The flavor of fresh crabmeat is so good on its own that my primary goal in developing this hors d’oeuvre was to use a minimum of ingredients. I wanted to highlight the crab flavor and texture, not mask it. Although I keep a jar of sambal ulek — an Indonesian hot chile paste — in my refrigerator at all times, I thought it might be too obscure to use in this recipe. When I went shopping to buy sambal ulek, my Asian market was out of stock, but my local supermarket had it in the Asian-foods section — yours probably will, too.–Diane Morgan
Sambal ulek, also spelled sambal oelek, is an Indonesian condiment made from chiles, salt, vinegar, and sometimes garlic and tamarind. Sold in jars, it is a fiery paste with bright flavors — a little goes a long way. Other Asian chile pastes with garlic can be substituted, but this one is a favorite of mine. If refrigerated after opening, it will keep indefinitely.
Spicy Crab in Wonton Cups Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 35 M
- Makes 20
- For the wonton cups
- 20 wonton wrappers (from one 14-ounce package), each cut into 3-inch squares
- 3 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
- For the crab filling
- 8 ounces fresh-cooked crabmeat, picked over for shells and well drained
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon snipped fresh chives
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon sambal ulek (see Cook’s note), or more to taste
- 20 little fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
- Make the wonton cups
- 1. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Have ready two 12-cup miniature muffin pans. Working with wonton wrappers at a time, brush the top side of each wrapper with sesame oil, and press, oiled side down, into a muffin cup. Repeat with the remaining wrappers. Brush the bottom of each wonton cup with a little sesame oil.
- 2. Bake until the wontons are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely in the tins, then remove carefully. Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature until ready to fill. (The cups can be made up to 2 days ahead.)
- Make the crab filling
- 3. Place the crabmeat in a medium bowl and use your fingers to flake the crabmeat. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir in the mayonnaise, minced cilantro, chives, lemon zest, and sambal ulek. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding a bit more sambal ulek, if desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to fill the wonton cups. (The crab filling can be made up to 1 day ahead.)
- 4. To assemble and serve, place the wonton cups on a serving platter. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the crab filling into each cup, and garnish with a cilantro leaf.
Spicy Crab in Wonton Cups Recipe © 2008 Diane Morgan. Photo © 2008 EJ Armstrong. All rights reserved.