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Chinese appetizers

My bookclub is meeting this Friday after work and I am in charge of appetizers. We are doing a Chinese theme as one of us is Chinese and getting married in May. Her wedding reception is a traditional Chinese banquet and we are going to taste test wines for the reception.

I have never been to a Chinese wedding, so I don't know what will be on the menu, but I do want to make something - as opposed to doing Chinese take-out. Living in Toronto, I have very easy access to Chinese ingredients. I do not want to deep fry anything.

I will be working all day on Friday, and will have about 30 minutes at home to prepare/finish preparing the appetizers. I can start preparing them on Thursday night, though. And I will be travelling across town (Toronto) just around the time rush hour ends, so that's about 45-60 minutes. I would prefer not to have to do more to the dish than a slight reheating once I get to her place.

Can someone recommend a dish? recipe? Thanks!

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  1. Crispy won tons with a sweet/sour dip
    Sliced BBQ pork with hot and mild mustard
    Satay (Chicken or Beef) with peanut sauce. Maybe not too Chinese, but would be a seller, I bet.
    Sweet/sour mini ribs (messy, but good)
    Minced chicken in lettuce packages
    Marinated chicken in foil packets

    1. There aren't really "appetizers" per se in Chinese cuisine.

      Are you looking for things akin to finger foods? If so, I'd recommend "taro and yam wonton". Chop up some taro and japanese yams, boil until soft, blend in food processor until consistency of mashed potatoes, scoop gum ball sized amounts into wonton skins, wrap and boil. Don't need to reheat, goes down well cold or at room temp.

      Might also consider pickled daikon -- julienne the daikon, marinade with a combo of rice wine vinegar, chopped garlic, sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Let set in fridge for 24 hours. Serve on jicama "platters" (e.g. remove the skin on the jicama, and slice into place-holder like disks and place the julienned daikon on each disk).

      2 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Thanks for those great suggestions, ipsedixit! What I'm looking for is something we can eat before the meal, so the taro and yam wonton would work fine. SHould I plan for a dipping sauce for the wontons? If so, what kind? (I really like Chinese food, but never cook it at home, so I'm pretty clueless about it)

        1. re: pâté chinois

          Try a brown sugar ginger soy sauce reduction for the wontons.

          Slice up some baby ginger (regular ginger would work as well), mix 2 parts water to 1 part brown sugar. Mix the water and brown sugar and add the ginger slices and bring to a boil. Reduce and let simmer for about 10 minutes. (Add a more water if the consistency is too thick) Let it cool to room temp. Remove ginger slices and swirl in some soy sauce to taste. Sorry I don't exact measuresments but I'm not one that believes in recipes.

          Good luck.

      2. Here are a couple recipes that might be good for your party...

        Beef Shank Braised with Five Spice and Soy Sauce
        http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?s...

        Steamed Shrimp with Garlic
        http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?s...

        1. Ooh. Can you do tea eggs? I don't have a recipe offhand, but if you do a search, you can make these in advance (today or tomorrow even)-- buy like 1 or 2 dozen eggs, boil them, then cook them in the seasonings/broth, and have them soaking till Friday, then all you have to do on Friday is peel, cut into slivers and serve! (Note, you have to crack the eggs, so they get that marbly texture when you soak them.

          1. My favourite is Peking Duck with Chinese Pancake and Hoisin Sauce and Green Onion Fans. It is so easy. Make a small size savoury crepe with chopped chives. These can be done the day before and put a piece of saran or waxed paper between each crepe before chilling. Then buy a peking duck from your favourite barbecue shop. Slice the duck into small pieces, have hoisin sauce for dipping or to drizzle on the duck and make fans with green onions (just slice the green end into shreds and place in ice water for them to separate). Lay out the shredded or sliced duck, hoisin sauce, crepes and onion fans. People can make their own. Or if you have time, you can roll them. Everybody loves Peking duck. I think the whole recipe is in Joy

            2 Replies
            1. re: sarah galvin

              Peking duck is great, but it really doesn't reheat well.

              Best eaten fresh, hot and warm ...esp. that crispy skin.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                It won't be perfect but is nice in the little crepes. I would buy it the same day though. These are appy's