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Golden Baskets

These are nothing short of amazing.  Sweet and spicy little Thai appetizers, or a main course, from Steven Raichlen.

16 small muffin tins, 1 1/2 to 2 inches across (we used a regular-sized muffin sheet, and while the cups disappeared inside of them, it otherwise worked fine)
Asian sesame oil or spray oil
16 3 to 4-inch Chinese gyoza wrappers

For filling:
12 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tsp canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots (green onions), minced (about 3 or 4 Tbs worth)
1 Tbs minced fresh ginger (I eyeballed the ground stuff)
1 to 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
2 tsp curry powder
2 Tbs packed light-brown sugar, or to taste
2 Tbs fish sauce or soy sauce, or to taste

For garnish:
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced finely as possible
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, minced
cilantro sprigs (optional)

Preheat oven to 375.  Brush the muffin tins with sesame oil, or spray, and press wrappers into each.  Trim off excess dough if you have it.  Bake until the shells are browned and crisp, ten to fifteen minutes, and cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling.  Trim fat from chicken and mince (this was an exciting opportunity to use the huge cleaver we received for Christmas.)  Heat canola oil in a large frying pan over med-high heat.  Add garlic, shallots, ginger, chilies, curry powder and cook, stirring continuously, until lightly browned, about three minutes.

Add the chicken and saute until cooked through, another five minutes, crumbling with a wooden spoon.  Add the sugar and fish sauce and cook another minute.  Taste and add either more sugar or sauce – the mixture should be salty, sweet, and spicy.

Place about a tablespoon of filling in each shell, garnish with cucumber, pepper and cilantro – serve hot.