Punchinello’s Chronicles

August 26, 2010

Crab Rangoon – Mini Eggroll Style

Filed under: Chinese Take-out Cooking — Punchinello @ 3:36 am
Tags: , , ,

Chinese Restaurant-style Cooking – Contents of this Series

When I figured out how to make a replica of beef fried rice, I thought I was done. Talking about it with someone, they mentioned crab Rangoon, so I looked up the recipe for that. Turns out it’s really very simple, except there were some problems. One is that I’m totally Origami challenged, and have major “issues” trying to fold the wontons into the pretty pointed little flower thingies. Secondly, they don’t taste much like crab (never have, actually), more like cream cheese.

If you want classic crab Rangoon, you’re talking about an 8oz package of cream cheese, 4oz of imitation crab, and some chopped tips of green onions. Stick about 1 teaspoon of this filling into a wonton skin, then fold it in some complicated fashion. Fry it for a minute or two, and Wah-Lah…! Done.

Okay, but it still tastes pretty much like cream cheese “dip” of some sort, fried up in a shell. Since I had a better handle on how all these ingredients work together, I decided to mess around with the filling. Here’s what I came up with, and you only have to learn how to roll typical eggrolls. That’s not so easy either, but it’s easier than the Rangoons, in my own estimation.

Note that this video shows how to wrap full-size egg rolls. She uses a Tablespoon of filling. For a miniature eggroll, done in wonton skin, you only need 1 teaspoon of filling. The reason for the video is I haven’t drawn a picture of how to wrap eggrolls yet, so this’ll show you the process.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. package softened cream cheese
  • 4 oz. (1/2 package) imitation crab or lobster (flakes, chunks or leg style doesn’t matter)
  • 1 oz. grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion tips (approximately)
  • 1/4 teaspoon (a dash or two) Worcestershire sauce
  • Wonton skins

Instructions

  1. Place the cream cheese in a bowl and let it warm to room temperature. It’ll be a whole lot easier to mix up the other ingredients when the cream cheese is soft. Seems to me to taste better when it warms naturally, but you could probably use a microwave oven if you had to.
  2. Fake crab meat is cheap, and usually comes in 8 oz packages. I only use half a package and that gives a nice flavor and texture. Break it apart a little, then use a fork to mix it in with the cheese.
  3. Stir in about 1 oz. of grated Parmesan cheese.
  4. Splash in a couple of small dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Not a lot. A little goes a long way!
  5. Stir in some green onion tips, cut with scissors to make your life easier. About a half cup, or enough to have some green and bit of flavor.
  6. Peel apart a wonton skin, and use your fingertip dipped in water to wet the outer edges.
  7. Put about 1 teaspoon of the filling onto the wonton and roll it up like a small eggroll.
  8. Fry in about 2 inches of hot oil (350-370 degrees) for about a minute, maybe more; just enough to get crispy.
  9. Drain, cool, and serve with sweet-n-sour sauce or mustard sauce.

Summary

What we found was that by adding in the Parmesan cheese and slight amount of Worcestershire sauce, we were able to really bring out the flavor of the crab! The Rangoons I’ve had in a restaurant taste nice, if you like fried wonton skins, but the filling tastes like plain cream cheese. The “crab” vanishes into the hot filling, without leaving behind much taste.

We really did try folding the wontons into those nifty shapes, but we found that more often than not, the filling ended up expanding (okay…exploding) out the top. Rather than screw around with all the extra work, we found that using the typical eggroll wrapping was easier, and it kept the filling inside, where it belongs.

You can make the filling with the soft cream cheese, then cover it and let it sit in the fridge in a bowl. It’s not a problem filling the wontons when the filling’s cold. It’s only a problem making the filling when the cream cheese is cold at the start.

You also can use just a plain table-type teaspoon. It’s not an exact measure! Put in enough to give the wonton some shape. If you put in too much, you’ll have a hard time closing the ends. Too little, and you’ll wonder where the filling went after it’s been cooked. Experience will help, but after about 4 tries you should have it pretty well figured out.

These are totally easy to do, very inexpensive, and one package of cream cheese makes about 25 little eggroll wontons or thereabouts. They freeze nicely, when cooked, and can be either re-fried or better yet, just popped into a 400-degree oven (on a pan or baking sheet) for maybe 5-10 minutes to re-crisp.

Another trick we learned, working in a warm kitchen, is to sprinkle a tiny bit of cornmeal (not cornstarch) on a baking sheet or jelly-roll pan. Then, when each wonton is wrapped, laying it on top of the cornmeal. It helps prevent them from sticking to whatever you’re using to hold them while wrapping them up. Or, you can have one person wrap, and another person deep-fry.

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