Top Hats with a Sweet Chili Sauce

This appetizer is always a crowd pleaser and I get many requests for the recipe. For all of you who asked, here it is!

This simple recipe is made special with the addition of the sweet chili sauce.  I have to admit, the last few times I have made this recipe, I have used the Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce from Thailand.  It is almost as good as the recipe below.  I was taught this recipe from my Asian cooking mentor, Joye Jue whom I have taken cooking classes from for over 20 years.  The hardest part of making this recipe is prepping the vegetables.   To ease the burden of finely julienning the carrots and jicama, I use my special Japanese Benriner above.  A piece of equipment, I am glad I have. Please see the post in association with this recipe, Day at the Beach.

Makes 30 cups

1 package fresh won ton wrappers
peanut oil for brushing

Vegetable Filling

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¼ pound shrimp, chopped (optional)
¼ pound canned bamboo shoot, cut into slivers
1 ½ cups 1/8-inch thick julienne peeled carrots (about 2)
2 cups 1/8-inch thick julienne peeled Jicama (about 6 ounces)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped cilantro

Sweet Chili Sauce

5 cloves peeled garlic
2-inch chunk peeled ginger
3 to 5 red jalapenos, seeded
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup sugar
1 cup rice wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Take a stack of wrappers and make the stack smaller to fit into the mini muffin tin by cutting off each corner to create a new square.  Lay out the re-cut wrappers; brush with oil and sprinkle with salt.  Lay the square of dough on to the opening of each mini muffin and with the help of a wine cork push the square into the muffin tin.  Bake in the preheated oven until brown about 10 to 12 minutes.  Repeat until you have 30 cups.  You can make these a day ahead, just store in a Ziploc or air proof container

For the filling, heat the oil in a large sauté pan.  Add the garlic, shrimp  (if using), bamboo shoots, carrots and Jicama; sauté until the shrimp turns orange about 1-2 minutes.  Add the water, sugar and salt; bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender and the liquid is reduced enough to keep the mixture moist, about 8 minutes.  Allow mixture to cool. Stir in cilantro.

For the sauce, finely chop the garlic, ginger and chiles in a food processor.  Warm the oil in a sauce pan and lightly sauté the chopped mixture for 2 minutes.  Add the sugar and vinegar and simmer for 5 minutes.  Let cool.  Blend the cooled mixture and put through a sieve, pushing hard on the solids.  Return the sauce to the pan and reduce until sauce consistency, usually 2 to 4 more minutes.

When you are ready to serve, fill the wonton cups with the vegetable filling and add a teaspoon or more of the sweet chili sauce.  Garnish with a cilantro leaf if you want.

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