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?