Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Wonton Cups with Poke and Cream Cheese #ChristmasRecipe by @Leslie Karst

The holidays have been even more festive than normal for me this year, as I've just signed a two-book contract with Severn House Publishers for books 5 and 6 in my Sally Solari culinary mystery series, with number 5, The Fragrance of Death, to be released this coming summer. So, cheers! And huzzah! 

To celebrate my new contract, I prepared some delicious wonton cups to have with a bottle of Champagne, which recipe I share with you today. These tasty delights, baked in mini muffin tins, are simple to prepare and would make for a lovely Christmas, New Years, or any party appetizer. 

Poke (pronounced poh-kay) is a sort of Hawaiian ceviche, in that it consists of raw fish (often ahi tuna, as in the recipe here) mixed with such things as soy sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce, seaweed, mayonnaise, and/or sriracha sauce).

Here in Hawai‘i, ready-made poke can be found at most grocery stores, and the dish is becoming much more common in stores on the Mainland, as well. But if you can’t locate any poke, feel free to substitute ceviche, or chopped cooked chicken or pork seasoned with any of the above flavoring agents, or even leftover sautéed vegetables! The sky’s the limit, because most everything goes with cream cheese and crispy wonton wrappers!

Wonton Cups with Poke and Cream Cheese

(makes 24 cups)


24 wonton wrappers

vegetable oil

1 package cream cheese

1 lb. poke (or other savory filling)

(note: you’ll likely have more cream cheese and poke than you need for 24 cups)


Preheat oven to 350º F.

Using a pastry brush, spread a thin layer of oil on the front and back of the wonton wrappers. (Or, if you have it, use spray-on oil to coat the wrappers.)

Place each oiled wrapper into your muffin tins, using your finger to press the wrappers into the edges of the tin, allowing the corners spread out like a flower. (If you only have one tin, simply bake the first batch, then reuse the tin to bake 12 more cups.)

Bake the wrappers for 8-10 minutes, until they are golden brown, then let cool.

Using a butter knife dipped into a glass of water between cuts, slice the cream cheese into 1” squares, about ¼ to ½” thick.

If your store-bought poke came in large chunks, cut them up into smaller pieces if you wish, as I did:

Place a square of cream cheese on the bottom of each cup.

Then top with poke (or whatever savory filling you’re using), and you’re done! (I used two kinds of poke: sesame and soy sauce, and mayo and sriracha sauce).

Cheers, and happy holidays to all!

🌱  🐟  🌿

The daughter of a law professor and a potter, Leslie Karst learned early, during family dinner conversations, the value of both careful analysis and the arts—ideal ingredients for a mystery story. Putting this early education to good use, she now writes the Lefty Award-nominated Sally Solari Mysteries, a culinary series set in Santa Cruz, California.

An ex-lawyer like her sleuth, Leslie also has degrees in English literature and the culinary arts. She and her wife and their Jack Russell mix split their time between Santa Cruz and Hilo, Hawai‘i.

Leslie’s website
Leslie also blogs with Chicks on the Case
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Praise for Leslie's most recent Sally Solari mystery, the Lefty Award-nominated MURDER FROM SCRATCH:

“Karst seasons her writing with an accurate insider’s view of restaurant operation, as well as a tenderness in the way she treats family, death and Sally’s reactions to Evelyn’s blindness.”

Ellery Queen Magazine (featured pick)

All four Sally Solari Mysteries are available through AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Bookshop.


Dying for a TasteA Measure of Murder, and Murder from Scratch are also available as AUDIOBOOKS from Audible!


  1. congratulations on signing. Thanks for the recipe, looks wonderful

  2. Sounds delicious and infinitely adaptable!

    1. That it is--both those things! Happy holidays, Libby!

  3. Congrats on the new contract, Leslie! Also, this looks sooo good!

  4. Kudos to you on the signing of the two-book contract! This is good news for those of us who love your Sally Solari series. And I think you must be a mind-reader too because I've been perusing books on the cuisines of Hawaii, Korea, Japan and China, in part due to a wonderful Asian fusion restaurant in our city. Today I had miso soup and Vietnamese spring rolls. My husband had beef lo mein. I'm going to make the Wonton Cups with Poke and Cream Cheese - thank you for sharing the recipe. Mele Kalikimaka.