The Jewish Christmas tradition of Chinese food meets an iconic combination in Lox and Cream Cheese Rangoon.
For many people, Christmas conjures up thoughts of Santa Claus, mistletoe and eggnog. If you’re Jewish, however, Christmas probably makes you think of Chinese food.
It’s a generations-old American-Jewish practice that for many has taken on the aspect of a religious ritual. On Christmas Day (or Eve, depending on your rite), the family loads into the station wagon (or subway or tandem bicycle) and heads to their local Chinese place, for dumplings, low mein, bok choy and fortune cookies. But if you keep kosher, or even kosher-style, your plate is most likely lacking the classic Chinese-American treat, Crab Rangoon.
According to legend, these crab-and-cream-cheese-stuffed wontons originated in San Francisco, at the iconic Polynesian-style restaurant Trader Vic’s. They caught on at cocktail parties and today they’re a staple at Chinese restaurants in America.
To kosherize the Rangoon filling, I’ve replaced the crab with a combination of salty, chopped lox with rich cream cheese and spiked the whole thing with chives and black pepper. It can take a little while to fold all 50 wonton wrappers, but once you’ve folded up all of these little dumplings you can either cook them, or freeze them uncooked and just pull them out of the freezer as needed.