Happy Thanksgiving

A Very Happy Thanksgiving to my family, friends and all. If you would like to try something new or add a new flair to your meal, try the recipes I have given below. The roast, stuffing, gravy or the dip can take you to new flavor heights for your Thanksgiving meal, with a touch of Malaysian seasoning.

I enjoy adding Malaysian flavors to traditional American holiday meals, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. I did not grow up celebrating North American or Christian holidays, but have enjoyed celebrating them since I moved to North America, especially once I bring a bit of home to the table. And I especially look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving as it is a meal that is shared with family and friends. Since most of my family lives overseas, we usually invite friends for Thanksgiving each year. One year, I seasoned the turkey with an aromatic Malaysian paste of spices, lemongrass, and soy sauce, and added sautéed chopped cilantro, shallots and jalapeno to the stuffing. Instead of the usual heavier gravy, I prepared a lighter sauce for the roast and a spicy ginger and toasted sesame oil scented dip.

Below is a recipe from chapter 12 (Fusion Malaysian) of my cookbook, Flavors of Malaysia. Enjoy!

 Lemongrass ‘N’ Spice Scented Roast Chicken

 Makes 4 to 5 servings

 On Thanksgiving Day, like everyone else in the U.S., we have roast turkey or chicken with stuffing, sweet potatoes and, vegetables. But what is different, is, I season the roast and stuffing with Malaysian seasonings, and prepare a peppered gravy (or sauce) or sometimes a light dipping sauce for the roast. My family looks forward to this special meal every year. Sometimes I serve the roast with ghee rice, fried rice, or a vegetable biryani. My daughter, Geeta, grew up with these varied flavors for Thanksgiving meal, and which she enjoys to this day.

 Here, I am giving you a recipe for one of the roasts I prepared recently, flavored with lemongrass and spices, a stuffing recipe, followed by recipes for its accompaniments.


  • 1 4-pound whole chicken
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons plus ¼ to ½ cup cooking oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 1½ tablespoons regular soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine or vinegar, cider vinegar, or distilled white vinegar

Spice Blend 1

  • 2 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick

Spice Paste

  • ¼ cup diced shallots or onions
  • 1 heaping tablespoon sliced garlic cloves
  • 1 heaping tablespoon sliced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons sliced lemongrass stalk (¼-inch to ½-inch pieces)
  • 1 fresh red chile (Fresno, cayenne, jalapeno, Serrano, Thai, or cherry), sliced (deseeded if less heat is desired) or use a mild sweet red chile if no heat is desired
  • ¼ cup water

Spice Blend 2

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Optional: ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon chile powder (if not using fresh red chile)


1. Clean chicken and cavity and pat dry. Place Spice Blend 1 ingredients in cavity and close. Set aside.

2. Process Spice Paste ingredients to a smooth paste. Combine Spice Blend 2 ingredients. Set aside.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a small wok or skillet and sauté Spice Paste for 5 to 6 minutes, till sauce becomes fragrant, adding 1 or 2 tablespoons oil or more as needed. Add Spice Blend 2 and sauté another 2 minutes, till fragrant. Remove from heat, and allow to cool.

4. Once cool, combine this cooked sauce with the honey, salt, soy sauce, and rice wine or vinegar. Rub chicken with 2 tablespoons of this marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, preferably 3 to 4 hours or overnight.

5. Add ¼ to ½ cup oil to remaining marinade, blend well and set aside to use to baste chicken.

6. Heat oven to 350ºF. Place chicken on rack in a roasting pan, add about 1 inch of water to pan. Roast for about 90 minutes, basting with the basting sauce every 15 minutes, till it becomes golden brown (adding additional water to pan if it evaporates).* Then cover chicken with aluminum foil and roast for about 30 more minutes, till chicken is done, basting with sauce after 15 minutes. (You can increase oven temperature to 400ºF to shorten cooking time and roast for about 45 minutes). Reserve the remaining basting sauce to make sauce for chicken.

*Note: While chicken is in oven, prepare the stuffing, sauce (gravy) and dipping sauce. Serve with the stuffing and sauces along with fried rice, ghee rice, tomato rice, or vegetable biryani; and sweet potatoes, cucumber pineapple acar, stir-fried mixed vegetables, and/or a green salad.

 Stuffing for Roast Chicken


  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • ¼ cup chopped shallots or onions
  • 1 to 2 heaping teaspoons chopped fresh green chilies (jalapeno, Serrano, cayenne, or Thai)
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder (to add color)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted or salted butter
  • 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon salt (if unsalted butter is used)
  • 1 (6-ounce) box stove-top stuffing mix
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • Optional: ¼ cup diced chorizo or other spicy sausage, chopped and sautéed for 3 to 4 minutes


1. Heat oil in a small skillet or wok and sauté shallots or onions for about 1 minute; add turmeric and chilies and sauté another ½ minute. Set aside.

2. Bring about 2 cups water and butter to a boil in a saucepan. Add stuffing mix, sautéed shallot or onion mixture, coriander leaves, and chorizo, if using. Stir, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes, then uncover and fluff with fork.

 Serve with roast chicken.

 Sauce (gravy) for Roast Chicken

Makes about 1 cup


  • Reserved basting sauce from roast chicken
  • ½ cup chopped shallots or red onions


1. Skim off as much oil as possible from the top of the reserved basting sauce.

2. Add a little oil to a small saucepan. Add the shallots or onions and sauté for about 1 minute. Add reserved basting sauce and ¾ to 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, till sauce gets slightly thick (or thicken with corn, rice, or tapioca starch). Skim off any oil or fat before using.

Serve with roast chicken

 Dipping Sauce for Roast Chicken

Makes about ½ cup


  • 1 fresh red or green chile (Fresno, jalapeno, Serrano, cayenne, Thai, or cherry), finely chopped or
  • pounded
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped or crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped or crushed fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed or bottled lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons regular soy sauce


Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and mix well. Let sit for about 30 minutes before using.

Serve with roast chicken.


Categories: Malaysia, North America, Tastes, Traditions


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3 Comments on “Happy Thanksgiving”

  1. maria mercedes bejarano
    November 23, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    .. amazing recipe ¡¡ too bad I am 1800 miles away ¡¡

    lHappy Thanks giving

  2. November 28, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    I can attest that the stuffing is extremely delicious. Missed it this year for Thanksgiving unfortunately

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