Believe it or not, I made it the whole way through college without ingesting any Chinese takeout. Maybe it was just the group of girls that I hung out with, but we were always way more interested in pizza than Chinese. I tasted it once or twice after that, but it just never did anything for me. Perhaps my taste buds were temporarily defective or I somehow managed to get it from the worst place in the area, because now I can’t get enough of it! During one of my visits to the DC area to see my Chief Culinary Consultant a few years ago, he suggested we get some Chinese takeout while we watched a hockey game. I balked (he must have thought I was nuts!), but he insisted I try General Tso’s and crab rangoon. I was immediately smitten with both, and now I have to get crab rangoon anytime we order Chinese. The good news is now that I’ve conquered them in my own kitchen, I don’t need to wait for takeout out to enjoy them!
If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating crab rangoon, let me explain. It is a combination of crab meat and cream cheese, along with some additional flavorings, that are folded up in a wonton wrapper and deep fried. Traditionally, they’re served with duck sauce, but you could also have them with soy sauce or nothing at all. Basically, they’re heaven in a fried triangle.
I love the creamy center contrasted with the crispy fried exterior of the rangoon. Dipped in sweet duck sauce, you just can’t beat it. I’m always thrilled when I can recreate a restaurant favorite at home, and this one totally hits the spot.
What are some of your favorite takeout dishes?
A recipe for Crab Rangoon - a favorite Chinese takeout appetizer.
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 ounces canned crabmeat, drained and picked over for shell fragments or 3 sticks imitation crab meat, finely diced
2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
½ package wonton wrappers (about 24)
2 to 3 quarts peanut or canola oil, for frying
1. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese and crabmeat. Stir in the scallions, sesame oil, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and salt.
2. Heat 1 inch of oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until it registers 350 degrees F.
3. While the oil heats, assemble the rangoons. On a flat surface, lay out a wonton wrapper with one corner pointed toward you. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling into the center of the wonton wrapper. Dip a finger into a glass of water and wet the edges of the wonton wrapper. Fold the top corner down to meet the bottom corner to form a triangle. Press out all of the air and seal the edges by pressing them together. Place finished crab rangoons on a platter underneath a damp kitchen towel to keep them from drying out.
4. When ready to fry, line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels. Carefully lower crab rangoons into the oil, about 6 at a time, and fry, until they are golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes, turning them over once halfway through the cooking time. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on the prepared baking sheet. Allow the crab rangoons to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.