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Mar 30, 2005 05:32 AM

Oriental Theme dinner?

  • s

Any suggestions for an Oriental theme dinner party for about 10 to 12 people. I'm looking for easy, make-ahead recipes if possible.

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  1. Please don't say Oriental, the term is Asian. I know, many people call me nit-picky, but Oriental really isn't acceptable anymore unless you're talking about a rug.

    Also, are you looking for appetizers for a reception, or a sit down dinner?

    Easy appetizers include Vietnamese spring rolls (they keep well in the fridge for a day), Asian-inspired salads with peanut-based dressings, Thai chicken skewers, deep fried wontons.

    The easiest entree in the whole world is fried rice. It's made in a huge batch and keeps well for a day or two. Not very glamorous, I'm afraid.

    Vietnamese three-colored ice can be made well ahead of time and is a colorful dessert of coconut milk, various sweet beans, and agar (tastes like flavorless sweet Jell-o). Almond jelly requires the same level of culinary skill as a packet of Jell-o, is almost universally enjoyed, and is easy to serve in a simple fruit salad (or a large can of fruit cocktail).

    4 Replies
    1. re: nooodles

      nooodles: Thanks, I have been properly chastised! It will a sit down dinner, so I am open for just about anything. One of the guests has offered to bring Fried Rice, so we will have that. I was also thinking of some kind of Thai chicken skewers. Do you have a good recipe for that?

      1. re: Susie Q

        satay is easy(and can be made with tofu also if you need it for vegetarians). I don't have a recipe handy but basically you marinate chicken strips, skewer them on soaked wooden skewers (you have to soak them for a hour at least to keep them from burning) and broil. Make a peanut sauce with shallots, coconut milk, peanut butter, soy sauce and probaby a few other things. I'm sure you can find a recipe online.

        1. re: Susie Q

          I haven't made these in a looooong time but I remember that they were very good and I made them ahead to bring away on a trip.

          Thai Scented Chicken Kebabs

          1 can unsweetened coconut milk
          1/2 c. fresh lime juice (4 limes)
          2 tlb. minced fresh ginger
          2 garlic cloves, minced
          2 tlb. fish sauce
          2 tlb. sugar
          1 1/2 tlb. minced fresh lemon grass
          1 1/2 tlb. soy sauce
          1 tlb. sesame oil
          1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
          1/2 tsp. salt
          2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into small pieces (or shrimp or pork)
          12 med. scallions-white part only
          2 large red peppers cut into triangles
          1 tlb. black sesame seeds
          1/2 c. cilantro chopped

          Whisk coconut milk with lime juice, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, sugar, lemon grass, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper and salt. Boil for 1 min. cool.

          Make kebabs with chicken, scallions and red pepper. Put into flat pan and pour marinade over top. Chill turning at least once for at least 12 hrs. and up to 24.

          Broil 8 minutes. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and coriander.

        2. re: nooodles

          Please refrain from debating the political correctness of other poster's language choices. It's off topic for this site and leads to more off topic responses (we just cleaned up a bunch of them.) There are many terms people can get offended by- we're not here to discuss that. We're here to discuss food. If a term you don't like is used in a hateful or derogatory manner, please send an email to so we can address the issue. Otherwise, please keep your outrage in check and keep your responses focused on food.

          Please don't post any further off topic responses here. If you feel the issue needs further discussion, either send us an email or post to the Site Talk board.

        3. I have been working on a menu for an Asian brunch in June. I want it to be a buffet. So far i have come up with:

          Grilled Shrimp on Sugar Cane
          Crispy Spring Rolls
          Shrimp Stuffed Squid (I may use
          larger squid and slice after cooking)
          Grilled Chicken Brochettes with Lemon Grass Noodles
          Sauteed Beef with Limes, Salt and Pepper
          Wok Seared Greens
          Coconut Curried Vegetables
          Spiced Fruit Salad

          I am probably going to modify that some. A Vietnamese friend just gave me a delightful little book called Spicy Salads. It is soft bound and just 64 pages. It has all sorts of salads from all over Asia and I am anxious to try every single one of them I may want to incorporate some of them into that menu. It is published by Periplus Mini Cookbooks. It says US $2.95 on the back and has an ISBN # 962-593-340-9 if you want to try to find it. The publisher is in Singapore and can be emailed at

          1. This dish was discussed a while ago on the board (I believe Carb Lover found the recipe for me). It is from Slanted Door, a restaurant in SF. It is super easy and really quite good and could absolutely be made ahead and put in the fridge (with the following caveats - (1) it is crab so one day ahead is all I would do and (2) don't eat it cold, let it sit for an hour). Anyway it is a crab with glass noodles dish, here is the recipe (paraphrased):

            2 packages (2 ounces each) thin glass (mung bean thread) noodles
            2 tablespoons neutral oil, like corn or canola
            1 tablespoon minced garlic
            1/4 cup trimmed and minced scallions
            1 cup crab meat, free of shell
            1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
            1 tablespoon soy sauce
            2 tablespoons oyster sauce
            1 tablespoon sesame oil
            Fresh cilantro for garnish

            1. Cover noodles in warm water for about 10 minutes. Drain.

            2. Heat oil on high; once hot, add garlic and half the scallions. Almost immediately after, add the noodles and the crab. Toss, and stir to mix the ingredients.

            3. Add the sauces to the pan (adjusting for taste). Put in large bowl, toss with sesame oil and
            remaining scallions.

            It only makes 4 small servings though.

            1. hey Susie, you can really go in any direction with this...Asian cuisine is so expansive, you can play with all sorts of flavors. There are great suggestions on this thread...but if you haven't figured out dessert yet, here's something that i LOVE--lychee granitas/lychee ice, whatever you want to call it.

              pick up a big can of peeled and pitted lychees (i think about 28 oz. is what they sell it as) and heat in a saucepan with its syrup/juice, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom (toast it to get that intense citrus/floral scent), and up to 1/2 cup of sugar (lychees are pretty sweet as is, so do it to taste). Make sure there's enough water to cover the fruit, but not drown it. Heat slowly until it's slightly simmering for about 10 minutes and the process in the blender or food processor until smooth. (watch out 'cause it's hot, a little at a time otherwise you'll be wearing it). if you've got an ice cream maker, you can pour it into that for a sorbet like texture, otherwise just put it into a clean baking dish and stash it in the freezer, stirring every hour or so to get those granita crystals rocking.

              delish served with almond tuiles. okay, so tuiles aren't asian per se. that's just me.

              have fun.