An Asian Christmas | Asian Christmas Recipes

Christmas is just round the corner and if you have been spending your past few Christmases eating turkey and ham, wouldn’t it be nice to have something different for a change? Here are some Asian inspired recipes that you can try out this Christmas. Get your family and friends to join you in the preparation and it would be a fun and memorable experience for all 🙂


Prawn Mango Walnut Salad


  • 1 cup (100g) walnuts

  • 2 tbs brown sugar

  • 2 avocados

  • 2 mangoes

  • 1kg cooked prawns, peeled (tails intact), deveined

  • 1 bunch watercress, leaves picked

  • 3 baby cos lettuce, leaves separated

  • 2 tbs lemon juice

  • 1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Spread the walnuts over a baking tray and roast for 5 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, combine brown sugar and 3 teaspoons cold water in a bowl. Add hot nuts and toss to coat in the sugar mixture. Return nuts to the baking tray and roast for a further 8 minutes or until crisp and caramelised. Set aside to cool.

  3. Peel and dice avocados and mangoes, then place in a large bowl with prawns, watercress, cos leaves and nuts. Whisk together the lemon juice and oil, and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss the salad with the dressing just before serving.


Thai Style Poached Salmon


  • 2 lemongrass stems (white part only), halved, bruised

  • 8 kaffir lime leaves

  • 2cm piece ginger, sliced

  • 2kg whole salmon or ocean trout, cleaned and scaled

  • 1 bunch coriander

  • 300g light palm sugar, grated

  • 1/2 red onion, sliced

  • 2 1/2 tbs tamarind concentrate

  • 50ml fish sauce

  • Vegetable oil, to deep-fry

  • 6 Asian red shallots(Chili Padi), thinly sliced

  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 2 long red chillies, sliced into rounds

  • Lime wedges, to serve


  1. Place 2 lemongrass halves, 2 lime leaves and half the ginger in the cavity of the fish, then place the fish in a steaming pan and cover with cold water and slowly bring to the boil over medium heat. When boiling, switch off the heat, cover tightly and stand for 30 minutes (without removing lid) until just cooked.

  2. Wash the coriander and slice them thinly before refrigerating until required.

  3. Place palm sugar in a heavy-based pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add coriander roots, onion, remaining lemongrass and ginger and 4 lime leaves. Bring to the boil, then simmer over low heat for 5 minutes or until lightly caramelised.

  4. Add tamarind and fish sauce, then simmer for a further 5 minutes. Strain into a jug, pressing down on solids before discarding. Set aside until ready to serve.

  5. Half-fill a deep-fryer or heavy-based pan with oil and heat to 190°C (or test a cube of bread – it will turn golden in 30 seconds when oil is ready). Fry the shallots, garlic and chilli, in separate batches, for 1-2 minutes until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towel.

  6. Carefully remove the fish from the poaching liquid and place on a large serving platter. Pat dry with a paper towel. To remove the skin, loosen around the gills and pull back towards the tail. Use a paper towel to soak up any moisture around the fish. Pour over the sauce and garnish with the fried shallots, garlic and chilli, the coriander leaves and finely shredded remaining 2 kaffir lime leaves.


Asian Style Glazed Ham


  • 1 small (6-7kg) leg of ham

  • About 36 whole cloves

  • 1/2 cup (125ml) soy sauce

  • 1/2 cup (125ml) pure maple syrup

  • 2 tbs char siu (Chinese barbecue) sauce

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 tsp five-spice powder


  1. Use a small sharp knife to cut around the end of the ham bone in a zigzag pattern. Run your fingers under skin and carefully lift it off in one piece, removing as little of the fat as possible. (Reserve the skin to cover the cut ham when storing.) Score the fat lightly (don’t cut through to the meat) in a diamond pattern, then stud the centre of each diamond with a clove. Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl, then brush over the ham, reserving the excess. Refrigerate overnight.

  2. Preheat oven to 160°C. Place ham on a rack over a large roasting pan filled with 250ml of hot water. Brush ham with some reserved soy mixture, then bake for 40 minutes or until golden and well glazed.

  3. Place the remaining soy sauce mixture in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Brush over ham just before serving to enhance the glaze.

Ginger Wings with Peanut Sauce


Peanut Dipping Sauce:

1 cup chunky peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/4 cup hot water

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Ginger Wings:

Canola oil spray

3 tablespoons Thai hot sauce

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons grated ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

3 pounds chicken wings, split at the joint, tips removed and discarded

Chopped green onions, for garnish

For the dipping sauce:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well to combine.


For the wings:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a slotted broiler tray inside a broiler pan and spray well with canola spray.

  2. In a large nonreactive bowl, add the hot sauce, soy, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds and hoisin. Whisk to combine. Add the chicken wings to the marinade and stir to coat. Let marinate at room temperature, about 20 minutes.

  3. Lay the chicken wings out in 1 layer on the prepared tray and bake, about 15 minutes. Turn the wings over and continue to cook an additional 15 minutes. Place the wings on a serving platter and garnish with the green onions. Serve with the peanut dipping sauce.

Lacquered Spareribs


  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice

  • 3 tablespoons ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 2.5 pounds beef or pork spareribs


  1. In a pressure cooker, stir together pineapple juice, ketchup, soy sauce, honey, and ginger until well combined. Add ribs and toss to coat.

