I’ve always thought of this vintage throwback as a weird amalgamation – crabmeat, cheese, water chestnuts and ginger all wrapped in a wonton and fried. Crazytalk! But altogether, it’s a delight – one that I first tried at the now closed tiki restaurant, Honolulu, that was right off the highway in Alexandria, Virginia.
Now, I find it hard to track down a good version from Chinese takeout places, and instead, make my own. If you love crab rangoon, but hate how many places use artificial crab meat, or worse, only cream cheese, then this is the recipe for you. Tender crab is perked up by sesame oil, ground ginger and the crunch of water chestnuts, with just enough cream cheese to bind it all together. Continue reading Crab Rangoon with Sweet Chili Sauce
In that I am an avid dumpling maker (so that I can afford to be a voracious dumpling eater), I tend to go through quite a bit of filling for the little buggers. Much like the hot dog/hot dog bun conundrum (12 hot dogs vs. 8 buns), I often find myself with more filling than I have wrappers for. What to do?!?
Given that the filling does not tend to keep very well (overnight at best, and never defrosted from frozen), I have found a quick and easy solution with wontons. The wrappers are easy to come by in the produce section of the market (usually with the tofu) and can be transformed into the loveliest of soups. In Chinese, wonton means “swallowing a cloud” – easily the perfect descriptor for a soup that is both complex and delicate at the same time.
So what’s the game plan, you may ask? Very simple. Bolster your leftover filling with some fresh shrimp, sesame oil and cornstarch. Fill the wonton wrappers and twist into little satchels until you are out of filling. Freeze the wrappers (as these guys do keep well) and make a pot of wonton soup. If you have leftover wontons beyond the soup, either pan fry and serve with soy dipping sauce or deep fry and serve with duck sauce. Last but not least, relish in your delicious frugality and trenchant wit. Probably the most important step of all.
Thrifty Shrimp Wontons
1 lb. of shrimp, peeled and chopped
about 1 c. of leftover dumpling filling
1 tbs. of corn starch
2 tbs. of sesame oil
1 package of wonton skins
1 quart of chicken stock
1 tbs. of soy sauce
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 inch of ginger, peeled
In a standing mixer or with a spoon, mix the leftover dumpling filling with the shrimp, corn starch and sesame oil. Fill the wonton wrappers with a teaspoon each of filling. Wet the edges with a bit of water and twist the corners together to form a little “money bag”. Dip the bottom of the money bag into a small amount of flour and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Repeat until you have used up all of your filling. Set aside
Pour the chicken stock, soy and ginger into a pot and bring to a boil. Add as many wontons as you’d like to eat (no more than 10 per quart of stock) and cook for 4-5 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top with a handful of scallions. Dig in.
Variations on the Soup
As a means of extending the majesty, feel free to use any of these add-ins:
- handful of baby spinach
- handful of bean sprouts
- thinly sliced Chinese BBQ pork
- crispy fried onions or shallots
- thinly sliced chicken breast
- lo mein, mai fun or udon noodles
- peeled shrimp