Pu Pu Platter is an American bar snack consisting of a big plate of Americanized Chinese or Hawaiian appetizers, mostly meat and seafood.
A classic Pu Pu Platter typically consists of egg rolls, beef teriyaki, spare ribs, chicken wings, skewered beef, fried wontons, fried shrimp, chicken fingers, crab Rangoon and other fried snacks. A small hibachi grill usually accompanies the platter.
History & Cultural Significance
The word pu-pu is originally derived from the Hawaiian word pū-pū, which refers to hors d’oeuvre, appetizer, or relish.
The dish was first brought to the United States by Donn Beach in 1934 and Pu Pu Platter has since become a classic in almost all of the Polynesian themed restaurants (such as Don’s and Trader Vic’s). The earliest acknowledged print reference to this dish being introduced at a Chinese restaurant is from 1969.
For the crab Rangoon
- Cream cheese at room temperature - 4 ounces
- Soy sauce - 2 teaspoons
- Minced scallion, white and green parts - 1
- Minced garlic clove - 1
- Crabmeat picked over and cartilage or shells removed - 4 ounces
- Store-bought or homemade hot red pepper sauce to taste
- Cornstarch for dusting
- Wonton squares (half a 12-ounce package) - 24
- Large egg white beaten with a pinch of salt until foamy - 1
- Vegetable oil for frying
For the coconut shrimp
- All-purpose flour - 1 cup
- Baking powder - 1 tbsp
- Salt - 1/4 tbsp
- Large egg beaten - 1
- Club soda - 1 cup
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Large shrimp peeled and deveined - 24
- Unsweetened desiccated coconut - 1-1/4 cups
For the pupu platter
- Duck sauce packets from your local Chinese joint/ an Asian grocery store
- Hot Chinese mustard packets from your local Chinese joint
For crab Rangoon
- Take a medium-sized bowl and with a rubber spatula, mix together the cream cheese, soy sauce, scallion, and garlic. Add crabmeat and flavour it with the hot red pepper sauce.
- Now take a baking sheet. Make sure to line it with waxed paper and also dust a little cornstarch over it.
- Next step is to take a wonton and rotate it in a way that it takes up the diamond shape. Fill the centre of the lower half of the wonton with a teaspoon of the filling. Overlap the top of the wonton down over the filling so it forms a triangle and grease the edges with egg white.
- Gently, press the middle of the wonton to flatten the filling a little and the edges to seal it completely.
- Now take the lower two edges of the triangle and join them in the centre of the Rangoon by overlapping the endsa tad. Do not forget to rush a little egg white on the edges so the filling is completely secured. Repeat the same procedure with the leftover filling and wontons.
- Lay down the Rangoons on the baking sheet, wrap plastic wrap over them loosely, and refrigerate for about 2 hours until they are ready to be fried.
- Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C) after placing a rack in the centre of the oven.
- Take a deep saucepan and pour enough oil to fill it halfway up the sides. Keep the flame medium-high and wait for the oil to register 350°F (176°C) on a deep-frying thermometer.
- Take a brown paper bag, cut it open, and line it over a baking sheet. In batches, add wontons to the oil and deep-fry them till they turn golden-brown.
- Shift the Rangoons to the brown paper-lined baking sheet and till you finish preparing the coconut shrimp, place them in the oven so they remain warm.
For coconut shrimp
- Take a medium-sized bowl and whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and egg together. Add in the club soda and mix. Keep it aside for10 minutes.
- Now take two baking sheets. Line one with waxed paper and the other with a brown paper bag.
- Again, take a deep saucepan and pour enough oil for it to halfway fill up the sides. Turn the flame high and wait for the oil to register 350°F (176°C) on a deep-frying thermometer. Take a plate and spread coconut on it.
- Take one shrimp at a time, hold it with the tail and dip in the batter. Drain the extra batter drip into the bowl and coat the shrimp properly with the coconut by rolling it in the coconut spread. Place the coconut-coated shrimps on the waxed paper-lined baking sheet.
- Deep-fry the shrimps in batches and shift them to the brown paper-lined baking sheet.
Putting together the pu pu platter:
- Take a serving platter and add all of the warm Rangoons and shrimps to it.
- Serve with little packets of duck sauce and hot Chinese mustard and voila!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6-8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 972Total Fat: 56gSodium: 2858mgCarbohydrates: 68gProtein: 56g
Photo credit: Ken Murphy