8 Recipes So You Can Serve Your Favorite Asian Appetizers at Home

Asian cuisine offers up an incredibly diverse array of tantalizing starter dishes. Instead of ordering takeout every night to experience those flavors, try saving a few bucks by recreating the dishes in your own home. You’ll impress family and friends while simultaneously sprucing up a humdrum dinnertime menu, offering a dish to suit every taste.

Use these eight recipes to add distinctive and delightful Asian flavors to the starter menu at your next gathering.

Source: iStock

1. Crab Rangoon

Crab Rangoon is one of the most sinfully delicious appetizers on any takeout menu. The dish consists of a smooth, cream cheese-based crab filling wrapped in a fried wonton wrapper. The dish is said to be of Burmese origin — named for the former Burmese capital city of Rangoon, or Yangon — but it actually appeared for the first time in the mid-20th century at Trader Vic’s restaurant in San Francisco, writes Epic Portions. Although the standard variation of this dish is deep-fried, you may also choose to bake it in the oven to yield somewhat healthier (but still crispy and delicious) results. Baking and frying directions can be found below. This recipe from Culinary Hill yields 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces whipped cream cheese
  • 6 ounces white crab meat, drained and flaked
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Wonton wrappers

Directions: In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, crab meat, mayonnaise, and green onions.

Whisk together egg and water in a small bowl to make an egg wash. Working in batches, arrange 5 to 10 wonton wrappers on a clean, dry surface. Brush all 4 edges of each wrapper with the egg wash using a pastry brush or your finger.

Place 1 rounded teaspoon of cream cheese filling in the center of each wonton wrapper. To wrap, first lift and press the seams of 2 opposing corners together over the filling. Then, lift the remaining 2 opposing corners and bring them also to the middle to form a small parcel. Press all seams together and fold over the top, where all 4 corners meet. If the wrapper does not seem to stick, apply additional egg wash. Repeat with all remaining wonton wrappers and filling.

To fry – Heat oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit in a deep fryer or a stock pot. Do not let the temperature greatly exceed 375 degrees Fahrenheit, or the oil may smoke and then burst into flame. Fry the wontons in small batches for 15 to 20 seconds or until golden brown. Remove immediately and drain on paper towels.

To bake – Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray 24 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. Place 1 filled wonton wrapper in each cup. Bake until the edges are golden brown and the filling is heated through, about 18 to 20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Source: iStock

2. Baked Veggie Spring Rolls With Sesame Ginger Sauce

Recipe Geek’s Baked Veggie Spring Rolls With Sesame Ginger Sauce make a wonderfully light and vegetarian-friendly starter dish. Being baked, they sit a bit less heavily in the stomach than a deep-fried variation of this favorite Asian appetizer, but they are just as satisfying as their deep-fried counterparts. Crispy carrots, mushrooms, cabbage, onions, and more are highlighted by flavors of ginger inside the crispy spring roll wrappers, while the complementary flavors of the accompanying sesame-ginger sauce make the rolls delightfully dip-worthy. The recipe yields 12 spring rolls.

Ingredients:

Veggie spring rolls

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • ½ red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded Savoy cabbage
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • Pinches of salt and pepper
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 12 spring roll wrappers
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Sesame ginger sauce

  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallions

Directions: For the filling – Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes. Stir in the carrot, mushrooms, red pepper, cabbage, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until veggies are tender-crisp, about 4 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together water, cornstarch, and hoisin sauce. Pour over veggies and stir to combine everything and heat through, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let mixture cool slightly.

Assemble: Lay 1 spring roll wrapper on a clean dry work surface with one point facing you and another pointing away from you (so it looks like a diamond shape). Using a spoon, scoop out about 2 tablespoons of filling and pile it in a horizontal line along the bottom third of wrapper. Fold bottom point of wrapper up and over the filling, tucking it all in. Fold both sides in to secure the filling and then carefully roll up like a cigar (leave a 2-inch triangle of wrapper at the top. Brush triangle with a dab of water and then press to seal. Place seam-side down on a large rimmed baking sheet. Repeat until you have completed remaining spring rolls.

Brush tops and sides of each spring roll wrappers lightly with vegetable oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in a 425 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once, until golden and crispy.

For the dipping sauce – In a small bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and ginger. Stir in scallions.

