Mini Thai Chicken Salad Cups

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About 24 years ago this July, I attended a Soroptimist Convention in Kyoto, Japan. It was a wonderful experience, listening to speakers from all over the world, many who spoke in their native languages, and we had to listen to the translation over earphones. It made me realize how important it is that we be multi-lingual; in fact, most of the representatives from all the other counties (all of South America, Central America, French Canada, Korea, the Philippines, Malaysia, and of course, Japan) plus guests from Europe and New Zealand and Australia (whose English is somewhat different from ours!) spoke several languages including English. But when giving their presentations, everyone spoke in their native language. So fun and enlightening!

After the convention ended, a group of us (along with the son of one of our group) went on a post-convention tour that included Tokyo, Bangkok and Hong Kong. (This was several years before China reclaimed ownership of Hong Kong.) We tried as much as possible, to eat the local foods, helped by plasticized plates showing us what the food looked like. Fortunately, our colleague’s son had learned some Japanese and Thai and was able to be our translator so we weren’t totally in the dark!

In Bangkok, I tasted mango for the first time. Not knowing what it was, I asked a lady who was loading her plate with it. She said it was a sweet fruit that smelled of perfume. I was hooked and love it and eat it and cook with it to this day. I learned a lot about Thai cooking in the short time we were there – and much more on my return home.

This recipe works as both a cute little appetizer or made larger, can be an entrée for a summer dinner or a luncheon. It came to me from a friend in Texas who makes it in mini-rice cups instead of won tons (I’ll include those instructions for those who might want to try that method which is really easier than fussing with won tons!)

Since it is spring already – where is time going??? – this recipe should work for those pool parties coming up before we know it! Enjoy!!

Mini Thai Chicken Salad Cups

  • 2 chicken breast fillets
  • 40 wonton wrappers
  • cooking-oil spray
  • 1/4 Chinese cabbage (also called Napa Cabbage), shredded finely
  • 1 small carrot, grated finely
  • 3 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

Preheat oven to 350.

To make the crispy won ton cups, you’ll need to have a 12-hole mini (1-1/2 Tbsp.) muffin pan, and 50 won ton wrappers. Usually, I purchase the round won ton wrappers so that I don’t have to cut the square won ton wrappers. Lightly oil the 12-hole mini muffin pan, and gently push the rounds carefully into the holes. Spray lightly with oil again, and bake about 8-10 minutes in the oven  (or until they turn golden brown). Set aside to cool.

The cups can be made up to 2 days ahead as long as they are kept in an airtight container to retain its crispiness.

Next, poach the chicken breast in a frying pan. Reduce the heat, simmer (uncovered) for about 10 minutes or until the chicken breast is cooked through. I usually run cold water through the chicken for a couple minutes as I drain the chicken. This gives the meat a more springy texture. Once it’s cool enough to handle, instead of chopping the meat finely, I prefer to shred the chicken with a fork, creating long, thin strips of chicken meat.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a closed jar and shake well. In a large bowl, combine the chicken meat, cabbage, carrot, onion, sesame seeds, and dressing.

Be aware that if the salad mixture is very moist, the won ton cups will become moist at the bottom where it can break apart if left for too long. So I suggest filling the cups immediately before serving them!  If you want to make them meal sized, used larger egg roll wrappers, and a regular muffin tin using the exact same procedure. You will get about 6 – 8 full sized muffin-tin cups from this recipe.

For rice cups, place 1 Tbsp. cooked rice in each prepared mini-muffin tin and press rice down into the bottom and up the sides. Bake as above. Cool completely before filling.

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