10 must-try Asian-inspired recipes for Thanksgiving 2020

Thanksgiving might seem excessive because of the amount of food served during the season. What is the point of roasting a gigantic turkey for hours? Or why cook so much food that cannot be finished in the next few days? Well, the long history of this American tradition explains why some people refer to Thanksgiving as a feast! It is a reminder to everyone to be thankful for the food on the table and other simple things in life, which are sometimes taken for granted.


Why do Americans celebrate Thanksgiving in the first place?

The story goes way back to 1621 when the Pilgrims (the English colonists) invited the native Americans for a three-day festival of eating, hunting and entertainment as an expressed appreciation to the Lord for the first successful corn harvest that year.

Fun fact: Did you know the iconic dishes such as turkey, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce were not served in the very first Thanksgiving feast at all?

Thanksgiving didn’t become official until later in the 19th century when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving as an annual national holiday. It is celebrated on the last Thursday of November and thanks to the 30-year long lobbying by writer Sarah Josepha Hale, we have the modern Thanksgiving meal of today. Hale wrote the recipes for pumpkin pie, stuffing, turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce which have become the icons of the modern Thanksgiving menu. 


What about Thanksgiving in Australia?

Though traditionally, Australia doesn't celebrate this holiday, the growth in demand for turkey has been increasing in recent years. While some embrace this celebration to be thankful for their family, friends and what has happened this year, others purchase turkey just to practise some Christmas recipes! 

Did you know there is an Australian island that celebrates Thanksgiving as part of their tradition? Have a quick guess...

You would be surprised! It's no other than Norfolk Island located about 1,600 km northeast of Sydney. Being a convenient destination for American whaling ships to drop in back in the 1800s, Norfolk Island has adopted the traditional American Thanksgiving dishes and elaborated on their unique recipes with concoctions such as banana desserts and coconut pie. Yum yum!


Thanksgiving - To be truly thanksgiving, is first thanks, then giving.

1. Peking-Style Roast Turkey with Molasses-Soy Glaze and Orange-Ginger Gravy

Source: Epicurious

The name itself is mouth-watering enough. Get creative by transforming the traditional roast turkey into this yummy molasses-soy glaze. The process might take awhile but the outcome is indeed worth it. Who would have known steaming the turkey before roasting would save you a lot of time, not to mention create the soft and juicy texture afterwards!

2. Soy Miso Honey Glazed Turkey

Source: Fix Feast Flair

If you are not a big fan of spending too much time cooking and cleaning, this recipe is perfect for you. Whipping up this honey glazed turkey is easier than you thought!


3. Toasted Sesame Mashed Potato

Source: Love and Olive Oil

Create a subtle Asian twist to your mashed potatoes by adding pure sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds. Complementing the potatoes with their earthy and nutty flavour, these two items are must-haves in every kitchen!


Be thankful for what you have and you’ll end up having more.

4. Sticky Rice Dressing

Source: Food & Wine

Oh yes! Who could ever say no to sticky rice? We love sticky rice so much that we would have it with either Chinese sausage or salted peanuts almost every morning before school!

This sticky-rice dressing brings out the balance of both flavour and texture. The dish complements the crunchy green bean salad and the spicy prawn skewers!


5. Refreshing Green Bean & Shallot Salad

Source: EatingWell Magazine

This green bean salad knows how to work its magic! Easy to make and great for satisfying your guests at outdoor barbecue parties. Tip: Set aside the salad in either room temperature or fridge for 20 minutes allowing the green beans to absorb the seasoning. Cut the green beans diagonally to let even more flavours get absorbed.

6. Chinese Sichuan Prawn Skewers

Source: New Idea Food

Want to spice up your Thanksgiving barbecue? Sichuan Prawn Skewers will do just that with its famous numbing effect. Serve them on banana leaves to reserve the juice and the heat of the prawn after grilling - or to save the hassle of doing dishes!




When you love what you have, you have everything you need.

7. Chinese Five Spice Pecan Pie

Source: Red Stick Spice

Thanksgiving is not complete without a pecan pie! For an unexpected twist, create the Chinese version of pecan pie by adding Lobo Chinese five spice blend, Sichuan salt and vanilla essence.

8. Kabocha (Japanese Pumpkin) Pie

Source: Just One Cookbook

This Kabocha pie promises to tick all your boxes: Easy and fun to make. Creamy and rich in texture. A perfect dessert after dinner. And it will steal the show because of its explosion of flavours.

9. Cranberry Apple Sangria

Source: Damn Delicious

Make this drink ahead of time and store in the fridge to enjoy the hot summer days of November. What we like most about this drink is that it is suitable for all ages. Non-alcoholic drinks such as lemon-lime soda or sparkling apple juice are great alternatives for pinot grigio!

10. Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Ramen

Source: The Wok Of Life

The days after the feast is when the real creativity happens. Wondering how you can finish the leftover turkey? Easy! Slice it up and add into ramen or your go-to instant noodles.

Even though Thanksgiving isn’t common in Australian culture, we do hope this blog will give you some Asian cooking inspirations for Thanksgiving. Celebrate it with friends and family from the States, or simply because we have so much to be grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Reference: History; ABC News; Life Hacker

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