Saturday, November 30, 2013

Curried Potato/Chick'n Salad in Mini Flower Filo Cups OR on Crostini OR Filo Bird Nest

Curried potato/chik'n salad in mini flower filo cups.

This was a success recipe for appetizers!  The elegant mini flower cups made of Filo Pastry Sheets are a beautiful presentation for potlucks and parties.  It is a bit complicated to make the flower cups but it was worth it.  As a short cut, there are ready-made filo cups you can buy in super market frozen section. I decided to make my own and share with you how to do it at the end of this blog.

This appetizer can also be served on filo bird nests.  It looks elegant and great for parties.  I made my own bird nests from shredded filo dough called Kataifi.  Honestly, this looks complicated but it is easier than making the mini filo cups.  I have pictures and instructions below.  You can buy the shredded filo dough in a 1 lb. box in frozen section in a Middle Eastern market.

Curried potato salad on filo bird nests.

This appetizer can also be served on crostini which is much easier to do. Just slice a baguette or whole grain bread thinly, about 1/4 inch, and then toast them.   Either way is great.  However, I love to bite into crunchy baked phyllo pastry cups much more than toasted bread.

Curried potato/chik'n salad on crostini.
This curried potato salad can also be converted to curried 'chicken' salad (soy chicken, soy curls, etc.).   Or it can be a combo of potato and soy chicken, like what I did here below.   The other ingredients are roasted unsalted cashews, dried cranberries, currants or raisins, and fresh celery which added the crunchiness and chewey-ness of the salad.  The lemon juice and rinds added the sourness to the salad while the maple syrup, currants and dried cranberries added the sweetness to it.

Ingredients(from top left corner clockwise): cooked potato, celery, dried cranberries, roasted unsalted cashews, currants, and soy chicken (optional).
The ingredients are chopped in small pieces.  I also chopped the roasted cashews and dried cranberries.  However, I left the currants whole since they are kind of small.  However, if you use raisins, I would recommend to chop those too.   The idea is to have all ingredients in the same size.

Curried Potato/Chick'n Salad in Mini Flower Filo Cups OR  on Crostini or Filo Bird Nests
Makes 36 flower cups or crostini orv 36 bird nests

Printable Recipe

5 medium yukon gold potatoes (yield 4-5 cups cooked potatoes) or 1 lb. soy chicken
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 cup roasted unsalted cashews, finely chopped
1 cup currants or raisins (chop raisins but not currants, if used)
1/2 cup dried cranberries,  finely chopped

1 Tbsp. Sesame Oil
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil (olive oil, Grapeseed oil, etc.)
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp.curry powder

1/2 cup Vegenaise or other vegan mayonnaise
1/3 cup lemon juice, from 1 lemon
grated lemon rind from 1 lemon
3-4 Tbsp. maple syrup (use 3 for less sweet)
1/2 tsp sea salt

  1. Peel and boil/steam potatoes in water for 25 minutes.  Make sure that potato is cooked but still firm, not mushy.  Let it cool.
  2. While potato is cooling, chop all the ingredients into uniform small-size morsels.
  3. Prepare the salad dressing by combining all dressing ingredients in a small bowl until they are thoroughly mixed.
  4. Chop cooked potatoes into small cubes.
  5. Heat sesame and vegetable oil in a large saucepan.  Add curry powder, stir.  Then, add potatoes or small cubes of soy chicken.  Stir and combine with the seasoning and oil for 1-2 minutes.  Take it off heat and let it cool.
  6. Add all the salad ingredients into the seasoned potatoes.
  7. Add combined salad dressing.  Toss and combine everything together.  This filling can be kept in the fridge and prepared ahead of time.
  8. Fill mini flower filo cups or bird nests with 1-2 tablespoons of salad each  OR spread 1-2 tablespoons of salad on crostini.   Best served immediately or up to 2 hours. 
Making flower cups:
Similar to the filling above, these flower cups can be prepared ahead of time then stored in tight containers for a few days.  On the day of the event, fill them up with the filling above about 1-2 hours before the event.

8  filo pastry sheets
1/4 cup oil (olive, grapeseed, vegetable)
mini muffin pans or tart pans
pastry brush

  1. Use a pastry brush, spread oil onto a layer of filo pastry, then top with another layer.  Repeat until 4 layers are piled on top of each other.  Brush the top layer with oil.
  2. Cut oiled filo sheets into uniform sizes 3 x 3 inches. Repeat  steps 1 and 2 until there are enough for 36 flower cups.
  3. Form into a cup on a mini muffin pan(oiled side down).  These can be done in batches.  Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Making filo bird nests:
You will need 1 lb shredded filo dough or called Kataifi.  Please follow the instructions on the box to thaw it before you start.  These filo bird nests can be prepared ahead of time then stored in tight containers for a few days.  On the day of the event, fill them up with the filling above about 1-2 hours before the event.

Shredded Filo Dough or Kataifi found in a frozen section in Middle Eastern market.
Oil spray in can (canola oil or olive oil)
Regular muffin pans or brioche pans (silicone is ok too)

  1. Separate strands of shredded filo, cut into about 5 inches long.  Use a damp cloth to cover the rest of the shredded filo dough while working with some strands to form the bird nests.
  2. Spray the filo strands with oil spray.
  3. Wrap the sprayed strands around 2 fingers to form an O shape.
  4. Transfer the filo onto the muffin pan or silicone pan.  Spread it around to make the nests
  5. Repeat step 1-4 and fill out all the pans.
  6. Bake in 350 F (preheated oven) for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Use a fork to gently lift the nests out of the pans.  Let them cool then store in a tight container or serve.