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Monday, July 27, 2009

Crab Rangoons

Crab Rangoons 1

When Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok, host of the cilantro roundup of Weekend Wokking, announced CHEESE as the secret ingredient for this month's challenge, I thought I'd have to go with some kind of pasta or pizza dish. Luckily, I remembered I had crab rangoons sitting in the queue.

I know they're horribly inauthentic. Imitation crab meat and cream cheese in a fried wonton wrapper. And yet, every time I hit up a Chinese buffet, I can't help myself. Especially, if I dip them into cloyingly sweet and sour sauce.

According to Wikipedia, crab rangoons are an American Chinese or more recently, American Thai, restaurant staple. It may have been created or at least was popularized by Polynesian-themed Trader Vic's in San Francisco in 1957. But wait, wasn't Rangoon (now Yangoon) a city in Burma (now Myanmar)? Supposedly the dish served at a Hawaiian-themed party in 1952 was called "Rangoon a la Jack." Who's Jack?

Maybe we'll never know the true origins of this appetizer, but there's no arguing its deliciousness, or that Tiki culture is still popular.

Crab Rangoons 2

Crab Rangoons

For a whole heap of a lot of appetizers, you'll need:
1 package wonton wrappers
1 8-oz package cream cheese
1 lb imitation crab meat
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Optional: 1 tsp Sriracha chili sauce

You'll need imitation crab meat. Since crab rangoons are inauthentic, you don't want to get real crab meat now. Flake them if you wish.

Crab Rangoons 3

Or grind with 4 chopped scallions, 2 tsp soy sauce, 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, and 1 tsp Sriracha chili sauce. Quickly pulse in a food processor.

Crab Rangoons 4

Then mix the filling with an 8-oz container cream cheese. This might get a little messy. Alternatively, you can cut up the cream cheese into small cubes and then mix it with the filling.

Place about 2 tsp of the mixture on one side of a wonton wrapper, wet the rim of the wrapper with your finger, fold over, and crease. You know how to do this, right? I don't need photos to show you?

Or fold them into pretty shapes if you wish.

Crab Rangoons 5

Fry on medium-high heat until golden.

Drain and serve. Preferably with sweet and sour sauce.


I'm submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks to celebrate the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient. This month's secret ingredient is CHEESE. The host for August is Yasmeen of Health Nut. Do check her cheese roundup for 16 recipes using all kinds of cheeses.

If you'd like to participate or to see the secret ingredient, check who's hosting next month. If you've participated in the past and would like to host, please email me.

Since we're all about cheese this month, my other cheese recipes:
Baked Goat Cheese with Pesto and Tomato Sauce
Butter, Cream Cheese, Italian Meat Trio Sandwich
Celery, Bleu Cheese, and Walnut Salad
Chicken Enchiladas with Nutella Mole Poblano
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Cobb Salad
Deep-fried Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Basil and Cottage Cheese
Feta Cheeseburgers with Baked Garlic Fries
French Bread Pizza
Iceberg Wedge Salad with Bleu/Blue Cheese Dressing
Vegetarian Lasagna with Broccoli, Kale, and Zucchini
Vegetarian Lasagna with Feta Cheese, Spinach, and Tofu
Lasagna with Meat Sauce
Melanzane alla Parmigiana (Italian Eggplant Parmesan)
Pastitsio (Greek "Lasagna")
Ravioli with Basil, Squash Blossoms, and Ricotta
Squash Blossom and Prosciutto Pizza
Squash Blossom Quesadilla

1 year ago today, Southern Baked Beans.
2 years ago today, Deep-Fried Squash Blossoms.



  1. Delicious!I love wonton wraps ,with cheese and crab filling this is totally tempting.I'm glad to be hosting this month's WW.:D

  2. This might get me banned from my "Chinese food" rep, but I'm a big fan of these rangoons. This probably was the lone dish I'd look forward to when I hit up Chinese buffets in College....

  3. Yeah, I love these. Yeah, they're not real Asian food. :)

  4. Perfect timing! I bought a rather large package of krab and was wondering what to do with all of it (it doesn't always freeze well for me). All I need are some green onions -- yay! Thanks for the instructions. I think I would've mixed it by hand rather than the food processor -- much more thorough in the processor.
    (the open ID thing doesn't work, but 'tis me, nikkipolani)

  5. I have a weakness for these suckers too! Recipe looks easy enough, even though I very rarely deep-fry anything in my kitchen. But this will definitely be one of the dishes to make when I go that crunchy-crispy route!

  6. Never have I ever eaten crab rangoon! Everyone, put a finger down. I'm positive I'd love 'em though.

  7. I had ordered a LOT of Chinese takeout in my life, but not until I moved to St Louis from Philadelphia did I come across these.

    Perhaps inauthentic, but undisputable proof that innovation is alive and well!

  8. I guess it's more of a US thing? I've never come acorss them ever!

    (Oh, at first I thought this was your CHINA entry, hehe.)

  9. I don't ever remember trying out crab rangoons or hearing about crab rangoons before! (I am so behind!) I'll be for the lookout for it when I visit a Chinese buffet someday in my local area.

  10. Don't think of them as "inauthentic Chinese" -- think of them as "authentic American Chinese". It doesn't get more "1980s Chinese buffet in Iowa" than Crab Rangoons, after all.

  11. Thanks for the visit! And yes, I am loving VN food. I have 2 cookbooks plus your blog that make things so much easier! You have been a wonderful addition to my kitchen!

    Can't wait to try these rangoons - they just look like fun ~ :)

  12. Jin,
    Crab rangoons are so easy to make. No need to travel across the country for some.

    Thank you for hosting Weekend Wokking!

    Haha. Likewise. ;)

    You mean Asians don't cook with cream cheese?

    Yours looks wonderful and I would have added cilantro if I had some on hand too.

    What is up with Asians and our love for these things? I'll make them for you the next time I have a dinner party.


    Never? Guess you don't do Chinese American buffets?

    Haha. That leads me to think that St. Louis must not have very authentic Chinese food...

    Yes, indeed.

    Perhaps? I know I've usually only eaten them at Chinese American buffets. I have so many possible entries for my China Regional Recipes. Which to choose?

    Haha. I think it's because you eat at real Chinese restaurants where cream cheese would never be on the menu. They have them at Zen Buffet.

    I like that approach. It *is* authentic American Chinese cuisine though!

    They're great appetizers for parties.

  13. Have you made them with real crab before? Would the flavor be improved enough to be worth it? Nice rangoon history lesson

  14. Aaron,
    The fake crab adds a little savoriness to the cream cheese. If you wanted to use real crab, I'd lessen the cream cheese so it doesn't overpower the crab meat. But what a waste! Or just omit the cream cheese and make crab wontons? Ooh, crab and shrimp wontons?

  15. My Fiance makes the exact same thing. She made it the first week we started dating. Seeing this recipe brings back fond memories


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