot crushed corn flakes (the BBB recipe calls for Panko crumbs)
  • vegetable oil for frying (we used sunflower)
  1. mix the dough: Late in the evening the day before you plan to make kare-pan:
    • Pour body-temperature water (why body-temperature?)into a mixing bowl large enough for the final dough to triple (let’s pretend I’ve already spewed out my feelings about how you should heat up cold water and NEVER use water from the hot water tap…). Whisk in yeast until it has dissolved.
    • Whisk in oil and dump flours, wheat germ and salt on top. Using a wooden spoon, stir everything together into a rough dough.
  2. kneading:
    • Using one hand to turn the bowl and the other to dig down to the bottom to lift the dough up to the top, turn, fold, turn, fold, etc. the dough until it is smoothish and the starter is fully mixed in. As you knead, resist the temptation to add any more flour or water.
    • Once the dough is smooth and silky, pretend that you didn’t even notice the part in the BBB recipe that said to “Roll the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, coating it with the oil.” Instead, simply cover the bowl with a plate and leave in a coolish part of the kitchen overnight so the dough can double.
  3. beginning the shaping: In the morning of the day you plan to make kare-pan:
    • The dough should have doubled. If it hasn’t, panic as you put it into a warmer area of the kitchen to bring it up to “room temperature”. It should double nicely in a relatively short time.
    • Turn the doubled dough out onto a very lightly floured board (just a dusting will do). Cut the dough into 4-6 even pieces and shape each one into a ball. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside while you make the curry.
  4. make the curry:
    • Wash potatoes well. Place in a pot of cold salted water and bring it to a boil. Cook, covered, until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
    • Heat oil to medium heat in a wok. Add cumin, mustard, fennel and nigella seeds and leave until they start to pop.
    • Add dried chili, turmeric, ginger and onion. Continue cooking til the onion is tender.
    • Add parboiled potatoes, green beans (peas is really better…), chopped green chillies, salt and pepper. Coarsely mash the potatoes into the other ingredients with a spatula.
    • Remove from wok and set aside on the counter to cool in a dish until it’s time to do the final shaping of the Kare-Pan.
  5. finishing the shaping: Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Pour a small amount of water into a small dish and set it within reach of your board. Beat the egg into another small dish. Pour crushed cornflakes onto a shallow plate.
    • Take one dough ball out from under its cover onto the very lightly floured work surface. Press it flat, and then roll it out into a disc about 1cm thick. Dip your little finger into the water and wet the edges of the disc. Spoon a small amount of potato curry into the center, being careful not to touch any filling to the edges. Pull the edges up towards the center, making sure the seam is pinched closed.
    • breading: Dip the ball into the egg and then roll it in the crushed cornflakes to cover it completely. Place the ball seam side down on the parchment paper. Dip the dough ball into the egg, covering it completely, then into the crushed corn flakes. Dip once more into the egg and again into the crushed corn flakes. (Double dipping is optional but does make the final bread extra crunchy on the outside.)
    • scoring: Using a very sharp knife, cut a cross in the top, being careful not to cut through to the potato curry. Cover with a damp tea towel.
    • Repeat with each dough ball, placing each shaped bun well apart from the others.
    • Let the covered tray rest on the counter for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. frying: Put wok over high heat and pour in a good shot of oil.
    • Check that the oil is hot enough by dipping a wooden chopstick in – it should bubble around the chopstick furiously (alternatively, you could use a thermometer; the BBB recipe says “(365 degrees F/ 185 degrees C)”). Gently drop a couple of the shaped buns into the oil, using a wooden spoon or spatula to turn them so they brown evenly. When they are uniformly dark gold, remove them to a wire basket, placed on the edge of the wok, to drain.

Serve immediately with tomato chutney.


1.) yeast The full BBB recipe calls for “[3gm] 1 tsp dry active yeast (or [2.5gm] 3/4 tsp instant yeast)”. I’ve always used active dry and instant yeast measure for measure, so decided to use the instant yeast measurement. And then, because of adding zero sugar to the dough, I made yet another executive decision that less is more.

2.) flours The BBB recipe calls for “[160gm] 1 1/4 cups all-purpose bread flour, [60gm] 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, [55gm] 1/2 cup cake flour”. Because we can’t easily get “bread flour”, I added some vital wheat gluten. I also decided that there was no good reason to use cake flour. So I simply added a bit more all-purpose as well as a little wheat germ, because I believe the allegation in Michael Pollan’s book, “Cooked”, that most of the wheat germ has been eliminated in the milling.

3.) salt The BBB recipe calls for “1 tsp salt” or 6gm. Naturally, I weighed the salt. Because, of course, a teaspoon of Kosher salt has a different weight from a teaspoon of table salt. But, I’ve probably foamed at the mouth enough about the importance of weighing salt already, haven’t I? (For more information about measuring salt, please see Salt is salt, right?)

4.) potato curry The BBB recipe calls for using “any Curry filling you like (leftovers are a good way to go)”. Because she is vegetarian, Aparna posted her vegetable and potato curry that is quite similar to the one we make. In retrospect, I’m thinking that for colour contrast, beet curry would be really good. Or palak paneer. Or cabbage curry. Or Chole….

5.) egg The BBB recipe calls for “A thin almost watery slurry/ mixture of all-purpose flour and water (or two eggs beaten well)”. And while, I’m with Aparna about not liking an eggy taste, we’ve always used egg whenever breading for frying.


These really were delicious and we polished off all four kare pan in one sitting.

But I have to be honest. Next time, we’ll just make samosas. They’re way easier….

