If you live in America, you know that Thanksgiving is the greatest food holiday for Americans. Of course, if you are Chinese, you get a second chance with Chinese New Years. Since I am both Chinese and American, I celebrate both.
Ever since I ate the Chicken Stuffed with Preserved Mustard Greens (moi choy gai) at The Hakka Restaurant in San Francisco, I always thought it would make a great Thanksgiving alternative to traditional turkey. The chicken is stuffed with a savory blend of preserved mustard greens (moi choy), pork, and mushrooms, then braised in broth. After cooking the chicken, the broth is reduced and thickened to make a luscious gravy. If you are lucky to live nearby, you can order the chicken from the restaurant. Otherwise, with a little effort, you can make it. Another alternative to a centerpiece bird would be salt-baked chicken.
If you want to celebrate Thanksgiving with a Chinese feast, consider this menu culled from recipes from The Hakka Cookbook. It is just right for a group of six adventurous diners. For a cooperative effort, ask some guests to bring the appetizer and makings for the side dishes. They can quickly finish them off in your kitchen.
- Shrimp and Chive Fritters (p. 212) or Salt-Baked Shrimp (p. 62), optional
- Braised Chicken Stuffed with Preserved Mustard Greens (p. 233) or Salt-Baked Chicken (p. 64)
- Ginger-Scented Squash, Peas, and Lily Bulbs (p. 52)
- Fresh Bamboo Shoots and Mushrooms (p. 159) and/or Chinese Broccoli in Sweet Rice Wine (p. 230)
- Fragrant Rice (p. 59) or Steamed Rice Bowls (p. 270)
- Ginger Soup with Sweet Rice Balls (p. 117) or Tangerines, Fuyu Persimmons, and Crystallized Ginger Slices