Adventures In Crab Rangoonery
Yeah....mine didn't exactly look like this.
Photo by Geary Eppley
Everybody has their favorite comfort foods. In times of stress, I turn to Chinese takeout for consolation, specifically crab rangoon. Actually, not only in times of stress. After several cocktails, crab rangoon always sounds awesome. I know I'm not the only one, because there's a reason Hollywood is open until 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. I know, I know, it's bad.
Last week, while inspecting a crab rangoon as I was eating it, I thought, I can do this...there are like...three main ingredients...pssshhttt. I hopped online for a recipe and came across not only a recipe but a how-to video. Drunk me was super-excited, and sober, more health-conscious me was a little scared. What if I make them and they're amazing, and I can't stop, and I turn into a monster? That's ridiculous.
Off to Whole Foods I went for the ingredients.
Directions: 1. In a large bowl thoroughly mix together the cream cheese and crab meat.
2. Rinse the green onions under cold water and dry them with paper towels. Cut off the white bases and about an inch from the top of the stalks and discard. Dice the remaining stalks into tiny pieces.
3. Add the diced green onion, Worcestershire, and garlic salt to the crab mixture and stir everything together thoroughly.
4. Set up a work area. You will need a board or plate to wrap the rangoon on, the wonton wrappers, crab filling, a bowl of warm water, and a plate to place the finished rangoon on.
5. Place a wonton wrapper on the board or plate in a diamond shape and spoon about one teaspoon of the crab mixture in the center of the wrapper.
6. Moisten the edges of the top of the diamond shape by dipping a finger in the bowl of warm water and lightly coating the top edges with it. Fold up the bottom of the diamond in half, forming a triangle. Press down on the edges of the triangle, making sure it is sealed tight and all of the air is out of the pocket.
7. Wet one of the bottom corners of this triangle. Then take the two bottom corners of the triangle and bring them together, overlapping the dry corner on top of the wet corner. (This is where I needed to consult the video.) Press them tightly to seal. If the crab mixture begins to squeeze out the sides, simply use less of the mixture.
8. Place the finished rangoon on the clean plate and continue to fill the remaining wonton wrappers.
9. Once all of the crab rangoon are filled, heat the two to three cups of peanut oil on high.
10. When the oil is hot (about 350 F,) carefully add each rangoon. Cook about eight to 10 at a time, making sure not to overcrowd the wok.
11. Let them cook for three to five minutes, or until light-brown. Then remove them from the wok with a wire sieve and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
12. Serve immediately. Makes 24 crab rangoon.
Whew! That's a lot of steps, but it seems easy enough, right? They really were a breeze to put together once I got the hang of it. I was doing great, steps 1 through 9. When it came to the frying bit, I was like "Oohh, how 'bout I put them in the oven and bake them? That way they'll be "healthier." Ugh. Dumb.
So I looked up another recipe, put the rangoon in the oven at 425 for eight minutes as instructed...and they exploded. Apparently I didn't get all the air out when I was sealing the little pockets. Lesson: If you're using a recipe, making something you've never made before, just follow it through. Don't try to change it up at the end. You're just gonna make a mess.
I killed them. They weren't crispy at all and the cream cheese was oozing out like blood...poor, dead rangoon. But wait...some of them, by God's grace, weren't bleeding cream cheese! Maybe they could be saved!
As a last-ditch effort, I decided to fry the little guys that didn't appear to be ruined, letting them sizzle for a couple of minutes before taking them out to dry. Once cool, I hesitantly bit into one and you know what? It wasn't bad. Sure, they were burned from being baked and fried, but I could tell that when done properly, they would be really tasty. I'm going to give it another go soon, maybe get some sweet chili sauce for dipping. Live and learn, you know? Maybe I could try a "lighter" version, even gluten free, etc. There are tons of variations online.
Sure, they're not gorgeous, but they weren't half bad.
Do you like crab rangoon? Would you ever try to make it at home? Let us know in the comments section.
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