HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Asian desserts for Asian-themed party

I am planning an Asian-themed dinner party. For dessert, I want a duo of teas with a duo of dessert. At first I was thinking that for one pairing, I will do thai iced tea with thai mango sticky rice. For the other pair I could do iced green tea for the tea, but couldn't figure out what to make for the dessert. Maybe a hot spiced green tea with a cold dessert would be better. In any case, any ideas are welcome.

Also, if anyone has ideas for the rest of the dinner, anything, I would love to hear them. So far, in no specific order, and not having given much thought, I have planned:

Meiji's Kinoko No Yama (chocolate mushroom crackers)
Botan Rice Candy (the ones with the edible wrappers)

Summer Rolls
Panko-coated chicken tenders
Egg Drop Soup

Main Course:
Bulgogi w/ Jasmine Rice

Korean Potato Salad

Duo of teas and dessert

Any alternate ideas, specific recipes, comments on decor or party favors, I could use it. This is my first dinner party in a long time (years), so I want it to be good. Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. This is a nice Korean desert:

    Baesook (Korean Peppercorn Pear)

    3 Nashi (Asian) pears
    3 tablespoons sugar
    5 cups water



    Wash the pears in cold water, peel, and cut into quarters.
    Remove and discard core sections, then trim all sharp edges.
    Push 3 or four peppercorns into the surface or each pear section just far enough that they do not fall out.

    Put sugar and water into a pan and bring to a full boil over high heat.
    Reduce heat to medium low and add the pear sections.
    Cook for 10 minutes.
    Remove from heat and let cool.
    Transfer liquid and pear sections to a bowl or jar and refrigerate.
    Serve cold (2 or 3 pear sections covered with juice) in small bowls.

    1. It's going to depend on your guests. If these are people who are familiar with Asian food and/or are adventurous eaters, go for authenticity. But for some reason, despite the seeming universal appeal of sweetness, desserts seem to translate less well across cultures than some other dished. My background is pretty traditional European/American baking, so when I serve Asian food, I usually pick Asian flavors, but use Western techniques. For example, frozen ginger parfait, ginger ice cream, or ginger "wontons" (filled with candied ginger and frangipan). Green tea mousse. Lime/coconut pairings (Consider adding a hint of chili - for example, to a lime and coconut ice cream). Lychees in a star anise syrup, with some langue du chat on the side. Depending on how "serious" you want to be with the Asian theme, you can also mess around with the way things look. I've seen "sushi" made with sweetened rice, wrapped in chocolate fondant and filled with chopped kiwi and strawberries, and of course there are all sorts of desserts you could make that would look like dumplings. You could make a trio of little creme brulees in appropriate flavors (again, ginger, anise, maybe orange or mango), and serve them up in tea cups. If you want to go with a kitschy sort of Asian thing, you could buy some Chinese take out containers from your local take out place (I've done this, they charged me 10 cents apiece), and serve some items that way.

      1. This is a savoury dessert I picked up here
        More Indian/Southeast Asian than Pacific Rim.

        Semolina Kesari (makes 4 servings)
        55g coarse ground semolina (rava)*
        1/4 cup melted ghee
        5/8 cup boiling water
        a pinch of kesari colour powder or orange coloring+
        50g sugar
        3 cardamons, pounded
        a pinch of ground nutmeg
        a handful of cashews, halved
        a handful of golden raisins
        1 tbsp of ghee, extra

        (I used saffron powder for the kesari colour)

        1. Heat a tablespoonful of ghee in a small saucepan and fry cashews and raisins till golden brown. Set aside.
        2. Heat the 1/4 cup of ghee in a wok over medium-low heat and fry semolina until fragrant and it darkens slightly... this would take about 3-5 minutes.
        3. Pour in water and stir vigorously. When it is cooked and thick, add sugar, coloring, cardamom, nutmeg, fried cashews and raisins. Cook, stirring all the while over gentle heat till it thickens.
        4. Pour into a tray and cut into squares, or press into small bowls and unmould on a plate to serve.

        1. How about "don tot," Chinese egg custard tarts? They're so delicious, and easy to make if you buy tart shells instead of trying to make the crust yourself! You could serve them with some hot Jasmine or Chrysanthemum tea. Also, get some Pocky at a Chinese market -- little dessert biscuit sticks that come in a variety of flavors (my favorite are "Men's Pocky" -- coated with dark chocolate).

          Almond cookies are also a safe make-ahead dessert.

          1. I think almond dofu (almond gelatin) would work well with your menu. Very easy to make (they even sell packages like Jello in Chinese stores). If not, you can make it with sugar, milk, water and almond extract. Generally served with canned fruit (eg. lycees). It's personally not my cup of tea, but I find that most people love this refreshing dessert.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Miss Needle

              I was going to suggest the almond dofu with an array of Asian fruits, too. I agree, it's extremely refreshing particularly if the fruit is very cold.
              You might also consider making a lychee sorbet if you have an ice cream maker. You could serve it in tuiles or with flavored lange du chat or even with Pocky. It all depends how much work you want to make for yourself.

