IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Asian and Asian-American recipes to try during the holidays

From bone marrow stew and coconut rices cakes to pad thai carbonara and ramen, these recipes can make good holiday projects.
Ramen from Nancy Singleton Hichasu's cookbook \"Japan: The Cookbook\"
Ramen from Nancy Singleton Hichasu's cookbook "Japan: The Cookbook" published by Phaidon.Jennifer May

For this holiday season, NBC Asian America rounded up some recipes and holiday favorites from chefs and food lovers around the country that you can make from the comfort of your own kitchen.

Follow NBC Asian America on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.

Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad, owner and chef of Jeepney and Maharlika in New York City

“Bulalo is well-known in the town regions of Batangas and Tagaytay where beef is prevalent,” Ponseca said of the bone marrow soup. “It’s so important because it highlights one of the main cooking techniques in the Philippines, which is “nilaga,” and so from this dish with beef, bone marrow, cabbage, potatoes and corn, it can transform into the actual dish called nilaga.” She said it turns into “pochero” and if sourness is added to it—it can transform into “cansi.”

“If you can master this, you can master any other Filipino dishes,” Ponseca said.

Bulalo from Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad's cookbook "I Am A Filipino"
Bulalo from Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad's cookbook "I Am A Filipino"Justin Walker

Bulalo (bone marrow soup) recipe

Excerpted from I Am a Filipino by Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2018. Photographs by Justin Walker.

Serves eight to ten


  • 5 pounds (2.3 kg) beef shanks, preferably grass-fed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup (70 g) whole black peppercorns
  • ½ cup (75 g) whole garlic cloves (about 10), smashed with the side of a knife
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 medium white onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups (280 g) coarsely chopped peeled potatoes
  • ¼ pound (115 g) napa cabbage, thickly sliced
  • 1 ear fresh corn, cut crosswise into 1-inch-long (2.5 cm) pieces
  • Fish sauce
  • Sawsawan for serving


In a large stockpot, bring 1 gallon (4 L) water to a boil. Season the beef shanks liberally with salt and pepper. Add them to the boiling water and let the water come back to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water simmers. Skim off any impurities from the top.

Add the peppercorns, garlic, bay leaves, and onions and cook the beef shanks for 2½ to 3½ hours, until the marrow is tender. Keep an eye on the pot: Add water as needed to keep the ingredients just covered.

Add the scallions, potatoes, cabbage, and corn and cook for 10 minutes more, or until the potatoes are cooked through. Taste and season with fish sauce.

Serve in deep bowls with sawsawan alongside, making sure each serving has some beef, onions, potato, cabbage, and corn.When you add corn and cabbage to the soup, as we do, bulalo is sometimes called nilaga, which is also the Tagalog term for “boiled.” Some people also add bananas or plantains. Another common variation is kansi, a blend of bulalo and sinigang soured with a tart Filipino fruit called batwan.


Filipino food is always served with condiments within easy reach, even at a street vendor where you stand and eat. These condiments let diners customize the flavor of the meal in the form of a self-mixed dipping sauce, which is generally known as sawsawan. The most common of these are vinegars (plain, and sometimes those flavored with chile and garlic or herbs, like the pinakurat recipe that follows); fish sauce (patis); soy sauce; a bowl of limes, lemons, or the native calamansi fruit, cut and squeezed to order; and whole fresh hot and mild chiles. Occasionally, you’ll find chopped tomatoes, sliced onions, and bagoong, too.Diners get individual bowls and use their spoons or forks to mash chiles with vinegar as they see fit, or stir together patis and calamansi, or make whatever sawsawan they prefer. No Filipino dish is seasoned perfectly until it is on the table in front of you and you add the salt, sour, heat, and even umami flavors that make it perfect to you.

Pinakurat (spiced vinegar)

You can store this all-purpose sweet-and-spicy vinegar in clean mason jars, but it is easier to keep it in repurposed glass bottles. Note that this recipe can be adjusted as you like—try using different chiles or other spices like bay leaf. Makes 3 cups (720 ML)


  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • ¼ cup (35 g) dried fruit, such as raisins, cherries, or mangos (optional)
  • 5 whole bird’s-eye chiles
  • 1 (3-inch/7.5 cm) knob fresh ginger, scrubbed and minced
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 3 to 4 cups (720 ml to 1 L) white sugarcane vinegar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) fish sauce


Put the garlic, dried fruit, chiles, ginger, and peppercorns in a clean glass jar or bottle and cover with the vinegar and fish sauce. Loosely cover or cap the jar and let sit at room temperature in a dark place for 48 hours.

Transfer the jar to the refrigerator. The pinakurat will keep indefinitely, and the flavors will continue to develop over time.

Ponseca and Trinidad said one of their most popular desserts at Jeepney is bibingka — a coconut rice cake — but Trinidad said they notice a high demand for it during the holiday season and this recipe in particular is “near and dear” to Ponseca’s heart.

