2016.11.8

Election Feels Crab Rangoon

with sekret sauce

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This election is almost over and it is way too stressful. But crab rangoon are my childhood comfort food, so I’ve been eating my feels. Here is my recipe.

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Filling

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This makes a lot of crab rangoon. Seriously. But it is freezable (notes on that below). Do not do what I seem to be doing and eating all of them in a week. Seriously. Bad idea. Almost as bad as eating a whole cheesecake by yourself.

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    ¾ pounds cream cheese, room temperature

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    ½ bunch scallions

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    2 cloves of garlic (usually I am pro-garlic, but too much gets overpowering fast)

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    ¾ pound crab (or imitation crab)

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    generous dash of salt

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    small handful of sugar

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    Finely dice scallions, garlic, and crab. Mix, add salt and sugar.

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    Mix in cream cheese. A stand mixer at low speed helps a lot. But I do this by hand to work off excess nervious election energy.

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Notes on a vegan filling

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I have not tried this yet, but for a vegan filling the important part is keeping a simliar ratio of vegan cream cheese and “meat”. I’ve seen other recipes suggest canned red peppers, and hearts of palm. I would also suggest broccoli florettes (diced), oyster mushrooms, and minced zucchini. Okay, this is starting to sound even tastier than regular crab rangoon. Add a generous dash of your favorite umami-rich flavor sauce.

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Skins

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I use store-bought wrappers out of laziness. But you can make your own—which may actually be a good idea if you find yourself needing to work off more of that election frustration:

  • 3 cups flour
  • ¾ cup cold water
  • flour for dusting
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Knead into smooth dough, feel free to punch the dough if you need to. The dough is there help comfort you. But let it rest for 10 minutes before rollingit into long and thin roll, cut into 50 pieces, flatten its stupid orange face, dust generously with flour.

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Putting it together

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There are two ways to fold a crab rangoon. Into triangles, or up with four ears. I like the latter. It’s prettier and is helpful if you have an emergency and need to equitably divide the final few rangoons.

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Food democracy. It’s a thing. Look it up. (Actually it’s a completely different but still pretty awesome thing.)

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Place some filling in the center and fold the center of each side in (it’ll take some experimenting, but you can figure out how much filling is needed pretty quickly). Seal off the parts of the dough around the filling but leave the ears open.

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Frying

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I like using neutral oils with high smoke points, I prefer canola oil. Heat the oil slowly, if you’re not using a fryer, have enough oil in the pot you’re using so the rangoon can be fully submerged without touching the bottom, as they heat up they’ll float just below the surface. Remove when golden brown.

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Note on freezing

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This makes a really big batch of crab rangoon. I do not suggest eating them all within the same week. No. Seriously, that much fried food is really bad for your skin. Yes, even if election night is approaching and you are absolutely terrified of what is happening.

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Par-fry your crab rangoon before freezing, that means fry them until they’re almost but not-quite done. Otherwise the dough dries out and will not fry properly after defrosting. Normally I freeze and bag my dumplings raw. You can not do this with crab rangoon. I learned this the hard way. It makes me sad. But if you fry first, you may be able to reheat them in yer toaster oven instead of refrying them. A victory worthy an election party!

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Sekret dipping sauce

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(This sauce recipe is proprietary to Mandarine House in Caramel, Indiana, and another restaurant in Chinatown Seattle, it will be deleted after an election winner is declared. So save it while you can.)

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¼ can of sliced peaches, drained.

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¼ can of pineapple, drained.

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2 maraschino cherries

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splash of grenadine

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Blend together with a blender, not a food processor. Chill.

2016.09.7

MOONCAKES

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This recipe is from my father’s old Taiwanese snacks cookbook. It is forgiving enough that a bunch of precocious college students can pull it off their first time.

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Ingredients

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I’ve divided the ingredients into two parts: the filling, and the dough.

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Filling

  • 20 “salty egg yolks” (I hate salty eggs and leave them out, but this book has a recipe for this if you really want them)
  • 4 cups red bean paste (I buy canned because I’m lazy, but this book has a recipe for this, too.)
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If you can find or make them, lotus seed or fig paste are also pretty tasty, the important part is making sure you have the right amount.

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Dough for the wrapper skins

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It’s helpful to mix the dough together in three parts

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Part 1:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ cup milk powder
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Part 2:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1¼ sugar
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Part 3:

  • ¾ cup melted butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
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Also…

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1 egg yolk for the egg wash.

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Method

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Filling:

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Bake salty egg yolks at 350℉ for 15 minutes, remove and cool. Separate red bean paste into 20 portions. Roll each portion into a ball and use your thumb to make a shallow indentation in the center of each piece to wrap an egg yolk in the center, roll back into a ball. (I avoid the salty egg yolk altogether, if you don’t like them, you have my permission to do so, too.)

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Skin:

  1. Sift [part 1] together, do this 3 times.
  2. Lightly beat [part 2] together until the sugar dissolves, add [part 3], and mix well. Fold in [part 1] and mix into a soft dough. Divide into 20 pieces.
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Puttin’ it together:

  1. Lightly press each piece into a 4-inch circle, place filling in the center of the dough and gather the edges of the dough to enclose the filling.
  2. If you—like I—do not have a mold, that is totes okay. Gently flatten the cake until it’s about the right shape. Its beauty will not be in the shape of a mold, and that is totally okay. Its beauty comes from the love and care you took to make a moon cake. And that is the most beautiful and honorable shape possible for a moon cake. If you are like me and my friends in college, you can take some red food dye and write characters on the top. Or draw pictures.
  3. Place each moon cake on an ungreased cookie sheet, brush the top with a beaten egg yolk. Preheat oven to 400℉ and bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown.
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Note: In college—in Wisconsin—my friend wanted to send ice cream moon cakes to a friend in Hong Kong. So he bought freeze dried ice cream and we made freeze dried ice cream mooncakes instead of red bean paste mooncake. They are now married. What I’m saying is this recipe is really damn forgiving. The beauty in mooncakes, like beauty in all the things we make for our friends and family, is in the love of the making.

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Happy harvest, y’all.