During my fourteen years of being sans meat, I’ve found that when you ask a vegetarian “Why aren’t you a vegan?” Their response is either “too expensive” or “cheese.” In order to help my fellow comrades out, I’m scouring the internet for the cheesiest recipes around. This blog series will follow my journey in recreating the best, cheesy meat-free dishes on the web and featuring the history of the cheese of the week.
Missed last week’s recipe? Check out the Baked Apple Brie!
A few weeks ago, we discussed the history of cream cheese in the context of my Cheesecake Sopapillas; today, we’re going to delve into the cream cheese wonton. Most people are familiar with the appetizer by its Chinese-American food form, the crab rangoon.
The history of this Asian stuffed pastry shell is a little fishy. First of all, it is not really authentic Asian cuisine, which is probably due to fact that cheese has been historically absent from their diets. The crab rangoon is, in fact, quite American. There are rumors that these delicious bites came from the city of Yangon in Myanmar (which British colonialists pronounced as “Rangoon”), but Victor Bergeron, founder of Trader Vic’s, takes the most credit for the invention of the little bites. They appeared on his restaurant menu in 1956; traces of the fried puffs are scarce before then. Bergeron also claims to be the first to have created the Mai Tai.
Even though many versions of crab rangoons use imitation-crab, there is no way to really tell without offending the chef. On the off-chance that the hole-in-the-wall place nearby you buys the real stuff, here’s a meat-free vegetarian version to satisfy your flaky wonton needs.
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
- 2 green onions, chopped
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 16 wonton wrappers
- Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Grease 9-by-13-inch pan with cooking spray.
- Mix cream cheese, green onions, and garlic powder in large bowl with hand-held blender.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg and mix in water.
- Place wonton wrapper on plate. Scoop 1 teaspoon cream cheese mixture in the middle. With a brush, wet edges of wrapper with egg wash. Using your fingers, pick up each edge of the wonton and pinch tightly at the top to form an x. Repeat with the rest of wrappers, placing them onto greased sheet.
- Spray wontons lightly with cooking spray. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes or until edges look light brown and crispy.