Bibingka from Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad's cookbook "I Am A Filipino"
Bibingka from Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad's cookbook "I Am A Filipino"Justin Walker

Bibingka (Coconut Rice Cake)

Serves four to six


  • Butter or cooking spray, for greasing
  • 1 banana leaf, washed and dried
  • 1 cup (160 g) glutinous rice flour
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¹⁄8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) coconut milk
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 salted egg or hard-boiled egg, peeled and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons condensed milk
  • ½ cup (55 g) grated Edam cheese
  • Salabat for serving (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9-inch (23 cm) cast-iron skillet or baking dish with butter or cooking spray and line it with the banana leaf. Trim the edges of the leaf so that it hangs over the skillet or dish by only an inch or two, then coat the leaf with more butter or spray.In a large bowl, stir together the rice flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.In a medium bowl, beat together the coconut milk, whole milk, melted butter, and raw eggs until well combined.Slowly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, making sure they are well incorporated.Pour the batter into the prepared skillet or baking dish and top it with the salted egg slices.

Bill Kim, Chef-Owner of urbanbelly in Chicago

“My family never ate lamb when I was growing up, so I didn’t try it until I got to culinary school. I quickly fell in love with it—chops, leg of lamb, and, of course, homemade gyros, which I still crave every now and again,” Kim writes in his cookbook, “Korean BBQ: Master Your Grill in Seven Sauces” which he co-wrote with author Chandra Ram, and was released in 2018.

Drunken lamb chops from Bill Kim's cookbook "Korean BBQ: Master Your Grill in Seven Sauces"
Drunken lamb chops from Bill Kim's cookbook "Korean BBQ: Master Your Grill in Seven Sauces"Johnny Autry

Drunken BBQ Lamb Chops

Serves four

Reprinted from Korean BBQ: Master Your Grill in Seven Sauces. Copyright © 2018 by Bill Kim and Chandra Ram. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Johnny Autry. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC


  • ½ cup Soy Balsamic Sauce
  • ½ cup brandy
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  • ¼ cup toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ cup loosely packed fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 12 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 lamb loin chops, about 1 inch thick

PREP TIME 15 minutes


COOK TIME 6 minutes

Combine the Soy Balsamic Sauce, brandy, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, rosemary, and garlic in a small bowl and mix well. Measure out one-fourth of the marinade and reserve it for basting the meat on the grill.

Place the lamb chops in a large, shallow dish. Spoon the remaining marinade over the chops and turn the chops to coat evenly. Marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.

Heat the grill for direct heat cooking to medium (350°F to 375°F).

Place the chops on the grill over the flames and cook for 3 minutes. Brush or lightly spoon some of the reserved marinade on the chops, turn the chops over, and brush or lightly spoon marinade on the second side. Cook the chops for about 3 minutes longer, until lightly charred on each side.

Transfer the chops to a serving platter and let rest for 4 minutes, then serve.

KUNG FU IT If you can’t find lamb, this marinade also works well with the rich flavor of beef, so use it on steaks.

Soy Balsamic Sauce

Makes one cup

This recipe is very dear to my heart, as it was my first attempt to use ingredients that didn’t normally go together, but made sense to me. In Asian cooking, vinegar is often used to cut saltiness from soy sauce or other ingredients. For me, balsamic vinegar has the perfect mix of sweetness, acidity, and body to combine with the brown sugar and soy sauce here.

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch, or as needed
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup soy sauce

PREP TIME 10 minutes

COOK TIME 10 minutes

In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water until the cornstarch dissolves and the mixture is the consistency of heavy cream, adding more cornstarch if the mixture is too thin.

Combine the brown sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stir the cornstarch mixture briefly to recombine, then stir it into the soy-vinegar mixture and simmer over low heat for about 3 minutes, until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Remove from the heat, let cool completely, then refrigerate in an airtight container. This sauce will last for months without going bad.

Chrissy Teigen

In "Cravings: Hungry for More," Chrissy Teigen's second cookbook, she writes that while it’s hard to get recipes from her mom, she knew she had to include her mom’s pad thai recipe. The recipe below for pad thai carbonara comes from a morning hen Teigen's mother started making bacon pad thai out of nowhere.

“Eggs and bacon make it a whole lot like a carbonara, but the Thai flavors make it pad Thai,” Teigen writes in her cookbook "Cravings: Hungry For More," which was released in 2018. “You are so very welcome for this beautiful hybrid beast.”

Pad Thai carbonara by Chrissy Teigen, based on her mother's recipe
Pad Thai carbonara by Chrissy Teigen, based on her mother's recipeAubrey Pick

Pad Thai Carbonara (bacon & egg pad thai spaghetti)

Reprinted from Cravings: Hungry for More. Copyright © 2018 by Chrissy Teigen. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Aubrie Pick. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC


  • 1 small head broccoli
  • 2½ tablespoons sweet soy sauce*
  • 1 tablespoon liquid soybean paste**
  • 1½ teaspoons fish sauce, plus more to taste
  • 1½ teaspoons less sodium soy sauce, plus more to taste
  • 3 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon Thai chile powder, or to taste
  • ½ cup chicken broth, plus more if needed
  • ½ pound spaghetti, cooked to al dente, drained, and oiled
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths


Separate the broccoli crown from the stem. Trim the end off the stem, peel it, and cut it crosswise into ¼-inch thick coins. Separate the crown into small florets.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sweet soy, soybean paste, fish sauce, and less-sodium soy. This is your sauce.

