Golden Purses Thai Appetizer

Golden Purses on pan

MIB Pictures/Getty Images

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 8 mins
Total: 28 mins
Servings: 6 servings

This delicious Thai treat makes a great party appetizer. Golden Purses are a classic Thai snack or appetizer with shrimp or crab meat as the main ingredient (roasted chicken or turkey can also be substituted). It's a Thai recipe that's easy to make and can be put together ahead of time if you're planning on having company. Just make up the purses, put them in the refrigerator, then fry up with company arrive. Thai sweet chili sauce makes a great accompaniment and can be purchased at most large grocery store chains these days.


  • 1 package fresh wonton wrappers (we use round wrappers, but square will work too)
  • 1/2 cup cooked shrimp or crab meat (or substitute 1/2 cup cooked chicken, pork, or turkey)
  • 30 fresh chives (to "tie" the purses: you will need 1 chive per purse + a few extra)
  • 1 cup (or more) canola oil (or other low-smoking oil for frying)
  • 1 bottle Thai sweet chili sauce (for serving (available at most large grocery store chains in the Asian section))
  • For the Spice Paste:
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (include both leaves and stems)
  • 1 fresh red chili (or 1 to 2 teaspoons Thai chili sauce (such as Nam Prik Pao))
  • 3 spring onions (sliced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper (or substitute black pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

Steps to Make It

  1. If you're starting with raw shrimp, quickly remove shells and then dunk the shrimp in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes or until pink and plump.

  2. Place cooked shrimp or crab meat (or one of the substitutes) in a food processor or chopper. Add all the spice paste ingredients, then process well.

  3. If you don't have a food processor or chopper: Slice up the meat as finely as you can, then add all the [minced] spice paste ingredients and stir well to incorporate.

  4. Taste-test this mixture, adding 1/2 Tbsp. more fish sauce if not salty enough. If too salty (this may be the case if you're using canned shrimp or crab), add a generous squeeze of lime juice.

  5. To create the purses, you will need a brush (like a pastry brush) and a small bowl of water. Spread 4 to 6 wonton wrappers out over a clean surface (a counter-top or chopping board work well). Dip the brush in water and wet 1 inch around the periphery of each wrapper.

  6. Place a small amount (1/2 tsp. to 1 teaspoon) of filling in the middle of each wrapper. Now lift up the sides of the wrappers and pinch them together over the filling.

    Tip: It helps if you wet your fingers as you pinch in order to secure the purse.

  7. Place the finished purses on a clean plate. Continue making the purses in this way until all the filling has been used up.

  8. Make-ahead Tip: If you're expecting guests, cover the plate of purses and refrigerate until just before (or just after) guests arrive — up to 24 hours ahead of time. Then continue on with the final steps.

  9. Pour oil into a wok or small frying pan, so that oil is at least 1 inch deep. Heat over medium-high heat. When oil forms moving lines across the bottom of the pan, try dipping in the corner of a wonton wrapper. If the oil starts to sizzle around the wrapper, it's ready for frying. If nothing happens, wait another minute and try again.

  10. When the oil is hot enough, use tongs to lay four or five purses on their sides in the pan. Allow to fry 30 seconds, or until they turn golden-brown, then turn over. Fry until the purses are uniformly golden-brown, then drain on a clean tea towel or paper towel. Keep purses warm in the oven until ready to serve.

  11. Before serving, tie each purse with a chive. You have to do this carefully, or the chive with snap. We find it helps to tie the chive first, then slip it over the top of the purse.

  12. Serve the purses with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, available in Asian/Chinese food stores and many of the larger grocery store chains.