Get your decorations up and put out the welcome mat, because holiday entertaining season is in full swing. This year the focus is on simple, elegant food that enhances time spent with family and friends. Whether you’re throwing the party or bringing a dish for a potluck, find a few crowd-pleasing recipes, use the very best ingredients, and help set the perfect stage for a great get-together of any size. Check out our recipe ideas below and feel the warmth you get when you see family and friends enjoy the meals you’ve prepared with love and remember good food is a gift in and of themselves.
Whether hot or cold, spicy or savory, it’s the so-good-no-one-can-stop-at-just-one appetizers that partygoers remember long after the evening ends. Sriracha Deviled Eggs are always a hit at a buffet or as a “passed” horsd'oeuvre. Slow Cooker Teriyaki Meatballs are another scrumptious – and easy – addition to any party spread. This particular recipe features an amazing sauce and utilizes frozen meatballs enabling you to add your personal touch by using your favorite beef, chicken, or plant-based version.
For those times when hors d’oeuvres might be just a little too light, but you’re not putting together a sit-down dinner, consider something more substantial than appetizers. Tasty Nubbins are perfect for keeping guests going between meals. Grilled Miso Lamb Cutlets will have everyone feeling deliciously spoiled. Mini versions of the delicious Asian Inspired Beyond Burger® are great for vegetarians and omnivores alike. For a treat, small slices of umami-rich Chocolate Cake or Brown Sugar and Orange Skillet Cake will further sweeten the mood.
Holiday meals can be the ultimate dinner parties, so have some fun with menu planning! While some meals might lean in on honoring family traditions, others give you more freedom to set the menu and create traditions of your own. A wonderfully hearty combination for the winter holidays is Teriyaki Salmon and Mushroom Risotto. That same risotto also pairs extremely well with Tonkotsu Marinated Steak. For some lighter courses to balance things out, why not begin the meal with Simple Tofu Miso Soup?
Japan has a wonderful range of memorable wintertime recipes perfectly suited for those small gatherings of close friends and family at home. Oden, a warm and comforting Japanese fish cake stew, is perfect for the colder months and can be made in any quantity. While the stew is simmering, you can add your fish cakes of choice and a range of other tasty items like deep-fried tofu, hard-boiled eggs, mochi-filled tofu pockets cooked in a shoyu broth, daikon radishes, potatoes… the list goes on. Just pick up a pack of fish cakes and fish balls (“nerimono”) at your local Japanese market or Asian grocery store. You might even find oden sets, with a range of types of oden to choose from that are ready to simply add to your broth. To simplify your oden making, you can use delicious Yamasa Ramen Broth. We recommend Shoyu or Miso. Whatever your favorite ingredients, oden is a wonderful way to begin anew family tradition everyone is sure to love.
The well-executed cocktail is an important part of any holiday gathering. Let your creative side shine by adding a splash of shoyu to your eggnog to bring a subtle umami depth to the sweet, creamy beverage. That same splash of shoyu added to a Asian Bloody Mary can makes your holiday brunch something really spectacular. To bring down the alcohol content and bring up the Japanese influence, try using sake instead of vodka. Yum.
With tins of cookies and trays of fudge abounding this season, plus showstopping desserts at the end of every meal, sweets are undeniably an important part of the month’s festivities. This year you can stand out by serving something seemingly subtle but absolutely spectacular. Savory Apple Pie is an unexpected take on the perennial crowd pleaser. The secret is a touch of Yamasa Reduced Sodium Shoyu in the Apple Pie Filling. The nuanced umami of the shoyu brings out all the flavors in the apples, for a divine dessert experience, and one for which people will be sure to be asking “what’s your secret?!!”
If you are planning to go ice skating, caroling, or any such enjoyable outdoor activities, try serving yakiimo, Japan’s traditional winter snack. Yakiimo are delicious baked Japanese sweet potatoes. Yakiimo trucks are the customary place in Japan to buy this naturally sweet treat. Since it’s unlikely you’ll find one of these roaming your neighborhood, surprise your crowd with a homemade batch. Look for Murasaki sweet potatoes, which have a magenta skin and white starchy inside that turns gold as it cooks. Wrap them in foil and cook them low and slow, at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for about one hour and 40 minutes. Top with butter and serve while warm!
Be ready for any holiday get together with a well-stocked kitchen. With fresh ingredients, beverages and Yamasa shoyu and sauces on hand, any December gathering can turn into a party.