In a wok or very large sauté pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until just gently crisped (I mean, don’t go crazy; just get most of the fat rendered), 6 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and chile powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the sauce, and cook until reduced slightly, about 1 minute. Add the broccoli, splash with half the chicken broth, and cook until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes.Increase the heat to high. Add the spaghetti and the rest of the broth and cook, tossing, until very hot and the sauce is absorbed, 3 to 5 minutes (if it feels too dry, splash in more broth or water a little at a time). Season with additional soy sauce and fish sauce to taste.

Remove the pan from the heat, add the eggs, and toss until the eggs are creamy. Toss in the scallions and serve.

Nancy Singleton Hachisu, James Beard-nominated cook and author

"In Japan, there are ramen shops in every town," Singleton Hachisu writes in her cookbook, "Japan: The Cookbook" which was released in 2018. "Here is a home-style ramen recipe for those who want to try making their own at home."

Reprinted from Japan: The Cookbook. Copyright © 2018 by Nancy Singleton Hachisu (Phaidon Press). Photographs copyright © 2018 by Jennifer May.

Ramen from Nancy Singleton Hichasu's cookbook "Japan: The Cookbook"
Ramen from Nancy Singleton Hichasu's cookbook "Japan: The Cookbook" published by Phaidon.Jennifer May


Serves six

Preparation Time: 2 hours

Cooking Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients for the broth

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (1 ½ lb/675 g total)
  • 2 small carrots, cut into 1 ¼-inch (3 cm) lengths
  • 7 oz (200 g) small negi or fat scallions (spring onions), cut into 1 ¼ inch (3 cm) lengths
  • 1 ¾-inch (2 cm) piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons gold sesame oil

Ingredients for noodles

  • 2 cups (10 ½ oz/300 g) best-quality unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons gold sesame oil
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks, at room temperature

Ingredients for the salt flavoring (choose 1)

  • brown rice miso
  • soy sauce
  • fine sea salt

Ingredients for the toppings

  • 7 oz (200 g) komatsuna [Japanese mustard greens], bok choy, or spinach, blanched, squeezed, and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped negi or scallions (spring onions)
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature, boiled for 8 minutes, refreshed, peeled, and halved lengthwise
  • 1 sheet nori, cut into sixths
  • Rayu [chile oil], optional
  • Yuzu kosho [chile paste’], optional
  • Shichimi togarashi [seven-spice powder], optional

Method for the broth

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450°F (230°C/Gas Mark 8). In a large bowl, toss the chicken, carrots, "negi", and ginger with the salt. Rub with the sesame oil and dump onto a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 35 minutes until nicely browned.

Scrape the roasted chicken and vegetables into a large heavy pot and add 4 quarts (4 liters) cold water. Bring almost to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered, for 1 hour.

Scoop out the chicken thighs and shred the meat off the bones into a medium bowl. Wet the chicken meat with a small scoop of broth. Return the bones to the pot and continue simmering the broth, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Strain into a clean medium pot and discard the bones and vegetables.

Method for the noodles

Place the flour in a large bowl and drizzle in the sesame oil. Mix with your fingers until pebbly. Make a well and break in the whole eggs and yolks. Mix with your fingers until the eggs and flour are incorporated, but the dough is still a bit crumbly. Turn out onto a work surface and knead until smooth and pliable, about 5 minutes. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes. Roll the dough out using a seimenki [noodle-rolling machine] or Italian pasta machine. Then cut the dough into thin noodles ⅛ inch (3 mm) wide. Cut those noodles into 9-inch (22 cm) lengths with a pizza cutter. Sprinkle the noodles generously with flour and toss the flour into the noodles, to help prevent sticking, but keep the noodles aligned.

Fill a large pot three-quarters full of water and bring to a boil over high heat.

Bring the broth to a simmer over medium-high heat and adjust to a bare simmer. Prepare 6 large "donburi" [deep soup bowls]. Measure in one salt flavoring of choice per bowl: 2 tablespoons miso, 4 teaspoons soy sauce, or ¾ teaspoon salt. Whisk 4 tablespoons broth into each bowl to emulsify the flavoring.

Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. While the noodles are cooking, add about 1½ cups (12 fl oz/350 ml) broth into each bowl and whisk to combine with the flavoring liquid. Drain the noodles and divide the noodles among the bowls. Working quickly (so the broth does not cool), keeping each ingredient in its own area, add 2 heaping tablespoons chicken meat, 2 heaping tablespoons greens,½ tablespoon negi, an egg half, and a small piece of "nori". If desired, add spice with "rayu" (for soy sauce ramen), "yuzu kosho" (for salt ramen) or "shichimi togarashi" (for miso ramen).