I used to work in this vietnamese restaurant when I was in my early 20’s. It was one of my first serving jobs. Although I enjoyed ‘Coon’s’ recollections of leaving Vietnam as a child in the 70’s, how him and his brother had to swim off shore to a ship, that eventually took them to America. Really, I could hardly understand him. But, they were good stories, full of bright smiles and hearty laughter. That little man taught me a lot about people, good food and everything you don’t want to know about restaurant kitchen’s!
I served, and ate, so many things I was unfamiliar with. Vietnamese cuisine is very intriguing and working there has led me to be adventurous in my own kitchen as well as when I am dining out. However, one of my first loves, and not so adventurous, was crab rangoon. It seemed to me that everyone liked crab rangoon. Almost every order I placed in the kitchen started with this appetizer. Even if someone ordered spring rolls, Cha Gio (you say Jai-Ya, Bruce Lee says High-Ya!) and Kung Pao Squid, crab rangoon was usually there too.
Now, I ate a lot of crab rangoon before I realized that there was no crab, or very little crab, in those rangoons! So, now when I make them at home I skip the crab. It’s not really the star in these delicious, creamy, crunchy starters, or in my family’s case, side dish.
So here is how I do it. I still love them and even my 4 year old does! Of course she does!
Shred up a carrot, slice a few green onions. Or don’t. Filling with just plain cream cheese, cream cheese with a slice of fresh hot pepper or flavored cream cheese works too. I just happened to notice that whether there was crab in the crab rangoon or not, there always seemed to be green onion and shredded carrot. And boy do these ingredients make the flavor pop!
Line out your store bought wrappers. Egg roll, wonton or gyoza wrappers. It doesn’t matter to me. I use what I have! Have fun, put less pressure on yourself!
Fill and fold.
Now. I am not Vietnamese, and I am not a professional chef. I do not have my Vietnamese Grandmother to whip these babies out perfectly and in record time so one fold over works great for this Mama!
Spread some vegetable oil, rub it ALL OVER with your fingers and bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Alternatively, you could use a cooking spray and spray both sides. I’ve done that before but I don’t usually have that stuff in the pantry. Sometimes I dip these in Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce, sometimes I don’t. But what I definitely don’t do is make homemade sweet and sour sauce. Cause well, like I said, have fun! Put less pressure on yourself!
So these are my American, baked, cream cheese (not crab) wontons. No fancy folds, just quick, delicious results!
375 10-12 minutes TOTAL TIME 30 minutes
- 8 oz. Cream cheese or Neufchatel
- 1 carrot-shredded
- 2 green onions-thinly chopped
- 12 wonton wrappers
- 1 T vegetable oil
Shred carrots and dice green onion. Place in a bowl.
Add room temperature cream cheese. Stir.
Fill wonton wrappers by dropping mixture using 2 small spoons.
Sparingly wet edges of wonton wrapper with water using a basting brush, or your finger.
Fold and press edges to seal.
Drizzle with oil, spread evenly with fingers, or spray with a cooking spray