Sure, I sometimes like to go all out, but I much more often prefer some demi-cheeked fanciness. Bringing out the nice wine glasses with the takeout Chinese food, the nail polish stickers that make it look like you went to the salon recently, nibbling on Texas caviar, you know, that kind of stuff. It’s really all about enjoying some luxury with little effort and cost. And this Sweet Chili Crab Dip, which uses just a few simple ingredients and takes 10 minutes to put together, well, it fits right into that category. It also happens to be one of the most beloved dips I make.
A lot of people like to use imitation crab in their dips to cut costs, but it’s just not crab dip without real crab meat in my opinion. However, as we all know, crab is expensive! Luckily, we can save the big chunks of crab for salads and crab cakes, and use the much less expensive claw meat here. The smaller pieces actually make it easier to scoop out, and it’s just as delicious as backfin meat.
In order to make the dip scoop-able, I use softened cream cheese as a base, almost like a crab rangoon. Then, to keep the dip low on effort and not overpower the crab, I use just a few ingredients to flavor it: garlic, ginger, Thai sweet chili sauce, and scallions. All together it’s got an Asian flavor with a slight kick that makes it perfect for parties but not too spicy for a mixed crowd. (Trust me, if my grandparents can eat it and love it, it’s not too hot!)
I typically drizzle a little extra sweet chili sauce over the top of my crab dip before sprinkling on some black sesame seeds and curled scallions (which curl when you dunk them in ice water, as I explain in more detail here.) Then, I serve it with wonton chips, which I make by brushing wonton wrappers with olive oil and baking them until they’re crisp. The dip itself does not need to be cooked; Just mix it together and serve. How’s that for a simply fancy appetizer?Print
- 16 oz crab meat
- 16 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 4 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 tablespoons ginger, grated
- 1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce, plus more to top
- 8 scallions
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Black sesame seeds, to top
- Wonton chips or crackers, to serve
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the crab meat, cream cheese, garlic, ginger, and sweet chili sauce. Mix until evenly distributed.
- Slice 3/4 of the scallions. Mix those scallions into the crab dip. Slice the remaining scallions into ribbons and place into a bowl of ice water. Let them sit until they’ve curled.
- Taste the crab dip and season with kosher salt, to taste. Top with black sesame seeds and curled scallions. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Serve with wonton chips.
To make wonton chips, cut wonton wrappers in half diagonally. Brush lightly with oil and then sprinkle with salt and black sesame seeds. Place the wrappers on a lightly greased baking sheet and then bake in a 350 degree F oven until crisp and lightly browned.