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Photograph by Bennett Pruitt
What's not to like when you bite into a crunchy-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside little morsel? That is what you get when you order this appetizer at a Chinese restaurant. My teenagers devour them when we eat out. As always, whenever we discover something we like at restaurants, my family likes to say, ” Mama, can you make it at home?” It’s most satisfying to recreate a dish or develop a new recipe.
I decided to make the rangoons small and cute. They are half a size smaller than the restaurant version—perfect party food. During the holidays, I like hosting an international buffet of sorts. I have called it, ”Around the world in ten bites,” or ”Far East treats,” or “Dine in the Orient,” and so on. Crab rangoons never disappoint. They're easy to put together, and you know I appreciate any dish that can be made ahead.
Crab rangoon is not a true Chinese dish obviously due to the cream cheese. It’s been around since mid 1950s in San Francisco—definitely an American Chinese creation. There is not a clear history on it either, though it really doesn’t matter who created it, I salute thee!
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
6 oz. can crab meat, drained
1 green onion, chopped
½ of 12oz. pkg wonton wrappers
Vegetable oil for frying
Mix the first 3 ingredients together in a medium-size bowl. Lay individual wonton wrappers, several at a time, onto a flat surface, and brush water all around the edges. Put 1 tbsp filling in the middle of the wrappers, bring two opposites corners together, and pinch them closed. Immediately repeat with the other two corners.
Once you use up the filling, you can freeze the remaining wrappers until next time. Heat vegetable oil in a wok or a dutch oven to 375 degrees. Fry rangoons until golden, about 5 minutes. Drain onto paper towel and serve.
To freeze: Lay your uncooked crab rangoons in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze for a couple of hours or until individually frozen, then transfer to a freezer bag. Keep up to six months. No need to thaw before frying, but oil needs to be at 350 degrees.
Make 35-45 rangoons