I used to love eating crab rangoon at Chinese buffets or ordering it for takeout, so when I had a random hankering for this deep-fried item of sin this weekend, I made a vegan version of them. I replaced the cream cheese easily with Tofutti non-hydrogenated cream cheese, but was stumped on what to use for the crab. I had tempeh on hand, which I have used to make crab cakes before, but when I looked deeper into my cupboards, I came across a can of young green jackfruit—which I found in Chinatown a couple months ago for under two dollars—and decided that this would function as my “crab” for this application. These of course taste best deep fried, but can also be folded into triangles and baked instead. A Thai chili sauce provides the perfect blend of heat and sweetness to balance out this this rich and decadent dish.
VEGAN CRAB RANGOON
Yield 30 pieces
- 20 oz. can of young green jackfruit, in brine or water
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1, 8 oz. tub of Tofutti brand non-hydrogenated cream cheese (softened at room temperature for about an hour before using)
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- square vegan wonton wrappers (or make your own)
- canola or grapeseed oil
- prepared Thai chili sauce (or make your own)
- chopped scallions
- black and white sesame seeds
- Drain the jackfruit and place into a crockpot with the broth, ensuring all pieces are covered with the liquid, adding a bit more broth if needed. Cook the jackfruit for 2-3 hours on the highest setting.
- Remove the jackfruit from the broth (you can reserve the broth for using later), and shred it up as finely as possible with a fork and knife. It should be really soft and almost fall apart. Discard any seeds or tough pieces. Measure out 1 cup of the shredded jackfruit and place it into a bowl. (Use any leftover jackfruit to make this salad or other jackfruit recipes.)
- Add in the scallion and sesame oil, and mix to combine. Then, add in the softened vegan cream cheese and stir until well combined. Set aside.
- To deep fry them, place several inches of canola or grapeseed oil into a small saucepan. To prepare them for frying, place a teaspoon of the filling in the center of the wonton, then fold them. I folded them by dabbing water at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, then folded 12 and 6 o’clock up like a taco, then pushed in the sides at 3 and 9 o’clock, pinching them well to form a seal.
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat for about 7 minutes. Throw a pinch of the filling into the oil. If it sizzle immediately, you are ready to fry.
- Slowly drop 2 of the wontons into the hot oil until golden brown (it should only take 45 seconds or so). Transfer to a paper towel to drain, and repeat until all of the wontons are fried.
- To bake them, preheat your oven to 425. Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of a wonton. Run a bit of water with your finger around all of the edges, then fold it over to create a triangle. Place them onto a well-oiled baking sheet. Bake for about 7 minutes on one side (or until golden brown), flip, then bake the other side for an additional 4 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Serve immediately with the homemade or prepared Thai chili sauce.