I'm finally down to the last of many recipes from my mom's party. This one is straightforward and vegan-friendly; however, any form of food-lover will happily enjoy this sweetly spiced veggie appetizer. The preparation is simple but slightly time-consuming due to all the fine dicing, so be sure to leave yourself ample time to get down to business with your cutting board. The combination of veggies and spices makes for a flavor that is refreshing and warm and will lure you back in for multiple servings.
Five-Spice Diced Vegetables in Endive Leaves w/ Plum Sauce (Makes 20 Hors D'oeuvres)
Adapted from Vegetarian Appetizers: Simply Delicious Recipes for Easy Entertaining by Paulette Mitchell
¼ cup bottled Chinese plum sauce
1 tablespoon water, or as needed
Five-Spice Diced Vegetables
3 ribs bok choy, diced finely
20 endive leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
ground white pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon roasted peanut oil or canola oil
2 carrots, cut into ¼-inch dice (about 1 cup)
½ cup diced red bell pepper
¼ cup diced yellow bell pepper
2 green onions (white and green parts), finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
toasted sesame seeds to garnish
1. Make the plum sauce by pouring the sauce into a small bowl and adding water as needed until the sauce becomes syrupy in consistency.
2. Arrange the endive leaves on a platter. Stir together the lime juice, soy sauce, cilantro, five-spice powder, red pepper flakes, and whip pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bok choy, carrots, bell peppers, green onions, and garlic. Cook, stirring consistently, until crisp-tender (approximately 4 to 5 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in the lime juice mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning.
4. Serve the vegetables warm or let them come to room temperature. Fill each endive leaf with a heaping tablespoon of the veggie mixture, drizzle with 1 teaspoon plum sauce, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!