Thai Coconut Beef in Crispy Wonton Cups

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Thai Coconut Beef in Crispy Wonton Cups

I do a lot (I mean A LOT!) of cooking around here, but only a little of it ends up on this blog. The rest of it ends up in my belly, the belly of my handsome man, or in the bellies of the guests at The Endless Meal Supper Club. Oh yeah, and then there’s people at parties that I cater who get to pig out on all the food I make, like these Thai Coconut Beef in Crispy Wonton cups.

Thai Coconut Beef in Crispy Wonton Cups

If you’re thinking that beef and coconut is a strange combination don’t worry, you’re not alone. I thought so too, at first. I wanted to create a dish that combined pulled beef with Thai flavours. Coconut is obviously a go-to Thai flavour but I still wasn’t convinced until I tried it. This stuff is so good!

Thai Coconut Beef in Crispy Wonton Cups

The coconut flavour is mild and adds a contrast to the red curry spices and the richness of the beef. It would be as good piled high on a toasted bun and topped with some crunchy cabbage as it is served inside these little wonton cups.

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4.7 from 3 reviews
Thai Coconut Beef in Crispy Wonton Cups
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: A few hundred
For the coconut beef
  • 1 lb braising beef (any inexpensive cut will do)
  • ¼ cup grape seed oil
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • ⅓ cup red Thai curry paste
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 1 lime, sliced into rounds with skin on
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass, cut into thin rounds
  • 1 - 2" piece of ginger, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed with the side of your knife
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper
  • Cilantro, for garnish
For the wonton cups
  • Square wonton wrappers
  • grape seed oil or cooking spray
  • sesame seeds
  • sea salt
  1. Cut beef into chucks roughly the size of your fist. Season well with salt and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil over high heat in a large heavy bottomed pot. When oil is hot add beef and sear on all sides until it is dark brown. Make sure not to crowd the pan; you will probably need to work in batches. Keep a close eye on the beef as you sear it, you want it to be dark brown but not to burn. If you think it is getting too close to burning remove the pot from the element for a minute before continuing.
  3. Remove each piece of beef from the pot when it is dark brown and seared on all sides. Once all pieces are finished remove the pot from the element.
  4. Add the coconut milk all at once and stir to remove any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add all other coconut beef ingredients and stir well.
  5. Place beef back in the pan in a single layer. Add enough water so that the beef is ¾ covered with liquid.
  6. Place the pot on the smallest element you have. Bring the covered pot to barely a simmer then reduce heat so that it stays barely simmering. You don't want it to boil. Continue to just barely simmer the beef for 5 hours, or until it is very very tender.
  7. Once beef is tender, remove it from the cooking liquid. Turn the heat to high and boil, uncovered, until there is about ¾ cup of liquid left.
  8. While the sauce is reducing take 2 forks and shred the beef. Add the shredded beef back into the ¾ cup of cooking liquid and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
(Can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the fridge. Or kept well sealed in the freezer for up to 1 month. Warm gently before using)
For the wonton cups:
  1. Lay wonton wrappers on a flat work surface. Brush or spray a tiny bit of oil over each wrapper. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, concentrating on the edges where they will be seen. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
  2. Using an ungreased mini cupcake pan, place 1 wonton wrapper in each of the holes. Gently press to the bottom. Don't fuss too much over these, a little irregularity will make them more interesting.
  3. Bake for 3-5 minutes. Check after 3 minutes and keep a very close eye on them; they burn quickly.
  4. Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack.
(Can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in a sealed ziploc bag.
I've left the quantity of wonton wrappers out on purpose. The beef will make enough to fill a hundred, but likely you won't want that many :) The leftover beef would be great on a sandwich, in chili, or in a Thai curry.


Want some more ideas for bite sized appetizers? Check out these recipes: 

Mini BLT Cups

Smoked Salmon Mousse on Filo Crackers

Mini Beet and Goat Cheese Salads

Chickpea and Pumpkin Fritters with Preserved Lemon Aioli

Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Basil and Garlic

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  1. James says

    Red curry with beef is one of my favourite Thai foods. I imagine that this would taste similar and be delicious.

  2. maricris says

    hi kristen, i am new to your blog and just as i saw u i know instantly i will love evry food u do. i am from a small island in the philippines, in puerto princesa, palawan. resources are minimal. what can i substitute for grape seed oil and red thai curry. we only have yellow curry here and for oil (canola, soya, corn, olive, palm and coconut oil). hope to hear from u

    super thanks


    • says

      Hi Maricis,

      I don’t know how I missed your question for so so long. I’m really sorry!

      Any neutral flavoured oil like canola, soy or corn will work well. If green or red curry paste is available to you then that would work, or try to find a recipe online for the red curry paste. :)

  3. Dawn says

    Great recipe! However I used 2lbs of beef and in no way will it fill 100 cups. Followed directions exactly, used mini cupcake pans but to fill them the way you’ve pictured them will take at least 2 more pounds. I’m lucky I dont have to have these finished til tomorrow nite.


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