Kare-Kare Pan Recipe: Leftover Kare-Kare in Deep-Fried Bread

Kare pan, or Japanese curry bread, is a star as far as savory pastries go. It’s a popular hand-held treat that’s similar to pork buns or siopao; the difference is that the dough is filled with Japanese curry, rolled in Panko bread crumbs, then deep-fried. The result is a pastry that’s crunchy on the outside, slightly chewy in the middle, and oozing with a savory filling. Inspired by this, we created our own Filipino take on the dish—the kare-kare pan. It follows the same concept as the Japanese pastry, except it’s filled with leftover kare-kare. This gives it a nice balance of something that’s both sweet and savory. Plus it recreates the slightly saucy filling experience of the original kare pan.

kare-kare pan

How to Make Kare-Kare Pan

This kare-kare pan recipe goes through three stages: making the dough, shaping and filling the bread, and frying everything. We’ve developed it without a stand mixer. But if you have one, you can breeze through the first stage. The shaping and filling part is probably the most complicated, especially if it’s your first time working with bread. But don’t worry, we’ll walk you through it! The final step is really just rolling the bread in egg and Panko, similar to breading meat, and deep-frying.

Making the Dough

To make the dough, mix the bread flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. This ensures that the ingredients are evenly distributed.

mixing dry ingredients

We use two types of flour here; the bread flour gives the pastry its chewiness while the all-purpose flour keeps it lighter than if only using the former. If you don’t have bread flour, you can replace the same amount with more all-purpose flour.

mixing dry ingredients

Add the yeast (just now, to lessen the risk of the salt killing it), then mix again.

adding yeast

Slowly pour in the warm milk and mix until a shaggy dough forms. We found that this is easier to do by hand. But if you don’t want to get your hands dirty just yet, you can use a wooden spoon or spatula.

mixing dough

Gently knead the butter in until it comes together.

adding butter
dough with butter

Next, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and continue kneading until you get a smooth ball.

kneading dough
kneading dough

Oil the same bowl from earlier and return the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

resting dough

Let the dough rest for an hour.

Shaping and Filling the Bread

Once the dough has risen, degas it by punching it down.

degassing dough

Turn it out onto a workstation, then divide the dough into eight equal pieces. You can use a knife (or a bench scraper, if you have one) to do this.

dividing dough

Tuck the edges of each piece onto itself or roll them along your workstation to form dough balls.

rolling dough into balls

Set these aside on a floured tray with the seam side down.

rolling dough into balls

Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and rest for 15 minutes.

dough balls

Working one piece at a time, flatten the dough with the palm of your hand. Using a rolling pin, flatten it into evenly thick pieces that are about four inches in diameter.

rolling pieces into flat dough

Scoop about one and a half tablespoons of leftover kare-kare onto each piece of dough. It’s best to use cold kare-kare since it’ll be solid and easy to scoop. Anyway, it’ll heat up when you deep-fry the bread and it should return to its saucy state then.

adding kare-kare

Seal the bread by pulling the sides into the center and pinching the seam.

sealing kare-kare pan

We can’t stress this enough—make sure that your pastries are properly sealed. If they’re not, they will burst while frying, leaving you with empty bread and a mess of splattering oil. Repeat until you finish filling all the dough.

sealed kare-kare pan

Cover the dough with a towel or a plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.

kare-kare pan

Deep-frying the Kare-Kare Pan

Prepare your two dredging stations.

dredging station

Brush each piece of sealed dough with the egg wash, then coat them with the bread crumbs.

egg wash

Set everything aside on a tray.


Heat oil in a pot to 350F (176C). Fry the dough, seam side down first. After a few seconds, flip the bread. This stops it from rising because of the heat of the oil, preventing it from creating a cave inside the pastry.


Keep turning it until all sides are golden brown.

kare-kare pan

Transfer the bread on a cooling rack or a paper towel-lined tray or plate to drain excess oil. Serve the kare-kare pans warm.

kare-kare pan

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