- 1 stick (1/4 pound) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- 5 sweet-tart apples, like Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 7 cups)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 12 to 16 defrosted frozen plain roti paratha or roti canai (available at Asian markets and online)
- 1/2 cup turbinado sugar, such as Sugar in the Raw brand
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
To make the filling:
Melt the butter in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and stir well, breaking up clumps. Let the mixture simmer until the sugar has mostly dissolved, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to medium high, stir in the apples, salt, and cinnamon, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender but not mushy, about 8 minutes. The sugar will seize up but will melt into the liquid that the apples release as they cook. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let it cool completely. You can keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To make the pies:
Work with one roti at a time, keeping it between the plastic squares it comes in (the roti is very sticky) and keeping the others in the fridge as you form each pie.
Put a roti on a work surface. Use your palm to stretch the roti slightly, starting in the center and applying gentle pressure as you move toward the edges.
Peel off the top layer of plastic. Stir the filling, then add 3 tablespoons to ¼ cup (depending on the diameter of the roti) of the filling to the center of the roti. Holding two corners of the remaining plastic square, fold the roti over the filling to form a semi circle, gently forcing the air out but keeping the filling in.
Firmly press the rounded edge of the roti to create a seal, then crimp with a fork.Use a sharp knife to make three slashes on the top (so it doesn’t burst), cutting through the roti layer and leaving ½ inch or so between slashes.
Sprinkle some sugar (about 1 teaspoon) on the top, then fold the plastic over and use your hands to gently press so the sugar adheres. Do the same on the other side of the pie.
To fry the pies:
Preheat the oven to 200°F and set a rack over a baking sheet. Pour enough oil into a large pot to reach a depth of about 3 inches. Set the pot over medium-high heat and bring the oil to 350°F (use a deep-fry thermometer). Fry the pies 4 or so at a time, carefully turning them over halfway through if they float to the surface, until golden brown and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes per batch. (If you’re frying frozen pies, they’ll take about 6 minutes.)
Transfer them to the rack and keep them warm in the oven. Let the oil come back to 350°F between batches. Let them cool slightly before you eat.
Excerpted from Asian-American by Dale Talde with JJ Goode. Copyright © 2015 by Dale Talde, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.