Source: iStock

3. Scallion Pancakes

These Scallion Pancakes are sure to satisfy even the most intense of salty finger-food cravings. To achieve that perfectly oily, flaky layered pancake effect, you’ll roll out the dough and brush with sesame oil — then roll it out again. Covering every bit of the dough allows for the flavor to permeate throughout the full cake. Hapaway’s from-scratch recipe will amaze your guests, and the accompanying dipping sauce provides a perfectly tart balance to the subtle, savory pancakes. The recipe yields 8 (6-inch) pancakes.

Ingredients:

For the pancakes

  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • Vegetable oil (for cooking)

For the dipping sauce

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sambal Oelek
  • 1 tablespoon water

Directions: For the pancakes – In a medium bowl, mix flour, water, and oil. Knead for a few minutes until smooth and elastic. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rest 30 minutes.

Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion (keep unused portions covered to keep from drying out) into a large rectangle on a floured surface. Brush with sesame oil and scatter chopped scallions evenly over dough. Roll dough into a log, cut into 2 equal parts, and starting at one end, curl into a ball; think snail shell.

Roll each dough ball into disc. At this point, you can cook the pancakes (see next step) or separate pancakes using parchment paper and freeze in a freezer bag. To cook frozen pancakes, simply follow the instructions cooking them right out of the freezer.

Heat a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan) over medium-high heat in a frying pan. Cook pancakes for 2 minutes on each side (be careful not to burn). Cut into triangles and enjoy dipped in the sauce below!

For the dipping sauce – Mix all ingredients in a bowl and start dipping.

Source: iStock

4. Pork Potstickers

If you enjoy noshing on dumplings or potstickers while out at restaurants, then be prepared for one of the best eating experiences you’ve ever had. Making these popular dishes from scratch may require some effort, but it’s entirely worth it! Although you can put just about any kinds of meats or veggies in these bites of goodness, Damn Delicious opts for traditional Pork Potstickers, noting that pork lends a pleasant tenderness to the dish. If you’re feeling up to it, you can even make a massive batch of potstickers and freeze them for future use — when you’re ready to eat them, you can pop them into a skillet without even having to thaw them first! This recipe takes 30 minutes to make and yields 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 3 ounces shiitake mushrooms, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha, or more, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 36 (2-inch) wonton wrappers
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Soy sauce, for serving

Directions: In a large bowl, combine pork, cabbage, mushrooms, garlic, green onions, hoisin, ginger, sesame oil, Sriracha, and white pepper.

To assemble the dumplings, place wrappers on a work surface. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the pork mixture into the center of each wrapper. Using your finger, rub the edges of the wrappers with water. Fold the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape, pinching the edges to seal.

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add potstickers in a single layer and cook until golden and crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve immediately with soy sauce, if desired.

Source: iStock

5. Hoisin-Glazed Chicken Wings

If your guests don’t mind braving some stickiness for the sake of a tantalizing dish, these Hoisin-Glazed Chicken Wings are the way to go for your gathering. Sweet hoisin sauce, maple syrup, soy sauce, and brown sugar perfectly complement the complex spice combination in the glaze, resulting in a sophisticated — and totally easy-to-make — appetizer dish. If you want to give your wings an especially crispy finish, pop them under the broiler for 1t o 2 minutes after they’ve finished baking. Home Sweet Mommy’s recipe takes 70 minutes to make and yields 2 to 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds chicken wings, cut into drumettes and flats
  • Salt and pepper

For the glaze

  • ⅛ cup maple syrup
  • ⅛ cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoons freshly minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • ⅓ cup finely sliced scallions
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. While it’s heating, season the chicken wings with salt and pepper.

In a bowl, mix all of the glaze ingredients and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Pour over the chicken wings and let sit for a couple of minutes in the fridge.

Place the wings and sauce in a glass baking dish. Bake for an hour, turning a couple of times to coat the wings with the sauce. Plate the wings and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and scallions.

Source: iStock

6. Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls

These Vietnamese-inspired Shrimp Spring Rolls from Sea Salt With Food are a humble dish offering the cool, subtle flavors of basil, coriander, and mint on the inside. Grilled shrimp lends the roll a uniquely tasty touch, while peanuts tie the flavors together with a satisfying crunch at the finish. The rolls are best enjoyed with a peanut dipping sauce, which you can purchase at any grocer or Asian market, or prepare yourself using Sea Salt With Food’s recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound medium-size shrimp, peeled
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 2 teaspoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 12 pieces rice paper
  • Asian-style coleslaw
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 1 cup Asian basil
  • ¼ cup fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce
  • 1 ½ cup bean sprouts, blanched
  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts, optional
  • Peanut sauce, for dipping

Directions: Combine the shrimp, lemongrass, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, chili flakes, and oil in a bowl. Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.

