I was lucky growing up, my Mom cooked incessantly and had dinner on the table at 5:30 pretty much every night; something that was still pretty rare 10-15 years ago. She made everything from the occasional simple dish like chicken spaghetti and pigs in a blanket to (more frequently) gourmet items like eggs benedict, beef bourguignon, and potato gratins. And, of course I can’t forget to mention her killer spaghetti and meatballs.

I guess you can imagine where my love of cooking came from.

There was this one appetizer that she made all the time that I loved, but hadn’t had in ages. Cheese and green chilies were combined, tucked into a wonton wrapper and fried until crispy—delish. It’s one of those tastes that you can’t really remember, but you know that it was amazing. My Mom and I have talked multiple times about bringing them back into the rotation, but it had yet to happen.  Today I finally decided, enough talk, let’s do this. I called my Mom for the recipe and….no answer…  Not surprising since she is notorious for not answering her cell phone — sorry Mom it’s true. (Although she is getting increasingly better at it)   I decided to push through on my own and to try put something together that resembled those nostalgic little pockets that I loved so much.

My version uses the same two ingredients that I remembered from my Mom’s; Monterey Jack cheese and canned green chilies. I also threw in some crab meat for a little seafoody kick and cream cheese to add just a hint of that tangy creaminess we all love so much. I guess you could say that it’s an amped up Crab Rangoon of sorts. (Yum!) Paired with a homemade sweet-spicy-sour sauce, these little pockets were everything I remembered and more. Success!

Place about a teaspoon and half into the middle of each wonton. (You can find wonton wrappers in the refrigerated section in the grocery store; I usually find them near the tofu and organic produce.)

Brush the two corners with water and fold over, releasing any air bubbles and sealing the edges. Place in the freezer for a few minutes to chill.

Fill a deep pot about a quarter full with canola oil. Bring the temperature to 350 degrees. (about a medium high heat) Fry wontons four at a time until golden brown.

This sauce is liberally adapted from this recipe. Combine vinegar, sugar, water, soy sauce, sherry, and chilies in a small pot. Bring to a boil and cook for about 8 minutes until reduced by half. Mix cornstarch and remaining water together. Stir into vinegar mixture, simmer another minute or two until thickened.

Cream Cheese, Crab, and Green Chili Wontons
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 ¼ cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 4 ounce can green chilies
  • 6 ounces crab meat
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Wonton wrappers
  • Sauce
  • ½ rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry
  • 1 Serrano chili thinly sliced
  • ½ tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  1. Mix cream cheese, Monterrey Jack, green chilies, crab, and salt together until combined. Place 1 ½ teaspoons mixture in the middle of each wonton wrapper. Wet two corner edges with water and fold corner over. Seal sides, making sure there are no air bubbles. Place in the fridge or freezer while you get the sauce together. Fill a deep pot about a ¼ full with canola oil. Heat to 350 degrees. Fry wontons four at a time, making sure not to overcrowd. Drain on paper towels. Serve with Sweet and Sour Sauce.
  2. For sauce: Combine vinegar, water, sugar, sherry, soy sauce, and Serrano in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, cook for about eight minutes until reduced. Mix water with cornstarch. Pour into vinegar mixture. Simmer another minute or two until thickened. Sauce adapted from about.com (link above) Serve with wontons.

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