Crab Rangoon are deep-fried wontons stuffed with a piquant cream cheese and crab filling. While it is not considered a classic in Asia, it is a popular item on all-you-can-eat Asian American buffet spreads and Chinese-American menus. Most often times, there’s just cream cheese in the wonton, which leaves me crabby. To get my fill of crab Rangoon, I make my own.
Last year on Asian Dumpling Tips (my other site), I remade the original version from Trader Vic’s, the Polynesian themed tiki lounge/restaurant that popularized the snack decades ago. The classic crab Rangoon recipe came from the 1968 Trader Vic’s cookbook, which I rediscovered on my bookshelf. In the process, I ended up finding out about the history of crab Rangoon, and pondered its place in the Asian dumpling repertoire. I think it does because it is a familiar preparation for many Asian Americans. Crab Rangoon is also darn tasty!
For a belated Chinese New Year’s pot luck last week, I decided to make Sriracha crab Rangoon. I don’t take credit for that modern rendition. Rather, it was based on Randy Clemens’s recipe in his newly released The Sriracha Cookbook: 50 “Rooster Sauce” Recipes that Pack a Punch. I offered Sriracha crab Rangoon alongside the classic rendition of crab Rangoon, as well as fried wontons stuffed with pork and shrimp (a filling from Asian Dumplings). What happened?
We ate them all up, fueled by a magnum of champagne that our generous host, Manresa restaurant sommelier Jeff Bareilles, was pouring. It was a marvelous way to launch the Year of the Rabbit/Cat.
Full disclosure: I endorsed Clemens’s book on its jacket cover. It’s a fun and informative book worth having if you’re a fan of the Southeast Asian chile sauce. And if you’ve followed the discussion on this site o n Sriracha, yes, Clemens includes discussion of the various brands, including some in my Vietnam vs Thailand vs America Sriracha taste off.
Sriracha and Crab Rangoon Wontons
Adapted from The Sriracha Cookbook (Ten Speed Press, 2011) by Randy Clemens.
Makes 36 wontons, enough for 6 as a snack
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese or Tofutti cream cheese, at room temperature
2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha chile sauce
1/2 teaspoon light (regular) soy sauce
3 tablespoons finely chopped scallion
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
4 ounces well drained lump crab meat
Salt, to taste
36 wonton skins, homemade or purchased (see wonton skins buying tips, if needed)
Canola oil, for deep frying
Sriracha sauce, for dipping
1. To make the filling, in a bowl, combine the cream cheese and chile sauce. I tend to use the smaller quantity when using the Rooster (Huy Fong) brand. Add the soy sauce, scallion, pepper, lemon zest, and crab meat. Use a fork to mix well. Taste and add salt, as needed. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes before using, or refrigerate up to a day in advance.
2. Fill each wonton skin with about 1 teaspoon of the filling. Center the filling, brush two adjoining sides with water, then fold to create a triangle, the shape that’s used in The Sriracha Cookbook. As you work, put the finished wontons on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet that’s been lightly dusted with cornstarch.
When done, loosely cover with a dishtowel to prevent drying. The wontons can also be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for several hours; let them sit at room temperature to remove the chill before frying.
3. Put a wire rack on a baking sheet and place next to the stove. Pour oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches into a wok, deep skillet, or 5-quart Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat to about 325F on a deep-fry thermometer.
4. Working in batches of 4 to 6, slide the wontons into the hot oil and fry for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Use a skimmer to transfer to the rack to drain.
5. Arrange the wontons on a platter and serve hot or warm as finger food along with the sauce for dipping.
See the Asian Dumplings cookbok for classic wonton recipes. Visit the Asian Dumpling Tips website for these others:
- Almost Meatless Pork and Vegetable Pot Stickers Recipe
- Modern Indian Chile Pea Puffs Recipe
- Classic Crab Rangoon Wonton Recipe
Related posts on Viet World Kitchen:
- Homemade Sriracha Chile Sauce Recipe
- Sriracha Taste Off: Thailand vs. America vs. Vietnam
- Has Sriracha become like Kleenex and Xerox?