  2. Place cooker over high heat. Once the pressure is up to high and the valve begins to rattle, reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 18 minutes. Remove from heat. Allow pressure to come down on its own and once it has, remove lid.

  3. Transfer ribs to a platter. Skim fat from surface of sauce and bring to a boil. Boil until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Brush some sauce on ribs and serve with remaining sauce.

Savory Pumpkin Cake

  • 2/3 cup sliced Chinese sausage (2, 7-inch sausages) or a combination of ham, char siu or mushrooms

  • 2 teaspoons

  • 1/4 cup cooked pink shrimp

  • 2 tablespoons Tianjin preserved vegetables or chung choy (pickled turnip)

  • 1/3 cup green onions, chopped (save 1 tablespoon for garnish)

  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped (save 1 tablespoon for garnish)

  • 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

  • 1 cup cake flour

  • 1/3 cup chicken stock

  • 1 ¾ cup pumpkin puree (15 oz)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

  2. Place the sausage in a wide bowl and pour in 1/3 cup water. Cover to avoid splattering and microwave on medium-high for 2 minutes to render the fat. Drain the fat and mince the sausage into confetti-sized pieces.

  3. In a large wok , heat the oil and stir-fry the sausage, shrimp, and preserved vegetables. Add the green onions and fry for 2 minutes before adding the cilantro. Sprinkle the five-spice powder and white pepper and mix well. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

  4. In a medium bowl, mix the cake flour with the stock and pumpkin until smooth. The mixture will be a little lumpy. Add the meat mixture and stir to mix well. The batter’s consistency will resemble thick oatmeal.

  5. Pour the batter into a lightly greased 9-inch metal cake pan. Cover with foil and set the pan in a roasting pan. Pour water into the roasting pan until it reaches to about an inch up the cake pan to create a water bath.

  6. Place the batter in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the center is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. The cake will still be soft.

  7. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight, so that the cake will firm up. Or make ahead and freeze. Defrost in the fridge or microwave on low to defrost. Serve at room temperature or warm. Garnish with fried shallots, green onions and cilantro, and serve with hoisin sauce and chili.

Paper Wrapped Chicken (Zhi Bao Ji)

  • 1 whole chicken

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce

  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce

  • 4 slices young ginger, shredded

  • 1/2 tsp grated young ginger

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

  • 1 tbsp cooking wine

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 2 sheets grease-proof paper


  1. Cut chicken into parts. Mix all the ingredients and marinade the chicken for at least an hour.

  2. Wrap the chicken in envelope style: Cut the paper into even square pieces and place a piece of chicken on the paper.

  3. Bring the bottom flap up over the chicken. Fold the left side over, then the right, so that one is overlapping the other.

  4. Bring the top flap down and tuck it in the opening to seal the package.

  5. When the oil is ready, slide the packages in but do not overcrowd the wok. Deep-fry the packets until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Alternatively, bake them in the oven at 200 degree C for 30 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve them hot.


Peking Duck Recipe

  • 1 lemon

  • 3 tbs honey

  • 3 tbs dark soy sauce

  • 150ml Shaohsing rice wine

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 2 star anise

  • 2-2.5kg duck

  • Mandarin pancakes*

  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers, cut into strips

  • Small bunch spring onions, cut into strips

  • Hoisin sauce, to drizzle


  1. To make the marinade, cut the lemon into ¼cm slices and place in a medium saucepan with 1.2 litres of water, the honey, soy sauce, rice wine and spices. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes until flavours are infused. Set aside.

  2. Wash duck thoroughly, then pat dry with paper towel. Use kitchen string to tie the duck’s legs firmly together. Place in a large pan and pour over a kettle of boiling water. Leave for 1 minute. Transfer duck to a wire rack over a roasting tray, pat dry, then baste with marinade until the skin is completely coated.

  3. Set the uncovered duck aside to dry out for 4-5 hours (you can face a fan onto the duck to speed up the process – the duck skin should feel like taut parchment when ready).

  4. Preheat the oven to 240°C.

  5. Pour 50 ml cold water into the pan (to stop the fat from splattering). Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180°C and roast for a further 1 1/4 hours. Set duck aside for 10 minutes to rest before carving

  6. Prepare the pancakes (see related recipe). Carve the duck into thin slices. To serve, place a pancake on each plate, then a slice of duck in the middle of the pancake. Add some cucumber and spring onion strips, drizzle with hoisin sauce, wrap and enjoy.


*Mandarin Pancakes

  • 2 cups flour

  • 1 cup boiling water

  • sesame oil, for brushing


  1. Sift 2 cups flour into a bowl and gradually pour in 1 cup boiling water, stirring well.

  2. When cool enough to handle, knead with your hands until you have a smooth ball. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside for 30 minutes.

  3. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until 1/2cm thick. Use a 7cm pastry cutter to cut rounds from the dough.

  4. Brush one side of each round with some sesame oil then put two rounds together with the sesame sides touching.

  5. Roll the rounds again until 15 cm in diameter. Cover with a damp tea towel until needed.

  6. Heat a nonstick frying pan over low heat, add pancakes 1-2 at a time. Cook each side for about 1 minute until they bubble slightly. Pull the 2 pancakes apart and wrap in foil.


Here’s wishing all of you out there a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 😉

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