We can really feel the Christmas and holiday season coming! Unlike some parts of the world, Australia celebrates this time of the year in hot weather with plenty of BBQ and outside dining. To celebrate this alfresco culture, our foodie community Asian Nom Nom, is hosting a series of virtual Asian cooking classes over the next few weeks.
In these cooking classes, we share secret family recipes for mouth-watering Asian Christmas dishes. Our entree recipes are easy and quick to cook, perfect for serving as finger foods at parties and gatherings. You can also prepare them in advance, saving you heaps of time to celebrate with friends and family!
The first cooking class was a great success! We featured four colourful and delicious entreés which were adored by participants. Check out the recipes below!
Believe in the magic of Christmas!
1. Seafood Dipping Sauce With Cocktail Prawns
Sharing similar ingredients between Thailand and Vietnam, this dipping sauce is one of the most versatile items in Southeast Asian cuisine. It has it all. The sour taste from lime juice combines with the fish sauce’s tangy flavour which cuts through to the sweetness of palm sugar. A hint of spiciness is crucial to bringing a kick to the blend.
Our cooking tips:
- To get the most out of the lime or lemon juice, microwave for 10 seconds (add another 10 seconds if it’s still hard). Lightly roll the lime back and forth a few times. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice, you will see a big difference!
- Lime juice can be replaced with rice vinegar.
- For minimum-waste cooking, chop up coriander stems and blend it with the mixed fish sauce. Coriander stalks are juicy and full of flavour, and commonly used in Thai cooking.
Storage suggestions: the sauce can be stored in a glass jar in the fridge for a maximum of 2 weeks. The flavours will fade away any longer than that.
- 3 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
- 3-4 hot Thai chillies, coarsely chopped
- 4 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2 tbsp Lucky Elephant palm sugar (coconut sugar and white sugar works too)
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp Pagoda peanut oil
- 1 bunch coriander, coarsely chopped
- 200 g fresh prawn, peeled
- For boiling the prawns: Bring a pan of lightly salted water to a steady boil. Toss in the prawns and simmer until cooked (usually 3-4 minutes). Transfer the prawns to an iced-water bowl. This step helps the prawns to stay beautifully tender.
- For roasting the prawns: Preheat oven at 180°C. Season the prawns with some oil, salt and pepper in the baking tray. Roast for 5 minutes each side. Transfer them onto the plate.
- Microwave palm sugar and fish sauce in bursts of 30 seconds until the sugar softens and dissolves. Stir in the lime juice, minced garlic and chillies. Allow the sauce to cool down.
- Before serving, sprinkle some coriander and toasted sesame seeds (optional) to bring out the flavour.
The fondest memories are made gathered around the table
2. Cambodian grilled corn topped with coconut and spring onion sauce (Pot Ang)
For barbecue lovers, grilled corn is a must-have. Easy to make, easy to serve as finger food, and goes well with skewers. When you talk about Cambodia, everything is on the grill! Cambodians know how to bring out the unique flavours of their grill. Pot Ang is no exception. The glazing mixture (coconut milk, salt, sugar and spring onions) adds the savoury-sweet flavour to grilled corn. Beware, it’s super addictive!
Storage suggestions: Coconut sauce can be reserved in an airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to 1 week. Freezing can make the sauce last a little longer but it won’t be able to retain the coconut sauce’s delicate flavour.
- 3 large sweet corn
- 1 ¼ cups coconut milk/ cream
- 1 spring onions thinly sliced
- ¾ tsp sugar
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- Preheat the oven at 220°C (or the grill at 280°C). Set the timer for 10 minutes
- To make the coconut sauce, heat the coconut milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle salt and sugar to taste and stir until bubbling. Simmer for 2-3 minutes allowing the sauce to thicken and stir in the spring onions. Remove the pan from heat.
- Toss the sweet corn in the baking tray and coat with the coconut sauce using the basting brush. Place the tray in the oven and grill until the corn turns golden brown (about 20 minutes in total). Brush the sweet corn with the coconut sauce after every 10 minutes to retain moisture.
- Transfer the grilled corn onto a platter, trickle the coconut and spring onions on top and it’s ready to serve!
Food is an ingredient that brings us together!
3. Crunchy Asian Slaw
Originating from the Netherlands, coleslaws (or koolsla in Dutch) means “cabbage salad”. The variations of coleslaw are diverse among Western countries, yet the common dressing is mayonnaise-based. For an Australian Christmas during those warm summer days, this Asian inspired dressing is a refreshing twist to the traditional Dutch coleslaw.
Our cooking tips:
- Keep the crunch of the vegetables by mixing them in a stainless-steel bowl and placing it in the freezer for 1 minute before serving.
- Cut all ingredients in the same (or at least similar) size to evenly disperse the flavours.
- Mince the red chillies and garlic cloves in the stone mortar using the pestle. This extra step blends the 2 ingredients’ flavour and juice nicely together.
Storage suggestions: Store the salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. Keep the dressing separately to avoid soggy salad.
For the slaw
- The steps to make the salad dressing are similar to the seafood dipping sauce. Microwave palm sugar and fish sauce in bursts of 30 seconds until the sugar softens and dissolves. Stir in the lime juice, minced garlic and chillies until all ingredients are blended.
- Except for the fried shallots, mix all the salad ingredients in a big bowl (the salad should cover 1/2 or 3/4 of the bowl).
- Top over the salad dressing, sprinkle the fried shallots and your crunchy Asian slaw is ready to go!
Eat, drink and be merry!
4. Fried Spring Rolls (nem rán or chả giò)
If there is anything that Vietnamese people are proud of, it’s their spring rolls. This delicacy has been around for hundreds of years. Primarily served to only the aristocracy and royalty back in the 19th century, spring rolls have now become a traditional dish in every Vietnamese family gathering and holiday like Chinese New Year.
Our cooking tips:
- The oil level should cover half the depth of the spring rolls. The best way is to fry the spring rolls over high heat. Place them on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
- You can store them in the freezer once they cool down. Before frying the frozen rolls, allow them to thaw in room temperature until soft.
For spring rolls
For the dipping sauce
- Soak dried mushrooms, dried fungus and glass noodles in separate bowls of warm water (about 50°C). After 20 minutes, discard the water, chop the mushrooms and fungus finely, and the glass noodles coarsely (about 5 cm or 2 inches long)
- In a large bowl, combine the minced pork, minced prawn, onion, carrot, jícama, mushroom, fungus and glass noodles. Season with Knorr powder, salt and pepper. Mix well by hand or with a large stainless steel spoon.
- Add egg into the mixture one at a time. The longer the egg stays in the mixture, the more soggy the filling will be so make sure you only mix the egg with the amount you want to use only.
- Place the rice paper on a flat surface (platter, chopping board or even the baking tray). A quick tip: if you use the larger size rice paper, sprinkle some rice vinegar on top to soften the surface so it won’t break when you start rolling.
- Wrap the roll following the steps in the video.
- On a large nonstick frying pan, fry the spring rolls on medium-low heat for about 5-10 minutes on each side depending on the size of the rolls.
- Increase the heat to high and fry until they turn golden brown. Serve with dipping sauce and salad.
There you have it! The signature of Asian cuisine in 4 entree dishes. We hope our food selection helps make your Christmas celebration a little more joyful and flavourful.
Looking for more authentic Asian recipes for your Christmas? In Asian Nom Nom’s upcoming cooking classes, we will be showing you how to prepare the main dishes, desserts and drinks. Join our foodie community to stay updated with the latest announcements and connect with other foodies not just in Melbourne but around the world!
Remember, the true spirit of Christmas lies in your heart