            2. Mark Bittman's orange confit with homemade mascarpone ice cream. This is not officially Asian, but feels Asian enough that it made for a great end to a Japanese feast I made on New Years Eve, and was much better than most authentic Asian desserts I've had, at any rate.

              1. The book "Harumi's Japanese Cooking" has some good ideas for desserts. One simple one that I had good luck with is Petal-Style Crepes - miniature crepes tinted pink with food coloring, filled with a dollop of sweetened red bean paste. They're folded over to look like flower petals - very cute! She suggests serving it with green tea or jasmine tea. Another fun one in the book is a Matcha green tea jelly with sweetened milk sauce (I haven't tried it, but it looks fun).

                1. Since you already have a warm dessert, it might be interesting to have the second one be cold, for contrast.

                  I was going to suggest almond "tofu", but Miss Needle beat me to it. I do like the stuff, especially when served, chilled, with canned fruit cocktail (the kind with grapes), but your guests may not find it all that impressive given that it's a recognizable derivative of canned fruit. Here's a standard recipe: http://chinesefood.about.com/od/desse... . I like making it slightly more soupy by adding a simple syrup flavored with ginger and sometimes orange essence.

                  I also love the dessert that lmoy suggests, dan ta or egg custard. The authentic pastry shell is hard to make (and requires lard to make it so incredibly light and flakey), but I've had a decent cheater's version using sugar cookie dough.

                  Other possibilities:

                  * Green tea ice cream (mix matcha with vanilla ice cream), or sweet red beans over vanilla ice cream, served with lace cookies or almond cookies

                  * Fresh tropical fruit salad (lychee, papaya, various melons, oranges) with ginger honey

                  * Green tea or mandarin orange pudding

                  * Lotus seed soup (i.e. http://www.itmonline.org/arts/lotus.htm


                  Sounds like a delicious dinner. I wish you luck!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: cimui

                    Make it simple serve green tea ice cream. You can buy it at most Asian markets and it's very good. You could get fancy and make green tea ice cream crepes with mango ginger coulis

                    1. re: cimui

                      If canned fruit cocktail is not acceptable, you can always use a cocktail of fresh fruit pieces. Or, alternatively, add some fresh fruit to the canned mix to spruce up the flavor and texture. Mango, papaya, banana, and melon come to mind. I also love lychees so much I would definitely try to work them in, even if they were also canned.

                    2. there seems to be a Korean theme, don't know if this strikes your fancy, but there is a lovely dried persimmon stewed in a sweet ginger soup recipe that Koreans like. The dried persimmon becomes soft in the soup. It is served cold and is very easy to make. If it appeals to you, I can easily post the recipe.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: moh

                        Moh, that's a recipe I don't have. I would appreciate it if you would post it.

                        1. re: hannaone

                          Here is the recipe for Ginger Persimmon Dessert, it is based on a recipe from a book called "Vignette of Korean Cooking" by Mrs. Jae-Ok Kwon. She has two volumes out, and she published these recipes for her first generation children (she is a 30 year Korean-American immigrant). They are awesome books, but I don't know that they are readily available in the general market. Shame, the photos are great, it is in Korean and English, recipes are solid.

                          수 정 과

                          Boil 14 cups of water with 1/2 cup of sliced fresh ginger for about 10-20 minutes. Reserve half of this mixture. To the remaining half, add 6-8 cinammon sticks and bring to boil. Discard ginger, add 8 dried persimmons and about 1 cup of brown sugar, and add the reserved half of the ginger water. I like to reduce the sugar amount a little bit. Store in fridge to let the persimmon soften. Garnish with pine nuts when serving, best served cold.

                          I've seen another recipe where they just boil the cinnamon, ginger and water for half an hour, remove the ginger (but leave the cinnamon sticks) then add the sugar and persimmon and pine nuts, chill and serve.

                          The bigger and juicier looking the dried persimmon, the better it tastes. I love this dessert when I am feeling sick, the ginger is very comforting.

                          My mum just interjected with the point that this cookbook may be available in places like LA and Chicago (where there are large Korean communities) in Korean stores and Korean language bookstores. Hannaone, I don't think you'd need it, you already have an astounding wealth of info! But it might be interesting for other Chowhounders to read! It is in English and Korean.

                            1. re: moh

                              I love soo jeung kwa! One thing that kind of puzzled me about this dish is that I found it very sweet. Koreans generally aren't into super sweet things.

                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                Ahh thanks, I forgot to put the english version on the Korean name. It is very sweet, which is why I sometimes reduce the amount of sugar when I make it.

                        2. I had dinner guests tonight, and served Filipino food--bulgogi (the version we learned from our housegirl in the PI, similar but not the same as the traditional Korean version), lumpia, pancit canton, chicken adobo. And for dessert, my favorite edible substance ever, cold rice cake. It's easy to do well ahead of time, and is fairly simple. You already have the sticky rice after all... I'm happy to supply the recipe, if you're interested.

