How do You Top Mum’s Popiah? With Kuih Pie Tee

I heart Pie Tee!

Kuih Pie Tee with Prawn

Kuih Pie Tee

No, this has nothing to do with tea, which is something else I heart a lot! Kuih Pie Tee or “Top Hats” (because the shape is sometimes like a top hat) is an appetizer that is popular in Malaysia. It is a wonderful treat–crisp shell, sweet and slightly crunchy vegetal flavors of jicama, carrots, and green beans, and meatiness from pork and shrimp.

I’ve been wanting to make kuih pie tee since Rasa Malaysia posted her fabulous pictures on her blog. It made me miss home a lot. My 4th grand aunt used to make this every Chinese New Year and I always looked forward to visiting with her so we could indulge in these savory treats.

As you know, my mom is visiting and she brought me a mold (that was given to her by my 4th grand aunt, no less!).

4th Grand Aunt’s Pie Tee Mold

4th Grand Aunt's Kuih Pai Tee Mold

And just yesterday, my mom made her famous popiah! When she decided to make popiah, I asked if she would make more of the filling so that I could make pie tee with the leftovers. Making the filling is quite a production but we both agreed that if you’re going to go to the trouble, making a bit more is not that difficult.

So with the leftovers in mind, I searched my food forum for a recipe (pretty similar to Rasa’s). Boy, frying those shells are really time-consuming. But are they worth it? DEFINITELY!

We made about 80 pie tee shells and in no time at all, we had consumed more than HALF of them (filled, of course – what did you think, we ate empty shells?). We did give some to our neighbors who also wolfed them down in two seconds flat. Seriously, these are such good eats!

Finished Pie Tee Shells

Fried Kuih Pie Tee Shells

The recipe for the batter is quite simple. I used a kuih pie tee recipe that called for the ingredients to be measured in grams. Now, I don’t mind that at all really because I have a weighing scale. Unfortunately, many people here in the US don’t own a kitchen scale. I HAVE TO SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THIS….I JUST HAVE TO.

Get. A. Scale.

It doesn’t really cost very much to get a kitchen scale AND it doesn’t take up too much space these days. Most scales are just flat little things that can be easily tucked away. The prices for them are also getting lower and lower. You don’t need a fancy one though the fancy ones are cool. As a matter of fact, I own one that I bought from IKEA 5 years ago and it still works like a charm (and trust me, I abuse that poor kitchen scale) and it’s so small and flat that it’s not an inconvenience in my small kitchen.

I will give you three reasons why you should own a scale:

  1. Most recipes outside the US call for weight measure in their baking and cooking recipes (like Malaysia!)
  2. Alton Brown (I heart him too!), recommends it for flour measures.
  3. And the main reason for me–it saves me from washing measuring cups, extra bowls, etc. I love that I can use one bowl, weigh the first ingredient, tare, weigh in the second ingredient, tare and so on and so forth. Anything that lets me not do more dishes is a brilliant invention. AND, you can even weigh in grams or lbs. Lovely!

If these reasons have not convinced you to go out there and get one lickety split, then I guess I can’t do anything for you. But maybe, this recipe will force you to choose to cross over to my side (as it’s all in grams!). ^_^

Kuih Pie Tee batter recipe

1 egg
320g All-purpose flour
55g rice flour
500 ml of water
dash of salt

1. Beat egg and salt.
2. Add in half of the AP flour and rice flour and half of the water.
3. Add in remaining AP and rice flour and water.
4. Strain mixture to remove lumps.
5. Heat oil in pan on medium heat (make sure oil level is higher than mold level).
6. Dip pie tee mold in hot oil to condition it, then once oil is hot, dip mold in batter, and then into the hot oil. The first 3-4 shells will probably be ugly and stubborn (as in, won’t want to release from the mold). Use chopsticks to assist in getting them out.

Battered Pie Tee Mold

Pie Tee mold with batter

7. Once the mold and oil is at the right temperature, the work will go smoother. You might still need to help the batter release by nudging with a chopstick but they should come off more easily. Take them out of the oil when they are a golden brown.

Nudging the Pie Tee Off

Frying kuih pie tee

When I made this, I found that they weren’t crispy enough. So I’m going to try a different batter next time. If you have a sure-fire batter for this, would you share with me? I’ve already asked my mom to go back to Penang and get the recipe from my 4th grand aunt and hopefully, I’ll be able to get that to you later.

But if you find this batter not crispy enough, here’s my trick. Just stick it in the oven at 250 F for 10 mins and they crisp up nicely.

Fill the shells with the popiah filling. Nate, thinking about some of the awesome dishes we had at TomatoFest, had the idea to put a whole prawn in the pie tee like a shrimp cocktail shooter, then dressed with some sweet chili sauce:

Kuih Pie Tee with Prawn

Kuih pie tee filled with shrimp

These shells are also perfect to hold all kinds of little bites. They don’t have to be filled with the traditional pie tee filling. I’m already thinking that with a little bit of sugar, I could easily make these babies a receptacle for custards, creams and tiny fruit. Or savory little bites of salsa with shrimp ceviche. You can definitely let your imagination take you places with this.

What do you think you would fill these pai tee shells with? Leave us a comment and share your ideas!

I will share the popiah/pie tee filling recipe with you but this post is getting way long. Also, my mom’s popiah filling recipe is really worth a post of its own so I’ll see you back soon with that ok?

This entry was entered into the September edition of CLICK! The Photo Event.

Cheers, Annie

31 thoughts on “How do You Top Mum’s Popiah? With Kuih Pie Tee”

  1. I live in New York City. Where can I get a hold of a Kueh Pie Tee?
    I want to try to make them using your recipe.

    Thank you very much.



  2. hi annie,
    where can I buy a kueh pie tee mold. I would live to make the tee cups. thanks. I love your posts.

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