2 qts. + 1 Tbs. vegetable oil, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup small dice onion
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/8 cup sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
8 oz. lump or claw blue crab meat, gently picked carefully for shell
12 square wonton wrappers
For the sweet & sour sauce:
1 cup canned pineapple juice
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup rice vinegar or substitute apple cider vinegar
3 Tbs. tomato paste
2 Tbs. soy sauce or tamari (optional)
Cornstarch slurry (1 1/2 Tbs. cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbs. cold water)
Heat the tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and sauté until caramelized, five to eight minutes. Set aside to cool.
Combine the cream cheese, celery, onion, sugar, and salt in a bowl and mix well. Chop the crab meat to make it easier to combine and stir it in.
Heat the two quarts of oil in a deep saucepan or countertop fryer to 325°F.
Working quickly so the wrappers do not dry too much, place one teaspoon of filling on the center of a wonton wrapper. Brush the edges with water and pinch the corners toward the center.
Working with a few at the time so that they are not crowded, fry the wontons in the oil until they are brown and crispy, about five minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately with sweet and sour sauce.
For the sweet and sour sauce:
Place the first five ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and mix in the cornstarch slurry. Keep stirring until the sauce thickens, about one minute. Remove from heat and pour into serving container. Can be served hot or cold. To store, let the sauce cool completely and place in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Chef’s Notes: “If making crab wontons for a crowd, fill and shape them, then freeze them. You can fry them straight from the freezer, but they will take slightly longer to cook.”