Sometimes you just gotta have fried garlicky cream cheese in a crispy wrapper.
I understand. I understand so well.
I’m a crab rangoon snob. After working in an Asian restaurant for 5 years, there are certain flavors that have to be met and if you can’t match the majesty of the place I worked at, where the crab rangoon are made by the Chinese immigrant father of one of the owners, then I don’t want to deal with it. Unfortunately for me, that restaurant is roughly a thousand miles to the Southwest.
Crab isn’t something I keep around the house, but tuna cans are often tucked away in the cabinet when I really need to eat the flesh of something (sorry vegetarians, this is the pescetarian in me showing it’s glazed-eye face). The nice thing is tuna and cream cheese go together just as well as crab and cream cheese, so there is little love lost in this alteration.
At Tasia, our crab rangoon had this incredible savory, garlic and green onion flavor that made your mouth water. In a land where most crab rangoon were sweet, this was a delicious take in a different direction. They’re incredible and I had my portion of sweet to savory converts throughout my high school and college career. So the other night when I knew my husband wanted tuna rangoon but I wasn’t certain how to flavor it, my friend who I was Facetiming suggested “Garlic and green onions?” Of course! That’s the only way to do it!
Aside from the egg roll wrappers, everything should be in your cabinet, fridge, and garden. It’s super simple to mix up and the longest part of the whole thing is folding the tuna rangoon, but if you’re Facetiming with a best friend while you both prepare supper and are discussing the most recent controversies of Common Core Standards (or something less painful to think about), it goes by fast.
- 8 oz 1/3 Fat Cream Cheese, softened
- 1 6 oz can of Tuna, drained (the kitties love that juice)
- 1 Tbsp Onion Powder
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Salt (plus more to taste)
- 1 tsp (2 cloves) Fresh Garlic, minced
- 2-3 Tbsp Fresh Chives, chopped
- Egg roll wrappers or wonton wrappers (due to availability, I used Melissa’s Egg Roll Wrappers 15 Count and cut them into quarters)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 egg
- Canola Oil
Let’s Get Cooking:
- In a small skillet over medium heat, cook the teaspoon of fresh garlic in about a teaspoon of hot canola oil until the garlic is no longer raw, just a few seconds. It will turn from white to somewhat tan then remove from heat. Keep an eye on it as burned garlic is bad garlic.
- Combine the cream cheese and drained tuna in a medium or large mixing bowl. Add the onion powder, garlic salt, cooked garlic, fresh chopped chives, and mix thoroughly.
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk the 1/4 cup water and egg to create the glue to hold the tuna rangoon together. Lay out a large plate or two covered with 2 layers of paper towels. Do this now as once you begin to fry, you won’t have time to set it up before the rangoon begin to brown too much.
- Using either wonton wrappers, or egg roll wrappers cut into fourths, place about a teaspoon of the cream cheese tuna mixture in the center of the wrapper and place on a baking sheet. Once the baking sheet is full, wash your fingers clean of the tuna mixture (I’m assuming you needed your fingers) and then using a spoon, drag a thin line of the egg mixture along the outside of the wrapper. If you need to use your fingers here in order to make the egg mixture work, that’s cool too. I’m a fan of a variation on the four-point star style, but find your own favorite way to fold your rangoon with Homemade Chinese Soups’ How To Fold Wontons post. It’s a really helpful article with lots of pictures and embedded videos.
- With the tray of rangoon now folded and moved to one side, return to placing a teaspoon of filling in the wrappers until you fill up the baking sheet again, and then repeat closing the rangoon. Repeat until the cream cheese is used up, or until you’re just done folding rangoon, which ever comes first. Hey, this cream cheese tuna will also make for an excellent chip dip, just sayin’.
- Fill a saucepan with canola oil until it’s about 2 inches deep and heat to medium high (about 2 notches away from ‘HI’; personally, I’m a fan of the 3-quart covered saute pan, it’s perfect for this, but if you have a deep fryer, by all means get that baby out). Once the oil is hot, drop one of the rangoon in for a test. The rangoon should immediately begin to fry with little steam bubbles coming forth (see image). If it doesn’t steam, take the rangoon out and let the oil continue to heat–you need it to be hotter**.
- Working in batches, fry several rangoon at a time. If using the 3-quart pan you should be able to cook about 12 or 13 rangoon at a time without compromising the heat, and as soon as you place the last one, immediately flip the rangoon over with a pair of tongs so the up-side cooks too. As soon as you’re done flipping them in the order you lay them down, you can remove the rangoon from the frying pan and lay on a plate covered with paper towels to absorb that excess oil. Because these rangoon are so small and there’s so little filling, the entire cooking process time should only take about 2 or 3 minutes total, if even that.
And there you have it! Super simple Tuna Rangoon. They’re garlicky, savory, and finger licking delicious. I definitely suggest serving this with Vegetarian Buffalo’s Amino Sweet and Sour Sauce. It’s sweet, but because of the liquid aminos, there’s this depth of flavor that really brings this sweet and sour sauce up a level. The entire combo is just dangerous, you and everyone around you is going to love it.
**The reason the oil needs to be bubbling hot as soon as food touches it has to do with the Deep Frying Cooking Method. The hot oil effects the moisture in the food being cooked, causing the water within the food to immediately vaporize. You can see this process take affect by the steam bubbles escaping from the food into the oil. When done correctly, this method actually doesn’t severely increase the intake of oil into the food because of the gases forcing their way out (the oil also drains off once removed from the fryer). When done incorrectly, though, there is no outward pressure and that’s when oil absorbs into the food, making it not only extra greasy, but also making it so the food inside does not reach the temperature to steam-cook.
This is not endorsing deep frying as a regular cooking method, but rather as a cooking method to appreciate as an art form and connect us with our past. Fried foods should only be enjoyed on a scant basis and as a very small part of an otherwise various and healthy diet of vegetables, proteins, and water.