Sometimes when you miss something you can’t have, you find a way to be content with unfulfilled desire. Or you hope and struggle to find a way to be reunited with the object of your desires. That kind of unrequited longing was the inspiration behind today’s recipe, my Easy Vegan Rangoon Dip. You see, I have a junk mail drawer with a stack of coupons to get the Chinese Restaurant appetizer, but I can’t have them. They’re not vegan. Most people I’ve talked to agree that the Crab Rangoons found in a typical corner store Chinese Restaurant are vegetarian; citing that the “crab” is actually some non-meat-based substitute. But there’s no arguing that the creamy part is not vegan. So you know what that means? I’ve had about six years of pent-up cravings.
Something had to be done.
Unrequited love does not die; it’s only beaten down to a secret place where it hides, curled and wounded. For some unfortunates, it turns bitter and mean, and those who come after pay the price for the hurt done by the one who came before. — Elle Newmark says in The Book of Unholy Mischi
There are famous examples of unrequited love;
- Romeo and Juliet
- Dante and Beatrice
- Cyrano de Bergerac and Roxane
- Mork & Mindy
These are characters known for their intense and passionate desire for another, but with a tragic twist. The subject of their affection does not…or cannot love them back.
I hate it when that happens.
OK. Where was I? Oh yes, we were talking about food. Now that my little family is vegan, Crab Rangoons are no longer on the menu for us. But that doesn’t mean we don’t crave them.
Of course, most days I don’t even think about them. I mean, it is a relatively unhealthy appetizer. Lots of grease and cream. It’s not exactly my idea of a delicious thought.
There is a point where love and appetite cross paths; it’s not a very rational, well thought-out place. It’s because that kind of primal urge is strong. Think about it; if a brilliant astronaut will drive cross country in diapers to see the object of her affection, what chance do the less than brilliant have at denying the urge to drive down the street to the nearest fast food chain?
I have an answer. At least when it comes to Crab Rangoons. Easy Vegan Rangoon Dip. On days where I’m craving my favorite little Asian appetizers, I simply throw this tasty, creamy vegan dip together and serve it with some crispy rice crackers. And somehow it’s all good.
And I do mean good. Even Adee agrees.
Easy Vegan Rangoon Dip
- 1 16 oz container of extra firm tofu
- 1 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sweet Chili Sauce (it’s not really hot, if you’re worried about that)
- 1 container plain Vegan Cream Cheese
- 1 green onion, chopped
- About 10 tortilla chips, crushed
- Warm up your oven to 350F.
- Cut the tofu into 1/2″ (fairly small) cubes. Don’t feel like you have to be exact here; approximate is just fine. Typically you’d want to drain the tofu as well, but we get to skip that step for this recipe. Just be sure to use extra firm tofu.
- Pour the Sweet Chili Sauce in a skillet and turn up to medium heat. Add the chopped tofu and allow the tofu to simmer in the chili sauce for several minutes. Be sure to stir the tofu well so each piece is well-covered in the sauce.
- Use a medium-sized baking pan or casserole dish and spread all but about 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese in the bottom of the pan. Top with chopped green onions.
- Now return to your tofu which has been simmering in the skillet. Use your spoon to break up pieces of the tofu and be sure to stir the sauce so all the tofu is well-coated. As you can see, a well-dressed tofu chunk is required!
- When the sauce has cooked down a bit, add the last two tablespoons of cream cheese to the tofu mixture and stir it around a bit. It gives it a creamier texture. Now pour it over the cream cheese/green onion mixture and top with the crushed tortilla chip pieces.
- Bake in the heated oven for 20 – 25 minutes. I turned the heat up to 400F for the last 10 minutes to really brown that tofu and crisp those chips. If you do that just be sure to keep an eye on it so nothing burns!
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Serve warm with crackers.