April 23, 2011

Crab Rangoon

I'm a big fan of Crab Rangoon, when it's made right.  But that's the problem.  In my opinion, the versions you get in restaurants are rarely very good.   More often than not the filling tastes of nothing but cream cheese, and much of the time it's questionable whether any crab meat has ever been in the same room as the Rangoons, nonetheless in the filling.  With this being the case, and with the two Chinese restaurants where I live being pretty much dreadful, I decided to satisfy my recent craving for Crab Rangoon by making my own.

From the outside, Crab Rangoon may appear somewhat fussy to make.  Folding the wrapping around the filling, sealing it, then the messy deep-frying.  In truth, though, it really doesn't take long to make them, the technique is simple and as long as you use a deep enough pan, the mess isn't that great.  Done right, the results speak for themselves.  These crispy, golden-brown packets of flavor make a great appetizer or a great side to another Asian dish. 

When making Crab Rangoon, you should also consider what dipping sauce(s) you are going to use.  Much of the time homemade is the way to go, but since we made these on a weeknight along with a main dish, we went with the fast-and-easy option of using the sauces sold in the supermarket.  One or more sweet or sweet-and-sour sauce is a must, and for me personally, hot mustard is also a must-have.

Crab Rangoon
yield = approx. 4 dozen

2                packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
1                can (6 ounces) lump crab meat
3                tablespoons chopped fresh chives or green onion tops
1                teaspoon sugar
1/2             teaspoon white pepper
1/2             teaspoon table salt
1/8             teaspoon garlic powder
1                package wonton wrappers
4                cups peanut, canola or vegetable oil (for deep frying)

Microwave the cream cheese for about 1 minute to soften it.  Add the crab meat, chives (or green onion tops), sugar, white pepper, salt and garlic powder.  Stir to mix thoroughly.

Spoon about two teaspoons of the cream cheese mixture in the middle of a wonton wrapper.  Wet the edges of the wonton wrapper, fold over to close, press the edges together and fold over the outside edges, pinching tightly.  Continue with the remainder of the cream cheese mixture.

Add 4 cups peanut, canola or vegetable oil to a Dutch oven.  Heat to 350 degrees.  Add 6-8 rangoons to the hot oil.  Fry 2 minutes or until the edges start to turn deep brown; flip and fry another minute or so, then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels, then transfer to a serving plate and cover with a clean dish towel.

Continue with the remaining rangoon, letting the oil heat back up between batches.  Serve with dipping sauces or other Asian condiments of choice.

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