Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Recipe: Bombay Chicken Wontons

Last week I was invited to participate in a fundraiser put on by Gowlings (the law firm) for Saint Monica House.  The theme of the event was “Sensational Summer Entertaining.” At the event, a handful of female chefs were asked to demonstrate and provide a recipe for an easy-yet-sensational hors d’oeuvre.

The hard part for me was choosing just one hors d’oeuvre to feature.  Initially, I had decided that an asparagus, caramelized onion and fontina tarte tartin would be perfect, given the timing (yeah! asparagus season is finally here!).  But I changed my mind, mainly because I was worried that this recipe would be too time-consuming for many of the guests to bother to replicate at home.

In the end, I decided on our Bombay chicken salad on wontons.  This recipe is one of my favourites from our catering menu.  It’s easy to prepare and it’s quite versatile.  In addition to serving the salad on the wonton crisps, you can stuff a little bit of the salad onto the base of an endive leaf, for an attractive, low-carb appetizer.  Of course, the salad makes a great sandwich filling – try it on multigrain bread or raisin walnut.  You can also use it to make gourmet quesadillas (just add your favourite cheese).  Lastly, try the chicken salad on mixed greens for a hearty lunch or light dinner.  

This recipe yields enough for 72 bite-sized appetizers, or about 2½ (two-and-a-half) cups of chicken salad filling.

ingredients for Bombay chicken salad
§         1 (one) pound (16 oz.) chicken breast, cooked and finely chopped or diced into very small pieces
§         1 1/3 (one-and-one-third) cups small diced sweet red bell peppers
§         ½ (one-half) cup green onions, minced
§         2/3 (two-thirds) cup dried currants (or substitute raisins and/or dried cranberries, if desired)
§         1/2 - 2/3 (one-half to two-thirds) cup mayonnaise
§         1 (one) tablespoon Patak curry paste, or more to taste
§         2 (two) teaspoons curry powder, or more to taste
§         ¼ (one-quarter) cup chopped cilantro
§         salt and pepper, to taste
§         additional sprigs of cilantro to garnish wontons, if desired

ingredients for wonton crisps
§         18 (eighteen) wonton wrappers, cut into 4 squares
(note: you can find wonton wrappers in the produce department of any grocery store)
§         vegetable oil, for shallow frying
§         salt, to taste

method for bombay chicken salad:
§         In a medium size bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, curry powder and curry paste. Stir until smooth and combined.
§         Add in the cooked chicken, bell peppers, green onions, currants and cilantro.
§         Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired.
§         Set aside in the fridge.

method for wonton crisps:
§         Cut each wonton wrapper in half to make 2 rectangles, then cut each rectangle in half to make 4 squares (in total).
§         Heat 1½ (one-and-one-half) inches vegetable oil in a 4-5 () quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until your thermometer registers 360° F.
§         Using tongs, gently lay 8 (eight) squares on oil (do not drop in, or they will lose their shape) and fry, turning over once, until just golden, 15 to 30 seconds in total.
§         Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain and season with salt.
§         Fry remaining squares in the same manner.

to assemble:
§         Place about 1½ (one-and-one-half) teaspoons of Bombay chicken salad on top of each wonton crisp.
§         Top with a sprig of fresh cilantro to garnish (or, use chicken salad in other suggested recipe ideas listed above).

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