                          2 Replies
                            1. re: bmorecupcake

                              Glutinous Rice Cake (Bibingkang Malagkit)
                              3 c uncooked glutinous rice (sweet rice)
                              1 1/2 c water
                              3 c coconut milk (if you're going to press your own, reserve the first press for the topping, use the second press for the 3 cups here. If you're using canned, don't worry about the distinction.)
                              1 1/2 c brown sugar
                              3/4 t salt

                              Combine rice, water, coconut milk, sugar, and salt in a rice cooker. Turn cooker on and stir mixture occasionally until liquid is absorbed and rice is soft. Add a little more water if needed. You may also cook this mixture in a deep nonstick pot over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until fully cooked. (This is the method that I use, since my rice cooker is far too small to accommodate the quantity of rice and liquid.) You'll have to keep adding water periodically with this method. It's a lot like making risotto. If you're not sure if the rice is done, just sample a few grains. The recipe is pretty forgiving--the rice can be *slightly* undercooked since there's going to be a 30 minute bake, and it's also fine if it's completely (or perhaps a little over) done in the pot. Transfer mixture into a 9x13 pan, packing tightly and spreading evenly. Smooth top with the back of a spoon. Set aside.

                              2/3 c dark brown sugar
                              1/4 c coconut milk
                              2/3 c milk
                              1 T butter or margarine
                              2 t flour (can mix with some water to make a slurry so it blends nicely)

                              To prepare topping, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boiling point. Stir quickly until topping has thickened and is smooth (this happens quickly). Spread topping evenly over cooked rice.

                              Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes. End with a couple minutes under the broiler to get the topping golden brown but not burnt. Watch closely, it doesn't take long at all. Leave the oven door slightly open while broiling. Cool in the fridge, and serve when cold and firm.

                          1. I love thai iced tea but it may be too filling along with dessert. Also, after dinner I think I would prefer a hot drink vs. a cold one. My nine year old has developed a habit of ordering chamomile along with her desserts at restaurants (wonder where she got that from:-)! Also, I am now into sencha, gen mai cha & jasmine green teas.

                            1. There's an old Japanese kanten recipe that I no longer recall the Japanese name for, but in English it''s often called "Strawberry Snow." Or something like that. I serve it in sections about the size of a Napoleon, and I'm careful to cut it so that the buried strawberries are cut in half so they make an appetizing appearance in the sides of the sections, then top with a strawberry fan. One of the great benefits of kanten (aka agar agar) is that, unlike gelatin, it is exceptionally stable at room temperature.

                              Lightly oil a square dish that is deep enough to submerge the strawberries without them touching bottom or sticking out of the top. If the strawberries are extremely large, they may require a bathtub and quadrupled recipe to bury them! They should be uniform in size, and I prefer mine about an inch tall.

                              Bring 2 cups water to a boil, stir in one tablespoon kanten (agar agar) powder, stirring constantly. Make sure all of the kanten is dissolved. Stir in 3 Tbsp sugar until dissolved, then add 2 Tbsp corn syrup. You may add a flavoring of your choice such as vanilla or orange flower water. Even a touch of lemon juice or zest (my favorite). (You can also use the kanten/agar agar leaves, just follow the package directions. Oh, and use the white, not the red.) Stir well and keep warm, stirring occasionally to keep it from setting while you...

                              Beat 2 egg whites in a large bowl to stiff peak stage. Slowly add the warm kanten, blending gently with a whisk. Try to preserve as much volume of the egg whites as possible.

                              Cover bottom of mold with layer of kanten "snow." Set washed hulled strawberries in rows with a little room between to fill in with "snow." Cover berries completely and smooth top for presentation. Kanten will gel at room temperature, but you can move things along by putting it in the refrigerator. When firmly set, cut into serving size portions slicing through centers of berries. Plate each portion and top with a stawberry fan and a small mint leaf.

                              Does anybody know what the Japanese name is for this? I "loaned" out my recipe book and the thief never returned it... Some people!

                              1. I love all sorts of custards, like coconut or tapioca. That along with a platter of interesting fruits (star, dragon, lychee, tiny mandarins, those small mangos) might be both fun and tasty?

                                1. there's a korean street food that is basically a flattened pancake filled w/ walnuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon. you could make small ones and serve with some ice cream for dessert.

                                  here's a recipe:

                                  there is also a cute strawberry, red bean mochi on the same website:


                                  another recipe for the strawberry, red bean mochi:


                                    1. This may not be an authentic Asian dessert, but it certainly fits with the theme:

                                      1. This is a crowd pleaser, and very popular in Hong Kong.
                                        It's Sai mai loh, which is a cold (or hot) coconut tapicoa pearl soup with some taro root.
                                        It's also very common and delicious to use a melon baller and put honey dew, cantalope and various other sweet fruits to add into it as well.

                                        This is a basic recipe for it. But it's pretty simple.
                                        Boil rock sugar with water, flavor with coconut milk.
                                        Seperate pot boil the pearls until translucent, transfer to to coconut milk mixture.
                                        Steam taro root.
                                        Combine all and serve =)