Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

The classic Thanksgiving feast occupies a special place in America’s heart, complete with nostalgic aromas and the company of loved ones. It’s safe to say the traditional dinner can generally satisfy most, whether you find comfort in warm spoonfuls of mashed potatoes or tender slices of turkey. The all-American Thanksgiving dinner typically features sticky pumpkin pies, syrupy cranberry sauce and more dishes fulfilling that desire for decadence. As we annually and anxiously wait for Thanksgiving to finally peek through the nipping winds of November, my family routinely diverges from the classic feast and instead reinvents the foods by introducing Asian influences. Here are four dishes to inspire your next alternative Thanksgiving.

While the typical American can expect a piping hot turkey to fill their stomach, I can expect the plucky meats of a roasted duck. Roasted duck, although not entirely foreign to American taste buds, still remains an unconventional main dish for the national holiday. Some characteristics the turkey and duck share include a thin, mahogany skin that slips right off the meat when prepared well. However, roasted duck only lives up to its potential when the skin drips succulent grease, leaving a layer of oily residue on the diner’s lips. A roasted duck makes a fitting alternative to those with smaller families and seeking a denser, gamier taste. Stuff with slivers of leek for a more complex dish.

Our Asian-fused dinner also includes a thick, spiced curry soup to warm the body. My family’s recipe consists of a medley of starchy and green vegetables such as potatoes and green beans steeped in a deep orange broth. With a splash of coconut milk for that extra creaminess, the florid concoction complements autumn colors. The rich curry soup adds a subtle, spicy twist to the savory flavors of Thanksgiving without setting your taste buds on fire.

Mashed potatoes drizzled with gravy have been a staple part of the all-American Thanksgiving feast, but my family replaces the starchy dish with a platter of stir-fried rice. Sprinkled with Chinese sausage, diced green onion and beads of corn, the platter satiates both sweet and savory needs. The stir-fried rice option is a light and healthy remix for Thanksgiving dinner, complementing the heavy textures of roasted duck and spiced curry.

A feast wouldn’t be a feast without the impending guilt experienced after a food binge, and that’s exactly what deep fried wonton skins are for. The dish simply requires a hot pot of simmering oil and raw wonton skins to drop in. Fried to a golden brown, the skins crackle and melt in between bites. These crispy chips make great conversation snacks after a big dinner. They’re addicting and airy enough to indulge in without regrets.

This story originally appeared on page 13 of November 20, 2014’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.