Kare Pan

Bread Baking Babes BBB April 2017

Aparna is our host for April 2017’s Bread Baking Babes’ project. She wrote:

I have been meaning to make Kare Pan or Japanese Curry Buns (some call these Curry Doughnuts!) for a long time. Put it down to the fact that I like savoury breads more than sweet, or that I’m Indian and “curry” sounds good! […]
Kare Buns are nothing more than curry filled yeasted bread dough fold overs which are rolled in Panko crumbs and then deep fried till brown, crisp and crunchy. There are baked versions but I don’t think they come anywhere near the traditional deep fried kind. […]
You can use any Curry filling you like (leftovers are a good way to go) but just remember to use a comparatively dry filling or the Buns will become soggy. […] I doubt if a lot of people in India know what Panko is, so finding it in the stores here is almost impossible. If you can’t find Panko, you can use breadcrumbs but Panko is better because it absorbs less oil than breadcrumbs, keeping food more crisp and crunchy. You can easily make Panko at home from white bread. Tear day old sliced bread (with or without crust is a personal choice) into largish pieces and run it a couple of times in the processor. You’ll have largish flaky looking Panko style bread crumbs.
[…] I’ve never used a deep fryer (oil in a wok is what is common in India for deep frying), or checked hot oil temperatures. So I have no idea about exact temperatures for frying the Buns but I understand that 365 degrees F /185 degrees C would be the way to go. […]If the oil is not hot enough, the Buns will not crisp up. They will absorb oil and become greasy and soggy. If it becomes too hot the Buns will burn without cooking. Remember the curry is already cooked so only the bread needs to cook.

We know you’ll want to make kare pan too! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make kare pan in the next couple of weeks and post about them (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 April 2017. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

Please note that it’s not enough to post about your bread in the Facebook group. Because of the ephemeral nature of Facebook’s posts, your FB post may be lost in the shuffle. Please make sure to directly contact the kitchen of the month if you want to be included in the BBBuddy roundup.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ April 2017 bread.

edit 28 April 2017: How cool is this??

The first link in today’s newsletter is a recipe for a Japanese curry filled bread. It’s also an example of how bread making connects people.
The recipe, published on the Bread Experience blog, is a part of a collaborative bread making and blogging project, Bread Baking Babes, […] it’s also why BREAD Magazine exists: bread connects people across boundaries of space and time […], connecting people through bread.
– Jarkko, Bread Magazine’s (bread-magazine.com) April Newsletter, 11 / Japanese Curry Buns and How Bread Connects Us


Kare Pan

This entry was posted in baking, BBBabes, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, bread recipe, food & drink, Indian, posts with recipes, spicy on by . forsythia

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14 responses to ““Hot Cross Buns” (BBB April 2017)

    1. Elizabeth

      They’re certainly less expensive than Panko. But, I have to say that there’s still something in me that says NOT to use them either (all that sugar!)

  1. Aparna Balasubramanian

    It’s good to see that the cornflakes worked. I think the Kare Pan look good.
    I love your posts, they always make me smile. :)
    Your idea of using Aloo Anardana or a Paneer Curry is a great idea. Must try that next time.

  2. Kelly

    You got gorgeous color on them! I miss the crunch of corn flakes in baked goods. But we’re all allergic to corn. :( I have yet to find a flake with the same crunch.

    1. Elizabeth

      The colour is lovely, isn’t it, Kelly? We were quite pleased. But I confess that I wasn’t wild about using corn flakes. I don’t really like them; they’re so sweet. But I think they’re better (and cheaper) than Panko crumbs.

      edit: I wonder if crushed rice crispies would work….

  3. Lien

    so you just made me watch a video with a almost asleep dog sitting next to food being made…. the dog is stupid, I’m sorry.

    I’m glad I had panko cause I wouldn’t ever use cornflakes (I really don’t like them), but they do give a great outside effect on your hot-cross balls…. No need to cut them, they already look like eggs; that’s eater enough for me.
    I really liked the potato curry, but maybe your tastebuds need more spice! Proud of you frying them, they have to be fried… yes they do! Job well done!

    1. Elizabeth

      Ha! I can’t decide who is stupider, LIen, the dog owner or the dog. But I have to admit that I toyed with the idea of taking a picture of our cat in the kitchen and labelling this post “cooking with cat”. So. Perhaps that makes me the stupidest…. :lalala:

      I don’t like cornflakes at all – unless they’re crushed and used to bread fish.

      I loved our potato curry before it was inside the Kare Pan. There was something about the bread surrounding it that cancelled out some of the flavour.

      But you’re right. These do have to be fried. Next time, we’ll make them smaller. That way, there won’t be so much bread to take away from the curry flavours.

  4. katiezel

    We don’t have Panko – I have never seen or tasted it. But, this being France we do have breadcrumbs available in 3 textures…. As to the corn flakes – what would I do with the rest of the box? Your lunch looks delicious, esp. the tomato chutney ;-)

      1. katiezel

        Duh! Of course! I used to be able to get plain, old bran flakes that I liked for crumbs. Most cereals here seem to have chocolate in them. French!

  5. Barbara M

    What about grape-nuts cereal? It’s crunchy and (I think) sugar free.

    Be careful with cheerios. The real cheerios have hardly any sugar, but I got some whole-wheat cheerios once and they are revoltingly sweet.

    1. Elizabeth

      Hmmm, maybe. But don’t grape-nuts get really really soggy in milk?

      Perhaps rice crispies would work…. oh wait; they have scads of sugar in them too, don’t they?

  6. Bread Experience

    Corn flakes, what a great idea! I remember using that growing up for frying stuff as well. I shallow-fried my curry buns as well although it took me three tries to get it right.


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