Halloween themed Asian food?
This is my first year participating in a Halloween potluck at my office... and over the past year I've grown tired of the same old stuff coworkers contribute -- bucket of fried chicken, potato / pasta salads, dips and chips, cookies, etc. So I want to spice things up a bit with my contribution this year. As a nod to my Asian ancestry, I'm trying to come up with something a bit more "ethnic" . I know there will be plenty of pie, cookies, jello, candy, and the like so I'm looking specifically for a savory dish. After a quick online search, I've come across the Thai "eyeballs" (sweet sticky rice balls w/ black sesame paste inside); but that is not savory. And things are a bit extra difficult because I'm still a really beginner novice in the kitchen, which leaves a lot of things off my list. But I did manage to come up with 1 idea: pancit palabok using Mama Sita's mix... that would result in a bright orange noodle! I can even keep it "deconstructed": leaving the shrimp in a separate container for those who are allergic to seafood, keeping the chicharon and pork bits in their own bowls for the vegetarians (i'll have to check whether meat product is used in the actual mix first), etc.
Is that my only option though? Any other ideas out there? Since Halloween falls on a Monday, I'll probably have some time on Sunday to prep things. We don't have a way to really heat food at the office, although we do have a small fridge -- so something served at room temp would be great. I can even just pick up something (the office is a few blocks from our Chinatown), but the question is what would work? Bonus for an idea that would work for vegetarians and folks allergic to seafood.
You could make/purchase lumpia or egg rolls-meat or vege. and pork buns and make them look like pumpkins, fingers, spiders etc. just a bit of food coloring or a hot pepper at the end of each egg roll cut like a finger nail. Or maybe a shrimp roll with something in the shape of a spider rolled in the rice paper (cilantro pressed into the wrapper in a spider, fly etc shape). Chicken feat dim sum might work but may not get eatin, or those crab dim sum with the claw sticking out
or hotpot with pea vines mixed with veges on one side that looks like body parts and vines qwith fishballs etc decorated like eyeballs on the other side
You could make some clear rice noodles with dried plumms or black olives and fashion them up in kind of a spider web. Just an idea don't know if it could work or not. =)
What about a Thai pumpkin curry? Very easy to make, lots of recipes on the web so you can find one to your liking. I think this looks like a nice vegan one :
You could get a plastic serving container that could put inside a hollowed out and decorated pumpkin. I know it's something people would maybe prefer hot, but I've eaten plenty of curries at room temp, and they were just fine. Or perhaps until serving it could be stored in a large thermos or something similar.
Make thin fried spring rolls and use egg wash to attach a sliced almond to the tip of each one -- fried fingers with long nails. Serve them with blood for dipping (aka asian chilli sauce or ketchup).
Make worms (noodles) with pieces of flesh (chicken/pork beef). Add dark soy sauce to the noodles when stirfrying to make them dark, then drizzle ketchup or chilli sauce over the top before serving as blood.
Freeze boneless pork chops for 30 minutes, then use a sharp knife to cut them into long, thin, even, julienned pieces. Mix with soft tofu that you've mashed slightly and flavored with dark soy sauce, osyter sauce, pepper, etc. Voila - Worms in mud.
Pancit palabok is one of my favorite foods, but other than orange coloring, I don't really see how it is Halloween themed. The spring roll fingers are a good idea. Food and Wine also had a recipe this month for "worms in dirt" made from spiced tofu and seaweed, which would be fine at room temperature. If you can get shirataki and use a corer to cut them into worms, they absorb dark sauces and could also be made to look like worms if marinated in soy or fuqi feipian sauce as I like to eat it.
Thanks for all the creative ideas folks! I especially like the egg/spring roll and lumpia ideas... definitely something I can do. I also like the curry idea... since I've still got over a week to plan, please keep the suggestions coming!
I thought of something myself too -- serving Hannibal Lecter BBQ buns! hehehehehe... after all, there's that Chinese urban legend (although I think it is based on a true crime story) of a woman killing her abusive mate, then chopping him up and baking into "pork" buns to serve folks.