These are classic crab rangoon, based on the original recipe from Trader Vic’s in Oakland, but with more of the original seasoning sauces — A.1. original steak sauce and Lingham’s hot sauce — to give the appetizers a more pronounced punch to cut through the rich crab and cream cheese in the filling. Thinly sliced scallions are added to the filling to give it a lightness and freshness. Homemade plum sauce upgrades the store-bought kind to give the dish a great dimension of flavor — the tart, spiced sauce balances the cheesy filling perfectly.
In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, steak sauce, hot sauce, salt and white pepper, and mash with a fork until smooth and lightly whipped. Add the crab and scallions, and stir just until the crab is coated in the cream cheese but not completely falling apart.
Place a wonton skin on a clean work surface and place 1 slightly heaped teaspoon in the center. Wet the tip of your finger in water then use it to wet the edges of the wonton skin. Lift two opposite corners together to meet, then follow with the remaining two corners so they all meet in the middle. Press the seams together to form a neat packet. Place the rangoon on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and repeat with the remaining wonton skins and crab filling. Chill the rangoon in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer. Add the rangoon, no more than 6 at a time, and fry until golden brown and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, lift the rangoon out of the oil and drain on paper towels for 1 minute. Transfer the hot rangoon to a serving platter and serve immediately with a small bowl of the Plum Sauce or mustard.
In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover partially and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick, glossy and reduced to a loose, jammy consistency, 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and let the plum sauce cool to room temperature. Fish out and discard the star anise before serving. Makes about 1½ cups.
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