Susan Jung's recipes

Thanksgiving turkey a bore? Asian alternatives you can cook for the holiday

  • Savour the Asian flavours of stuffed boneless chicken or lamb with Sichuan spices and spring onion pancakes
  • For a more traditional dish, try a crowd-pleasing braised beef brisket with onions
PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 November, 2018, 2:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 November, 2018, 2:00am

I’m not the only one who finds turkey the most boring meat available – although I do have recipes for it, including a classic roast turkey and my favourite, one in which the bird is boned, then stuffed with minced pork, savoy cabbage, chestnuts, pistachios and dried cranberries before being roasted.

But, given the chance, I’d choose any meat over turkey, and many others feel the same way. If you’re in charge of the holiday meal, and you’re feeding others who are fine with breaking with tradition, try these alternatives to turkey.

1. Lamb with Sichuan spices and spring onion pancakes 

This is another easy dish with lots of flavour. If you have the time, let the spice-coated lamb sit in the fridge for several hours before you roast it.

In this recipe, I suggested serving pilaf if you do not want to make spring onion pancakes, but another alternative is buying frozen naan bread and heating it on a griddle just before the lamb is ready to be carved.

2. Braised beef brisket with onions

This is a crowd-pleasing dish that I make often because it’s minimal effort for a lot of flavour. The last time I made it, I was out of home-made chicken and beef stock, and so used dashi stock (from an instant dashi bag) for the liquid, and it was just as delicious, without tasting fishy.

3. Nor mai gai

This is the most difficult recipe I’ve ever given. Like the stuffed turkey recipe given above, it requires tunnel-boning the bird – removing all the bones without cutting into the skin. Doing this with a chicken is harder than with a turkey, which, although unwieldy, is larger so it’s easy to get your hands stuck into it (literally).

The boneless chicken is stuffed with a flavourful mixture of glutinous rice, Chinese sausage and dried mushrooms, steamed, air-dried, then fried.