Happy New Year | Crab Rangoon Recipe

Happy Lunar New Year! While this holiday isn’t nearly as celebrated in the States as it is over in the East, it’s still a huge deal in Asian-American communities. For my family, it means weekend-long get-togethers and a spread of way too much food for the number of guests in attendance. I’m pretty sure my mom only invites me home for the extra help in the kitchen (Kidding, my mom would kidnap me and keep me home always, if possible). That being said, I woke up at 7am last Saturday to help her churn out some apps for the family.

If you’ve ever been to a 3-star asian seafood buffet or picked up some Panda Express for a last minute meal, you are no stranger to the Crab Rangoon. Stuffed with a creamy fake crab filling, this is no fancy appetizer. Nonetheless, it’s always a party favorite. They’ve been mine since I was little and basically begged my mom to figure out how to make them. So we’ve been churning these out for every party since I was like ten.

It’s not a complicated recipe, but hand-folding all the wontons can take some time. Luckily, if you make an assembly line of your favorite sisters (or whoever you can rope into it), wonton making becomes a good hour of family bonding.

Ingredients

  • 16oz Imitation Crab
  • 16oz Cream Cheese
  • Wonton wrappers
  • Chives / Green onions
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Egg
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

1.Mark sure wonton wrappers and “crab” are fully defrosted. Set cream cheese out for a little bit to soften or blending will be quite difficult.

2. Finely chop up your chives or green onions. Enough to fill about half a cup.

3. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and pop it in the microwave for about 30 seconds or until the onions soften.

4. Add onions, “crab” and 8oz of the cream cheese into a food processor.

5. Pulse until everything is roughly chopped and mixed together. If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop up the crab and onions by hand then combine in with the cheese.

6. Pour out into a mixing bowl and fold in the remaining 8oz of cream cheese.

7. Add salt and pepper to taste.

8. Alright folks it’s wrapping time! Scoop about a teaspoon of cheese mix into a wonton wrapper.

9. Crack an egg into a bowl. Dip a finger or cooking brush into the egg and brush around the edges of the wonton wrapper.

10. With two fingers each hand, pinch four sides of the wrapper in to meet in the middle. You should end up with this little X shape.

11. Pinch the middle so the sides stick together, then work your way out along the edges of the X, slowly pressing all the gaps closed.

12. Voila! One wonton down, many many more to go. Keep folding until all your wontons are ready to fry!

13. Okay, frying time! Fill your fryer with your oil of choice and get the temperature up to about 425 to 450 degrees.

14. Pop your wontons in a few at a time and take them out with a slotted spoon once they’re evenly golden-brown. It’s important that they’re sealed really well or they’ll pop open at this step. Trust me, exploding wontons are much less tasty.

15. Set them on a rack to cool, letting the excess oil drip off the bottom.

16. Enjoy!

Hope your family loves these as much as mine! They’re great for little hands and disappear in seconds. Happy Eating!

Bon Shabu | Koreatown

Eating out can be really difficult when you’re trying to lose weight. Shabu shabu or hotpot, however, is probably one of the tastiest ways to treat yourself in a healthier way. If you haven’t done shabu before, it’s a pretty easy concept. You get a pot of broth on a stove top as well as an assortment of raw meats, veggies or noodles to cook in it. Imagine fondue but clean and soupier. Typically, you can mix and match sauces on the side to add extra flavor. My personal favorites are a garlicky ponzu and goma, a deliciously creamy goma sauce.

Unfortunately, there’s not a ton of shabu places on my side of town. A quick 30 minute drive out to K-town though means plenty to choose from. My sister was in town visiting her boyfriend so they swooped up and we headed out to Bon Shabu!

They do a split pot, so we got half Organic Beef Bone Broth and half Spicy Original. The spicy one had a kick to start, while the beef bone was really light in flavor. We dropped in a bunch of crab to start though and by the end of the night, with all the meat dipped in, it was a slightly sweet, deep flavor. Yum!

It’s AYCE so we tried pretty much all of the meats minus the chicken and basa fish. Most of the cuts were really lean. If you want tender, fattier cuts, go with the pork collar, pork belly, or the chuck top blade. On top of that, there’s a shrimp, mussels, crab, crawfish, fish balls, squid, ramen, udon and an assortment of vegetables – all available salad bar style.

One of my favorite parts was that they offered a bunch of Korean appetizers on the side. My favorites were the tangy fried chicken and the tteokboki!

Shabu’s one of my favorite all-time meals and I can’t wait to go back again! Or maybe I’ll venture out to somewhere new. Where are your go-to spots?

Mee & Greet | Culver City

So I’m kind of a skeptic when it comes to Vietnamese food in Los Angeles. Best case scenario it’s just okay and regardless, it’ll be overpriced. Make the extra 40 minute trek down to Westminster or Garden Grove. It’s just so much more worth. Or for me, the hour and half drive home to my parents, where everything is delicious and free. When Mee & Greet opened, I was kind of cautiously excited. It’s fusion. Most Vietnamese fusion is a banh mi but with non traditional ingredients. Or pho, but not. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Mee & Greet walked the fusion line pretty well. I apologize in advance for the terrible looking photos. I only had my phone with me and the restaurant is lit like a lounge with dim, neon lighting.

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First course we ordered was the Hainan chicken, served cold with garlic, soy and spicy dipping sauces. Not too much of a twist here, but also not a bad hainan chicken. The portion was pretty sad though.

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My favorite dish of the night – Bo Luc Lac Saltado. Traditionally, Bo Luc Lac is stir-fried marinated beef tips, usually served on a sizzling hot plate or on bed of lettuce with slices of tomato and cucumber. A simple salt, pepper and lime vinaigrette will either be used to dress the salad or left on the side to dip the individual tips into. On the side you’ll get a small bowl of a light clear broth and white rice. This was one of my favorite dishes growing up. What could make it even better? Turns out french fries will do the trick. Preparing the the dish Peruvian style, stir-fried with onions, tomatoes and french fries, was a brilliant idea. Everyone please put more french fries in everything, thanks.

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Tofu Family Style – prepared with serrano peppers, cilantro and spring onions. Silken tofu, deep fried and sitting in a light flavorful sauce. Yum! Pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this one.

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Turmeric Fried Chicken – These weren’t as exciting. One of my friends absolutely loved them, but I have a hunch she feels that way about all fried chicken.

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Mad for Garlic Noodles – Imagine a less greasy, less heavy-handed version of the garlic noodles you get at crawfish places like Boiling Crab. Not exciting, but when has the classic combination of carbs + garlic ever done you wrong?

I also ordered the grass jelly drink, which was basically the canned version I drank as a kid. Points for nostalgia, but negative points for having to pay LA drink prices for it. Overall, I actually really enjoyed the food. The prices were kind of unexpectedly high for the portion sizes though. I wanted more meat with all of the entrees we got. Especially the saltado. There were a few tiny tips of beef amidst all that onion and rice.

That being said, I liked the vibe of the place and the food was good. I would definitely go back for a snack and a drink or two.

Happy Eating!

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