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Crabby Patty Cravings 

Dungeness egg foo yung and cheese puffs

click to enlarge The Krusty Krab has nothing on classic egg foo yung with Dungeness.

Photo by Wendy Chan

The Krusty Krab has nothing on classic egg foo yung with Dungeness.

The Krabby Patty from SpongeBob SquarePants has been stuck in my head for years. From the time my kids enjoyed watching SpongeBob, I heard "Krabby Patty" over and over. I assumed it was a crab cake patty because there was a crab walking around in the show. I swear, for all these years I thought it was crabby with a "C," not "Krabby," until I Googled it yesterday. When I told my boys, now grown, they laughed. Jay said it's a secret formula so no one actually knows what the patty is made of, but it looks like a meat patty. Well, my version of a crabby patty looks like the classic Chinese egg foo yung my dad used to make in the morning before the restaurant he worked at opened. There were always at least a few dozen on the grill. They were big sellers with combination plates but I always liked mine with seafood. 

Since our crab season is finally here, I'm jumping with joy. I love fresh crab for sandwiches, sautéed with ginger and scallions, in crab cheese puffs and crab foo yung. For the past weeks I have been going to the dock and Wild Planet often to buy live crab. The meat is firm and sweet, a true delight for those of us living by the coast. Here, I'm sharing two of my favorite easy recipes with you. Let's get cracking. 

Crab Foo Yung

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh cooked crab meat

4 eggs, beaten 

2 cups chopped bean spouts

½ cup finely chopped yellow onion 

1 cup finely chopped celery 

1 teaspoon minced ginger

½ cup chopped green onion 

Salt and pepper to taste 

3 tablespoons vegetable oil 

Black sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Blanch the bean sprouts, celery and yellow onion in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain them in a colander and set them aside to cool completely. Then place them in a mixing bowl, adding the crab meat, eggs, ginger, green onion, salt and pepper. Stir and mix well. Heat up a flat bottomed pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, spoon in about 3 heaping tablespoons of crab mixture per patty. Fry only a few patties per batch, leaving at least an inch of space between them. Cook for about 2 minutes until golden, turning halfway through. Add oil to the pan as needed. Serve plain, with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds, topped with gravy or with ketchup, the way my kids like them.  

Crab Cheese Puffs

Makes about 24-28 puffs.

Ingredients:

For the filling: 

2 cups fresh crab meat

1 cup cream cheese at room temperature

¼ cup shredded mozzarella 

¼ cup chopped green onion

1 to 2 finely chopped Tien Tsin or Chinese red chilis (optional)

1 tablespoon sugar 

1 teaspoon white pepper 

For the wrappers: 

1 package wonton wrappers 

1 beaten egg for sealing wrappers

6 cups vegetable oil for frying 

Using your hands, mix all the filling ingredients together. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes. Cover a baking sheet with wax paper or sprinkle it with flour. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of each wrapper. Brush the edges of the wrapper with egg and fold it diagonally into a triangle, pinching to seal it tightly. Place the sealed puffs on the baking sheet, leaving space between them. 

In a deep pot, heat the oil until a cooking thermometer reads 330 F. Fry a few at a time for less than 1 minute per side until golden and puffy. Remove and let them cool on a wire rack or plate lined with paper towels. Serve with sweet and sour or sweet chili sauce.

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Wendy Chan

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