Kuih (Kueh) Pai Tee - Top Hat Filled with Crab and Vegetables Recipe

Kuih (Kueh) Pai Tee - Top Hat Filled with Crab and Vegetables Recipes

Ingredients :

Pastry Sheets -

3/4 cup (4 oz / 125 g) all-purpose (plain) flour

1/4 cup (1 oz / 30g) rice flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

3/4 cup (6 fl oz / 180ml) water

vegetable oil for deep-frying


Filling -

1/4 lb (125g) shrimp (prawns)

2 tbsp vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp dried shrimp, minced

1 cup (4 oz / 125g) julienned bamboo shoot

1 large carrot, peeled and finely shredded

1/2 lb (250g) daikon, peeled and finely shredded

1 cup (8 fl oz / 250ml) water

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1/4 lb (125g) fresh-cooked crabmeat, picked over for shell fragments and flaked

1/4 cup (1/3 oz / 10g) chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), plus about 36 whole leaves for garnish

Sriracha sauce

Method :

- To make the pastry shells, in a bowl, stir together the all-purpose and rice flours and the salt. Add the egg, then slowly add the water, stirring until the mixture is the consistency of a thin batter.

- To fry the shells, pour the vegetable oil to a depth of 3 inches (7.5 cm) in a wok or deep saucepan and heat to 365F (185C) on a deep-frying thermometer. When the oil is hot, season the pastry mold by holding its handle and dipping it into the hot oil for 1 minute. Remove the mold from the oil, shaking to remove any excess oil, then dip it into the batter up to, but no over, the top edge. Lift the mold out of the batter and let the excess batter drip back into the bowl. Lower the coated mold into the hot oil and deep-fry until the pastry can retain its shape, about 1 minute. With chopsticks or tongs, nudge the top edge of the mold to help release the shell into the oil. Fry the shell until it is golden brown, about 1 minute longer. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the batter is used. Let the shells cool completely. (The shells can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.)

- To make the filling, bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil. Add the shrimp and boil until they turn bright orange-pink, 1-2 minutes. Drain, let cool, then peel, devein, and cut into 1/4 inch (6-mm) dice.

- Place a wok over medium-high heat and add the oil. When it is hot, add the garlic and dried shrimp and saute until the garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Raise the heat to high and add the bamboo shoot, carrot, daikon, and diced shrimp, and stir and toss in the hot oil for a few seconds. Add the water, sugar, and salt and continue cooking, stirring gently, until the vegetables are tender and all the liquid has evaporated, 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

- Add the crabmeat and chopped coriander to the cooled filling and mix well. Using chopsticks, put about 2 tsp of the filling into each pastry shell. Garnish each filled shell with a whole coriander leaf, top with a drop of Sriracha sauce, and serve.

Serves 12; Makes about 3 dozen pastries

Note - A great party dish, these dainty, fluted shells, named because they look like upside-down top hats, are filled with a braised mixture of seafood and vegetables. Each shell is made with a steel mold that is dipped into batter and plunged into hot oil. When crisp and brown, the shell slips off the mold. I found molds while rooting around in the night markets in Singapore, and they are also sold there in department stores. Some of the better Southeast Asian markets in the West carry them as well. If you cannot find the mold, you can substitute wonton skins: press a 1.5 inch (4 cm) wide, stainless-steel ladle into the middle of a skin and hold it down in the hot oil. Failing that option, use small premade Western pastry shells.

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