Crab Rangoon – The Four “F’s” of Failure

Crab Rangoon Failures

I have something really important to say that has been eating me up inside for weeks.  If I don’t share it with the world soon, I just might explode like the three Easter Peep’s I “accidently” left in the microwave.

I have a weakness for Chinese buffets.

Insert heavy gasping and moaning here.

Don’t ask me why.  I can’t really explain it.  Perhaps it’s the sweetness of my server as she refers to me by my beverage choice in her broken English.  Or maybe it’s the tingly feeling I get when I dive my chopsticks deep into the goopy mounds of things that taste like chicken.

Several weeks ago I decided to recreate the same joyful sensations at home as I feel at my local, tacky decorated, Chinese restaurant.  Crab Rangoon are one of my favorites.  So why not attempt to make them on my own?

They were a total FAILURE!

I learned several very valuable lessons that faithful evening.  So sit back and enjoy my four “F’s” of failure.   In the mean time, I’m going to leave the Crab Rangoon making to the experts.

Folding: The original recipe called for folding the wontons in the shape of a triangle.  Since I’m not one to follow the status quo, I opted for a more complicated corner to corner pattern.  My lesson here was the process of aligning all four corners together was so time consuming, I got bored after the first five.  Keep it simple and fold it into a triangle pocket.

Frying:  This recipe reminded me of why I don’t deep fry very much.  I hate how my kitchen seems to smell like the back of a fast food restaurant every time I pour even the tiniest amount of oil in a pan.  Mainly, my oil was way too hot for frying the delicate packets.  The first few looked more like blackened golf balls than what they should really look like.  Invest in a really good thermometer.

Filling: The filling was completely flavorless.  I even tried to kick the spice up by adding a half a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.  I don’t think it was the fault of the original recipe author.   The problem most likely was the cheap imitation crab I found on sale.  Even though times are tough, real crab would have made a world of difference.

Freezing: Ever make something that you really didn’t like and store it in the freezer to not waste food?  Only to leave it there until it becomes so freezer burned it’s completely unrecognizable?  Well, I decided to only cook half of the recipe and store the remaining in the freezer.  Every time I opened the door to reach for the ice cream, there they were reminding of my failures.  Save yourself the trouble.  If you didn’t like it the first time, what makes you think you’re going to like it later?

Authors Note:  Sure the photo may look pretty.  But don’t be fooled, they aren’t as easy as they look.

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  • I fold the sides of mine in so the corners form little points. Just a little spot of water on each side of the wonton wrapper and pinch all four sides in together (does take a little two handed coordination, but not too difficult). But my kids like folding them into little envelopes, kind of eggroll like….lol

  • After experiencing 2 of your 4 F’s I have decided to leave Chinese cuisine to the experts. When someone else makes rangoons they are fabulous. When I make them they are a huge disappointment of flavorless calories.

  • I’m attempting to make Crab Rangoon tomorrow for my Asian themed dinner party. Should be interesting. Thanks for the 4 F’s! I’ll keep you posted.

  • Yes, the one main problem I run into with crab rangoon is that they want to explode when cooking. I’m going to try to freeze them and mix a little cornstarch into the filling to absorb any excess moisture. Two experiments for the greater good!

    The other way to fix the problem is to use the thicker egg roll wrappers that can withstand the interior assault from steam, but I prefer the thinner wonton wrappers.

    Thanks for the challenge. What a great idea to post cooking mishaps.


  • This story makes me slightly sad. Mainly because I love Crab Ragoons (and the many possible variations). I also love to make them at home.

    My advice:
    1) Try a different filling, this can make all the difference. Be adventurous. I live in a region that basically has no crab, but I use tuna steaks or salmon instead sometimes. Use a hot sauce, shallots, sesame seeds or fresh herbs.
    2) Only fold in triangles. I have neither the attention span nor the motor skills to make any sort of fancy shape. It will all taste the same.
    3) I don’t have a deep fryer, I found it is easier to fry the triangle shape. And it just takes a little patience.
    4) I have never had left overs so have never tried to freeze them.
    5) Even if they turn out a little bland have an awesome sauce.

    Please do not be discouraged, they are too tasty to give up on.

  • Hi,

    I make crab rangoon and teach it when I do Asian cooking classes. I made up a recipe one day during the summer, and it seems to work just fine. Real crab, cream cheese, scallions, a shot of lemon juice and worcestershire sauce or fish sauce … that’s about it. Having a deep fryer really helps. I have a Delonghi with a filter, so the house doesn’t smell. I have a party this Thursday. Maybe I can make crab rangoon for the party and post for you. — Ninette

    • Hey Ninette, an Asian cooking class sounds like fun. If you do decide to post about Crab Rangoon, I would love to read about it.

  • Well, good try. I’ve never made crab rangoon before..and I don’t know if I’ll ever try it. Will leave it up to the cheap Chinese buffet restaurants!

    Does your buffet have those yum donuts with sugar topping?

  • Cory, don’t let that F-ing Crab Rangoon get the best of you! If my mom can make it (and make it delicious), you certainly can. I’m with FoodieInDisguise on the fryer thing, and hope you try again soon with success!

  • Listen, you tried and it didn’t work out the first time. Big deal.

    I never even attempt to fold, fry, fill and whatever.
    I don’t even make my own bread.
    Fear of yeast.

    Don’t even think twice about it. I always publish my failures too (usually it’s the recipes fault!).

    • Hi Stacey, I think its fun to share both my successes and my failures. For me, I always look for the humor in things. Because if you can’t laugh about your mistakes and discuss them, how will anyone ever improve? I agree, sometimes you just gotta blame it on the recipe.

  • I have been making egg-rolls for years and it has become a favorite at company parties, picnics and countless potlucks. What was one of my secets?

    Invest in a fryer. Depending on the model, you get filtering for the smell and oil splatter, oil re-use ability and temperature control!! I decided to buy one years ago and it was one of the best decisions I made. I could fry things at the location allowing the skins to stay crispy. More importantly, i didn’t have to figure out what to do with the oil and cleanup is much easier.

    I share your affinity for Chinese food and I LOVE crab rangoons!

    p.s. imitation crab meat?? next time don’t go canned or imitation, find fresh crab in your seafood department, it will make a difference between night and day! 🙂

  • I share the same fascination with buffets – I love having a great variety of food to choose from. For me, it doesn’t need to be Chinese though … any type will do. 🙂

    I’m sure you exclaimed a few F’s while trying to neatly fold the corners. They do look good though.

  • Thanks for sharing your F’s with us. I would love to recreate crab rangoon at home, but I know it’s difficult – yours is not the first failure or mediocre result I have seen. I will definitely leave mine to the experts.

    And we all have a confession like that, don’t you think? 🙂