‘Pai tee’ is a fun appetizer and is well known as a Peranakan dish. Shaped like an overturned top hat, it is made up of fried crispy shells which use a combination of wheat, rice and corn flour. Pai tee cups are filled with stir-fried jicama and fresh vegetables. Besides looking beautiful, they are also very unique indeed.
Pai tee filling
The filling of pai tee is made up of strips of jicama sautéd with fermented bean paste. You may cook the filling in advanced as it can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat the dish by steaming or microwaving before filling it into the pie tee cups.
Substitute for jicama
Jicama or yam bean is not easily found out of Southeast Asia. They are also popular in Mexico, Cental, and South America. If you are unable to get your hands on them, Chayote (which was used in my fruit salad recipe) would make a good substitute as it has a similar taste. Please note that the yam bean needs to be cooked until it softens or else it would be difficult to fill them into the crispy pai tee cups.
While trying to find the perfect recipe for crispy cups, I experimented using various combination of flours of different amounts and found that those with more wheat flour tastes better but unfortunately, they do not stay crispy for long. Finally, I settled for this version which yields crispy cups.
You may substitute tapioca flour with corn flour. Do not fret if the batter appears to be diluted. Rest assured, the outcome would be great.
Where to get pai tee mould?
As for the mould, you can try your luck on Amazon and look for the Swedish timbale mould. Within Southeast Asia, you can look for pai tee moulds in shops that sell baking products.
Kuih pai tee or top hats are served with sweet chilli sauce which is slightly thicker in texture. It can also be served with garlic chilli sauce which is savoury and sourish. Pick your favourite chilli sauce and learn how to make them.
Although making pai tee is not difficult, I have to admit it is rather time consuming. On the other hand, this appetizer is definitely a crowd-puller and I bet your guests will be busy clicking away for the best food shot.