Delicious Recipes Families Can Make for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
From Korean fried chicken to Samoan coconut bread!
Erica Silverstein · 4 months ago
You don’t have to check your family tree — anyone can celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May. And what better way to honor AAPI cultures than by enjoying their traditional foods and flavors? So grab your party hats and hit the kitchen to concoct these delicious and family-friendly recipes from across Asia and the Pacific.
Dakgangjeong (Korean Fried Chicken)
Korean kids are big fans of dakgangjeong, soy garlic fried chicken, and we have no doubt your nugget-loving family will love this dish, too. My Korean Kitchen’s recipe uses cut-up boneless chicken, though you can also fry up chicken wings or drumsticks the same way. The chicken bites are deep fried twice for extra crispy deliciousness, then slathered in a sweet-yet-sticky sauce for even more flavor.
Jiaozi (Chinese Dumplings)
Dumplings are a signature Chinese dish, and a complete meal since they combine meat and vegetables in a doughy wrapper. They’re popular on Chinese New Year, both to eat and to cook together as a family. Red House Spice’s dumpling guide will show you how to make the dough from scratch (as most Chinese cooks do), offer a selection of fillings from meaty to vegan, and provide instruction for all three methods of cooking (boiled, pan-fried, and steamed). Try a few different batches and surprise your family with a dumpling buffet.
Japanese Miso-Glazed Salmon
It’s no surprise that an island nation eats a lot of fish, and salmon is a particularly popular Japanese dish. You can eat it raw in sushi, or you can dress it in a miso sauce and fry it to perfection. Some members of your family may wrinkle their noses when they learn miso is a paste made from fermented soy beans, but it’s a signature Japanese flavor. Yuto of Sudachi Recipes claims that miso-glazed salmon is the ultimate comfort food dish, “like something I’d eat at my grandparents’ house.” Now that’s as good of an endorsement as you’re likely to get for a recipe!
Kuih Kodok (Malaysian Banana Fritters)
If you’re looking for an afternoon snack in Malaysia, you might be served kuih kodok, bananas mashed with flour and sugar and deep fried. The word kodok means toad, and this dish gets its name from its round yet bumpy shape that resembles a frog. Next time you have almost-black, overripe bananas, skip the banana bread and try making this Malaysian snack food.
Filipino Chicken Adobo
Chicken Adobo is the quintessential Filipino dish. While you may have seen adobo powder in the spice aisle at the grocery store, in this case adobo refers to the method of preparing the chicken by marinating it in vinegar and soy sauce. This stewed chicken recipe from Panlasang Pinoy is easy to prepare — just leave time to marinate it for hours to draw out the most flavor possible. Serve with rice and fruit salad for a meal even picky eaters will enjoy.
Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)
Americans wax nostalgic for chicken noodle soup, but in Vietnam, beef pho is the nation’s favorite meal. Pho started out as a humble dish of boiled beef, noodles, and broth, but on its journey through Vietnam and across the ocean to America, it picked up some fancy garnishes, including bean sprouts, lime, cilantro, and Thai basil. Viet World Kitchen shows you how to make this classic dish from scratch, unless you'd rather swing by your local Vietnamese place.
Aloo Matar (Indian Potatoes and Peas)
Potatoes and peas are some of the first foods American families traditionally feed to kids, so it’s no wonder that aloo matar, a stew of potatoes and peas in tomato sauce, is beloved by Indian families. The dish hails from the Punjab region of India and is spiced with ginger, turmeric, and garam masala. The Curious Chickpea’s version is vegan, and she recommends pairing this comfort food classic with rice, garlic naan, and dal (Indian lentils).
Gua Bao (Taiwanese Pork in Steamed Buns)
From Taiwan’s night markets come gua bao, a steamed bun cut open and filled with braised pork. You can think of it as an alternative burger, complete with the requisite condiments — in this case pickled mustard, peanut powder, and cilantro. Dare your family to try it, but if pickled mustard is just too much, Choochoo-Ca-Chew agrees that the pork is just as tasty served over rice.
Fa’apapa (Samoan Coconut Bread)
Fa’apapa is a traditional Samoan bread made with coconut flakes and milk. The traditional version is teeth-breaking dense, but modern chefs lighten it up with baking powder. Snack on it plain, or turn it into sweet fa’ausi by topping it with a coconut caramel sauce. It’s a treat that will transport you to the islands.
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