Prepare the grill for direct heat. Grill the shrimp until just done, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp and let cool slightly, and cut each shrimp in half, lengthwise.

Make the spring rolls – Filled a shallow pan with water. Briefly dip each sheet of rice paper into the water. Remove and place on a board and dry with a damp cloth. Arrange 3 pieces of shrimp, halved, cut-side up. Place some coleslaw (below the shrimp) bean sprouts, mint leaves, coriander leaves, basil leaves, peanuts, and lettuce. Roll up the rice paper, fold the sides, and roll up tightly, pressing to seal.

Source: iStock

7. Beef and Shiitake Lettuce Wraps

Tender, juicy beef and hearty shiitake mushrooms are brought together in these Beef and Shiitake Lettuce Wraps from the Food Addicts. You’re free to use your choice of lettuce for the wraps; Sierra lends itself to the dish particularly well, as this type of lettuce has a fold or “pocket” that is great for cradling your filling. Whichever lettuce you do choose will offer a lovely and light crisp to the outside of the dish, while the deep, spiced flavors of hoisin, soy sauce, and spices mingle within the wrap. This recipe yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 16 lettuce leaves (preferably Sierra, Boston Bibb, or Butter Lettuce)
  • 1.5 pounds ground beef
  • 2 ounces shiitake mushrooms (about 10 to 15)
  • 3 ounces bean thread noodles, dried
  • ½ cup shallots, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons pickled ginger, chopped
  • 2 Thai chilies, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • For dipping: hoisin sauce, Sriracha sauce

Directions: Clean and rinse lettuce leaves and set aside. Soak shiitake mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes, then drain. Discard woody stems and dice the mushrooms. Set aside.

Prepare bean thread noodles according to package instructions. When fully cooked, roughly chop the noodles so they’re in smaller pieces. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, cornstarch, water, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil. Mix well and set aside. In a large skillet over high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and brown the ground beef. Remove excess fat and liquid.

Combine shallots and garlic and cook about 2 minutes. Add shiitake mushrooms, pickled ginger, green onion, and Thai chilies. Pour in liquid mixture and cook another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and toss in the glass noodles. Spoon meat mixture into lettuce leaves and serve with additional Hoisin sauce and Sriracha sauce.

Source: iStock

8. Sweet and Sour Glazed Fish Bites

These bite-size sweet and sour treats will be a hit at your next party, and they couldn’t be easier to cook up and serve. Just like standard meatballs, these bites involve a mixture of your protein of choice — in this case, fish — with breadcrumbs, milk, egg, and spiced accents. After you’ve fried those up on the stove, coat them in a simple sweet and sour sauce. Insert toothpicks for easy serving, and voila! Your Sweet and Sour Glazed Fish Bites are officially read to serve. The Petite Cook’s recipe takes 20 minutes to make and yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 9 ounces white fish fillet (cod or sea bass), flaked
  • 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 cups ciabatta bread off the crust, cubed
  • Milk, for soaking
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ clove garlic, finely minced
  • All-purpose flour, as needed
  • ⅓ teaspoon orange zest and grated ginger (optional)
  • Garnish: spring onion, chopped; toasted sesame seeds
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

For the sweet and sour sauce

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • Splash of Sriracha
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • ¼ cup cornstarch

DirectionsFor the sweet and sour sauce – Add all ingredients (except water and cornstarch) into a saucepan and bring to a boil. In a small cup, dissolve corn starch into water. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 5 mins, until thickened enough. Set aside when ready.

For the fish bites – Soak the bread cubes into the milk for 5 minutes. Squeeze the bread out of milk and transfer into a large bowl. Add garlic, parsley, flaked fish, egg, bread crumbs, and a pinch of flour. If desired, add some orange zest and grated ginger. Mix until combined and season.

Shape the fish mixture into small balls. Arrange a plate with some flour and evenly coat each fish balls. Heat some oil in a frying pan. When hot, throw the fish balls in and cook them until they get a golden color. Drain on kitchen paper and transfer into a bowl. Pour some sweet and sour sauce and mix until evenly coated. Sprinkle with spring onion and sesame seeds, then serve.

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