Friday, September 28, 2007

Potstickers and Crab Rangoon

Sometimes the appetizers are the best part of the meal. So why not make them the meal?

Note: The amounts in this recipe make double what you will need to fill a package of wonton ton wrappers if you make both kinds of filling. Both freeze well.

Crab Rangoon
1/2 package of wonton wrappers
1 package cream cheese
1/2 package imitation crab, coarsely chopped (honestly, I'm still weirded out by imitation crab, but I can't justify real crab in this cheesy fried recipe.
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 scallions, finely chopped
ground black pepper to taste
oil to deep fry

Mix all ingredients well. Heat oil in deep pan. To fill the wonton wrappers, I like to make a sort of assemble line. Spread the wonton wrappers on a clean, DRY cutting board or counter. Place a tiny (1/2 to 3/4 tsp.) amount of filling in the center of each wrapper. From a small bowl, dampen a fingertip and use it to wet the edges of the wrapper. Close the wrapper to form a triangle. Dampen the two corners and fold in to form a envelope shape. Once all the rangoon are made and the oil is hot, fry in batches and drain on paper towels.

I've tried several recipes and my favorite is from Alton Brown:
1/2 pound ground pork
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons ketchup
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
35 to 40 small wonton wrappers (I use half this when I'm also making the crab rangoon.)
Water, for sealing wontons 3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, for frying
1 1/3 cups chicken stock, divided

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Combine the first 11 ingredients in a medium-size mixing bowl (pork through cayenne). Set aside. To form the dumplings, remove 1 wonton wrapper from the package, covering the others with a damp cloth. Brush 2 of the edges of the wrapper lightly with water. Place 1/2 rounded teaspoon of the pork mixture in the center of the wrapper. Fold over, seal edges, and shape as desired. Set on a sheet pan and cover with a damp cloth. Repeat procedure until all (or half if applicable) of the filling is gone.

Note: I don't bother with covering anything with a damp towel and I haven't had a problem with drying out. As with the rangoons, I fill a batch of wrappers, then dampen and seal them all as this seems faster. To shape them, I fold into a triangle, then crimp in the middle of the triangle sides.

Heat a 12-inch saute pan over medium heat. Brush with vegetable oil once hot. Add 8 to 10 potstickers at a time to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, without touching. Once the 2 minutes are up, gently add 1/3 cup chicken stock to the pan, turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove wontons to a heatproof platter and place in the warm oven. Clean the pan in between batches by pouring in water and allowing the pan to deglaze. Repeat until all the wontons are cooked. Serve immediately.

The recipe can be found here: Alton Brown's Perfect Potstickers.

Dipping Sauce

I use this dipping sauce from for both appetizers:
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbs. ketchup
2 Tbs. cornstarch (I use 1 Tbs, because I like it a little thinner.)

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil stirring until it begins to thicken.

I like a little heat, so after the sauce it boiled, I add a little Chinese Hot Mustard.

The recipe can be found here: Sweet and Sour Sauce.