‘Pai tee’ is a fun appetizer which is very well known as a Peranakan dish. Shaped like a overturned top hat, pai tee is made out of fried crispy shells which uses a combination of wheat, rice and corn flour. Pai tee cups are then filled with stir fried vegetables and fresh vegetables. Besides looking beautiful, these crispy pastry tart with yam bean is also a very unique dish.
The filling of pai tee is made by strips of jicama sautéd with fermented bean paste. You may cook the filling of pai tee before hand and it can be refrigerated up to 3 days. Do reheat the dish (e.g. steaming, microwave) before filling the pie tee shells.
Jicama or yam bean is not easily found out of Southeast Asia. Yam beans are also popular in Mexico, Cental, and South America. If you are unable to get your hands on them, Chayote (which I used in the 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 making the cups, I attempted using various combination of flours of different amounts. Finally, I settled for this version which yields crispy cups. Recipes which have more wheat flour taste better but unfortunately, it does not stay crispy for long.
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.
As for the mould, you can try your luck on Amazon. Look for the Swedish timbale mould which uses the same method. Within Southeast Asia, you can look for pai tee moulds in baking shops.
Kuih pai tee or top hats are served with sweet chilli sauce which slightly thicker in texture and sweeter in taste. It can also be served with some garlic chilli sauce which is savoury and sour. Pick your favourite chilli sauce and learn how to make these homemade sauces.
Although making pai tee it is not difficult but it is 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.
Kuih Pai Tee is also known as: Pai TeePie TeeTop Hats小金杯
Remove the skin of yam bean and cut it into strips. Then, soak yam bean for at least 4 hours and rinse to remove starch.
Heat up oil in a pan over medium heat to stir-fry minced garlic and fermented bean paste until fragrant. Then, add prawns and continue stir-frying. Add yam bean and tofu strips. To season, add a pinch of salt. Add enough water to cover the ingredients, followed by soy sauce, dark soy sauce and sugar. Mix well, reduce heat to minimum and let the dish simmer for at least an hour or until yam bean softens.
To prepare the cups, mix wheat flour, rice flour, corn flour and salt in a bowl. Then, add an egg and water to the flour. For a smooth batter, run it through a sieve. Set it aside for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour. Heat oil over low to medium heat. Then, dip pie tee mould into the batter and immediately immerse it in hot oil to fry until golden brown. Repeat to fry more pie tee shells.
Fry an omelette and cut into little cubes. Also, julienne cucumber, slice chilli and scallions as garnishing. Then, fill each pie tee shell with the stir-fried yam bean, fresh cucumber strips, chillies, scallions and omelette. Top it up with the chilli sauce of your choice.