The four Best Picture nominees that I've seen are Moneyball, The Help, Midnight in Paris, and War Horse, so if I wanted to make something to match one of those, it would mean either baseball food, Southern food, French food, or.. horse food? None of those really appealed to me today, but when I read that The Descendants takes place in Hawaii, I decided to make something Hawaiian to eat because it seemed like the perfect thing to brighten a cold winter day. Even though I haven't seen The Descendants, I may have to root for it now - it deserves to win just for inspiring these delicious tropical chicken cups!
My sister showed me the original recipe for coconut mango chicken cups on Liv Life because she thought they'd be up my alley, and she was right! I hadn't seen this blog before, but it has tons of fantastic looking recipes and photos so I can't wait to try more from it. Kim says that she's made her chicken cups for lots of different gatherings, so I knew they would be good. Hers had mango chutney and curry paste in them, but I decided to give them a Hawaiian twist by using pineapple instead, and I added in avocado because I think it pairs really well with pineapple. I left in the coconut milk and lime juice so that the whole thing would have a tropical taste!
These were pretty easy to make and were bursting with bright flavour! I think they'd make a perfect party appetizer that would be very quickly gobbled up (I know from the surprising rate that these disappeared from my own plate!) You could probably make a vegetarian version of them too by replacing the chicken with black beans, or even adding some coconut sticky rice for a bit more substance.
I realize you won't have time to make these in time for tonight's Oscars yourselves, but they'd be great for any occasion (and really, it's a bit of a stretch for me to call them Oscar-inspired anyway)! And now that I know what a great vessel wontons make for appetizers, I keep thinking of other filling ideas that would be fabulous in these - and if you decide to experiment, let me know what works!
Are you watching the Oscars tonight, and did you make any Oscar-inspired food?
Tropical Chicken Cups (with Pineapple, Avocado, Coconut, & Lime)
Makes 24 cups
24 wonton wrappers
1 tsp canola oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 cups cooked diced chicken (or you could use fish instead!)
3/4 cup light coconut milk
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1-1/2 cups diced fresh ripe pineapple
1 ripe avocado, diced
salt and pepper
cilantro for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick spray. Press 24 wonton wrappers into the mini muffin tin, pressing any folds firmly to the sides. Bake for 5-10 minutes, until golden. Set aside to cool.
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté about 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Add the chicken, coconut milk, and lime juice, and cook for a few minutes until coconut milk is mostly absorbed. Gently stir in pineapple and avocado. Season generously with salt and pepper, tasting to adjust any amounts to taste. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Spoon filling into wonton cups (you may have a bit of extra filling, which you can taste before filling the wonton cups to make sure it’s to your liking). Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top, if desired (if you're serving these to a big group, you may only want to put cilantro on half of the chicken cups because a lot of people don't like it). Serve warm or at room temperature.