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Crab Rangoon

The things you find after moving as many times as we have: I had developed this recipe from a Better Homes and Gardens book from the 1960s - it had Bumble Bee can crab, and various other modern saving ingredients and I swap out many of those ingredients but I thought the cream cheese work, it was such a staple of the 1950s through to the '70s.

The dipping sauce is a standard one, it was written on the margin of the paper I wrote the Rangoon recipe on, not sure where it came from, it did have the sweet chili sauce on it but I crossed it out as too $$$$ to make.



2 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese

3 tablespoons sliced scallion greens

½ lemon, zested

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups/7.5 ounces lump crab meat

1 (12-ounce) package yellow square (about 3 1/2-inch) wonton wrappers (about 50)

All-purpose flour, for dusting

3 quarts canola oil

Dipping Sauce

3 to 4 limes, halved crosswise

2 red or green jalapeños, halved lengthwise 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup fish sauce

2 tablespoons minced ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons roughly chopped Thai basil


Dipping Sauce

Coat limes and jalapeños lightly with oil and place on grill over medium heat, cut sides down.

Cook until cut sides are golden brown streaked with black, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip over and move to the side or back of the grill where the temperature is low. Cook until limes and chiles are soft enough to yield easily when squeezed with tongs, at least 5 and up to 20 minutes. Remove from grill, place in a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap, set aside to self-steam, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Note: you can also “grill” the limes and jalapenos in a cast-iron skillet.

Uncover jalapenos and limes, remove jalapenos and peel off the skin, remove the tops and seeds if you wish, then mince and place in a medium bowl.

Squeeze the limes into the bowl with the jalapenos and pour any juices that are collected in the “steaming” bowl in with the jalapenos. add all remaining ingredients and whisk together. Set aside.


Remove the cream cheese from its packaging, set it in a large bowl, and let it soften at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Add the scallions, lemon zest, sugar, and salt to the softened cream cheese. Using clean hands, gently flake the crab meat into a separate bowl; pick out any shell fragments. Using a silicone spatula, mix the shredded crab into the cream cheese mixture until evenly incorporated.

Unwrap the wonton wrappers from their packaging and separate them from one another. Stack them loosely and completely cover them with a damp paper towel to keep them moist. Place 1 cup of water in a nearby bowl.

Place a wrapper on a flat surface, rotated in a diamond position. Spoon 2 to 3 teaspoons of the filling into its center, using another small spoon to assist in scraping it off the teaspoon. Dip your index finger into the water, then use it to moisten the entire edge of the wrapper. To make a simple Rangoon, fold the wrapper into a triangle by pulling one corner to its opposite corner, pressing out any air, and sealing the wonton shut. To make a star-shaped Rangoon, lift the left and right corners underneath between your index fingers and thumbs, and lift them up toward the center, pinching your index fingers and thumbs along the seams to fold each tip as you do it so that a four-pointed star shape forms. Squeeze out any air, then seal the wrapper along with the other two tips so the filling is entirely encased.

Place the sealed Rangoon on a sheet pan or flat surface dusted with flour as you repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. Freeze them for at least 15 minutes (or up to 2 weeks in an airtight container) before cooking to ensure that they leak less during frying.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven to 350 degrees. Keep the oil over a medium flame to help maintain the temperature. Working in batches, fry the Rangoons until golden brown and crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a paper towel-lined baking sheet.

Let cool a few minutes before serving. Enjoy with the dipping sauce or another sauce of your choice, like the sweet chili sauce shown in the picture (store-bought too much $$$ to make from scratch, easier and cheaper to buy).


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