Friday, May 16, 2014

Crab Rangoon

Crab Rangoon, sometimes called Cheese Wontons, have been one of my favorite Chinese foods for years. Some restaurants make them in a triangle shape, while others pull the four corners up to make what looks like a pouch. I myself prefer making them triangular, as it has a better seal for the delectable contents inside. Figuring out what is inside the wonton wrappers wasn’t hard; it’s basically four ingredients that one of my sisters came up with, and having eaten them at restaurants myself, I agreed. ;)

I want to tell you that I’ve cooked these two different ways, and neither is necessarily better than the other. I have deep fried them and I’ve fried them in a very much smaller amount of oil in a skillet. Either way, they are heaven wrapped in a little wonton. Here, though, I am showing them deep fried.

So, let’s get cooking!

First, thinly slice the scallions, and use both the white and the green. Chop the imitation crab meat finely. It definitely does not have to be minced, as you’d do with garlic or ginger root, but you do want the pieces fairly small because, after all, the filling is going into wonton wrappers.

Cream the cream cheese…doesn’t that sound redundant? ;) You do want it to be nicely smooth to work with. I started adding a little milk to it to make it more smooth and creamy when the Crab Rangoon are done. Just add the milk and beat it on in there.

Now add the scallions and crab meat to the cream cheese mixture, along with the black pepper, and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. The filling is now ready.

Start heating the oil in a large saucepan or a deep skillet. It can heat while you’re putting the Rangoon together. Don’t set the heat under the oil higher than medium after it gets hot enough. Also, prepare a sheet pan with a couple layers of paper towels to set the cooked Crab Rangoon on.

To assemble the Rangoon, you’ll need a small bowl or ramekin with water, and a teaspoon for the filling. Lay one wonton wrapper down so it looks more like a diamond. Place a spoonful of  the filling in the middle; about a tablespoon’s worth.

The second step is to dip your fingertip in the water and wet the upper left and right sides of the wonton wrapper, then fold the bottom half over, matching sides up, to form a triangle. Press the two sides down to seal.

Lay them on a platter, but I don’t recommend stacking them on top of each other, as sometimes they might stick and then they may rip a little when you try to separate them. But how would I know anything about that? ;)

While I’ve made these alone a few times, I usually have someone help me with this, as it is SO much easier when it comes time to cook them. I usually help with assembling the Rangoon for a bit, then switch over to do the frying while my daughter Caitlin keeps working on assembling. Once you start the cooking process, it moves very quickly.

When the oil is ready, tested by dropping a tiny bit of something in (scallion, tiny piece of crab), gently drop in four to six of the Crab Rangoon. They usually take less than a minute on each side. You want them to be a golden brown.

IMPORTANT: This is a very fast cooking food; you cannot step away from these at all when cooking. That’s why having two people make these is preferred. Get your kids involved--you both will love cooking together and be glad you did!

Place the finished Rangoon on the sheet pan with the paper towels to absorb extra oil. I’m usually making these with other Chinese dishes, so I also turn the oven on to the lowest setting (150°?) and place the sheet pan in it to keep them warm while I finish up the other recipes.

And there you are, delicious Crab Rangoon. Enjoy! ~TMMF

Crab Rangoon

1 package wonton wrappers
2 ½ 8 oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
¼ c milk
1 lb. imitation crabmeat
5 whole scallions
½ tsp black pepper
About 4” of oil to fry

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