HOME      KATE'S GLOBAL KITCHEN       SEARCH      COOKBOOK PROFILES    I LOVE DESSERTS      GLOBAL DESTINATIONS     SHOPPING     CONTACT


 

Kate's Global Kitchen

 

Entertaining Asian-Style
Five Tips for Overcoming Dinner-Partyphobia

by Martin Yan

 

Duck Soup There are all kinds of books that will tell you how to have a novel kind of dinner party by creating a classic Chinese banquet-style meal. They'll give you tips on how to plan one dish per person plus rice. How to balance meat, poultry, vegetables, and seafood. How to balance hot and cold, sweet and savory. Even how to make your own fortune cookies. Now, as a Chinese chef, I love these books. I've even written some of them! But that's not what we're talking about here.

Reality check: When was the last time you planned a formal banquet-Chinese or otherwise-at your house? If your answer is "last Saturday," congratulations. You are a devoted culinary artist and a master entertainer. But if you re like most people I know, even the thought of planning a potluck with one other family makes your heart start beating irregularly.

There's the shopping, the cleaning, the cooking. And what if the food turns out badly? Or people just sit here staring at their plates, with only the occasional clink of a knife and fork to break the awkward silence?

Well, as far as the cleaning part is concerned, you're going to need to get over that one yourself. But I can offer a few suggestions about how to make entertaining a little easier and a lot more fun-especially if you're planning an Asian meal.

 
  • Remember, you are not a restaurant.
    In Asia, kitchens are usually tiny. They're really only set up to feed a single family. People often use restaurants to entertain guests, and when they do entertain at home, they have no choice but to keep things fairly simple. Good idea. Restaurant meals are wonderful, but that doesn't mean you need to apply those standards to your cooking! Take it from someone who has cooked in restaurants: What your friends want when they come over to your place is a relaxed, home-style meal.
  • Plan ahead to avoid traffic jams.
    Planning a meal is all about figuring out what foods will taste good together and make up a satisfying whole. But if you want to have any fun at your own party, it's equally important to think about traffic flow in the kitchen. Can the soup and the clay-pot dish be made ahead? Can you make the rice in the rice cooker to free up a burner? Can you really make two stir-fries in quick succession? What about an "interactive" dish, like Mongolian Hot Pot that gives you a breather while the guests cook their own food?
  • Put the guests to work.
    There's no better icebreaker, and besides, your load is instantly lightened. In our house, we almost always leave a few things for the guests to do. The adventurous ones get to roll out flatbread, chop veggies, or fill dumplings. The more timid ones stir the soup. One beer later, they've usually switched places!
  • Set yourself up for success.
    I've gotten spoiled by my show. Those hardworking people in the back kitchen set out all the ingredients for each dish on a separate tray, all nicely measured and ready to go. I recommend this technique for home entertaining, too, particularly if you're preparing an Asian menu. With a kitchen full of guests, you've got enough on your mind without having to search for that box of cornstarch you could swear you bought last year.
  • Cheat.
    Yes, cheat. You are a busy person. It really is okay to round out a meal with some delicious frozen potstickers or to use a high-quality store-bought sauce here and there. You have my permission. One tip, though: It's best to confess up front before anyone finds out!
 

Entertaining can be a lot of work, it's true. But it's also an act of true generosity that makes you and the people you care about feel good. Just remember: Stay loose, keep things casual, and do what all great entertainers do-keep smiling.

from: Martin Yan's Feast:
The Best of Yan Can Cook

By Martin Yan
Bay Books, San Francisco
Hardback, $34.95
400 pages, 75 color photos
Publication date: October 1998
ISBN 0-912333-31-6
Recipe reprinted by permission.

 

Martin Yan's Feast

Recipes

 


 

This page created February 1999

Top


The Global Gourmet
The Global Gourmet®
Main Page

 

Chinese New Year
Celebrate Chinese &
Lunar New Year

   Clip to Evernote

Bookmark and Share

 

Twitter: @KateHeyhoe

 
Search this site:

Advanced Search
Recent Searches


Departments

Kate's Global Kitchen
Kate's Books
Cookbook Profiles
Global Destinations
Holiday & Party Recipes
I Love Desserts
On Wine
Shopping

Caffeine and You Caffeine and You
cooking kids Cooking with Kids
new green basics New Green Basics

Archives
Conversions, Charts
   & Substitutions
Search

About the
Global Gourmet®
   Contact Info
   Advertising
   Feedback
   Privacy Statement

Recent Cookbooks

Cooking Italian
175 Home Recipes
4-Hour Chef
Bakery Cookbook
Barefoot Contessa
Bouchon Bakery
Burma: Rivers of Flavor
Cake Mix Doctor
Comfort Food
Craft of Coffee
Crazy Sexy Kitchen
Daily Cookie
Fifty Shades Chicken
French Slow Cooker
Frontera - Rick Bayless
Gluten-Free Quick & Easy
Jerusalem: A Cookbook
Kitchen Science
Lidia's Favorite Recipes
Make-Ahead and Freeze
Modern Milkshakes
Modernist Cuisine
Mystic Cookbook
Paleo Slow Cooking
Picky Palate
Pop Bakery
Practical Paleo
Quick Family Cookbook
Saltie
Sensational Cookies
Smitten Kitchen
Southern Living Recipes
Sweet Life in Paris
Trader Joe's Vegetarian
True Food
Whole Larder

More Cookbooks

 

Kitchen & Home
Markdowns

 
.

Copyright © 1994-2013,
Forkmedia LLC

 

 


cat toys Catnip Toys
 

Kitchen & Home
Markdowns

 
.