If Xmas day dinner seems a little dull and predictable, why not bring some gifts from the East to your table?

Christmas dinner traditions die harder than Bruce Willis. This year, incorporate the rich and diverse flavours of Asia. From five-spice turkey to miso gravy, break out of the traditional festive mould and explore a world of culinary possibilities.

If you fancy something a little different this year, the experts from world food recipe kit company Cookaway share some Asian-inspired recipes to give your Christmas dinner a fresh twist.

Five spice turkey

The turkey is the star of the show at your Christmas dinner table, so why not show off your culinary skills by adding a Chinese twist using five-spice? This spice blend includes plenty of flavours popular during the festive season, including star anise, cinnamon, and cloves, as well as fennel seeds and Sichuan peppercorns, so it’ll make the perfect option for your Christmas dinner. With the addition of a delicious soy, honey, and orange glaze, this turkey recipe will feel like a real treat.

To make your Chinese five-spice turkey, you’ll need:

·         1 turkey (thawed if frozen)

·         2 tbsp vegetable oil

For the five-spice rub:

·         2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

·         2 tsp garlic powder

·         1 tsp onion powder

·         1 tsp dried thyme

·         1 tsp salt

·         1/2 tsp black pepper

For the glaze:

·         120ml honey

·         60ml soy sauce

·         2 tbsp orange juice

·         1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

·         1 tbsp minced garlic


1.       The day before you plan to cook your turkey, prepare the bird as usual and mix together the spices. Rub the spice mix evenly over the surface of the turkey (including under the skin) and let it sit overnight.

2.       On Christmas morning, preheat your oven to 180°C and calculate your cooking time, allowing 20 minutes per pound for an unstuffed turkey. A 5–6 kg turkey will take around 3–3.5 hours.

3.       Drizzle the turkey with a little vegetable oil and roast it in the preheated oven.

4.       While the turkey is roasting, you can make the glaze. In a small saucepan, combine the honey, soy sauce, orange juice, ginger, and minced garlic. Heat over low heat until well combined. Set aside.

5.       Baste the turkey every 30 minutes with the glaze. This will give the turkey a beautiful, glossy finish and add flavour.

6.       After your calculated cooking time has passed, check whether the turkey is done. A turkey is fully cooked when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 75°C. Make sure not to touch the bone with the thermometer.

7.       Once the turkey is done, remove it from the oven and cover it with foil. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to be reabsorbed and ensures a moist and tender turkey.

8.       Carve the turkey and serve it with your favourite Christmas side dishes.

Sticky hoisin ham

If you like to serve up a Christmas ham alongside your usual turkey feast, this hoisin ham will make the perfect accompaniment to the rest of your Christmas dinner. Sticky, sweet, salty, and delicious, this ham will be your new go-to for the festive season.

To make your sticky hoisin ham, you’ll need:

·         1 boneless unsmoked gammon joint

·         240ml hoisin sauce

·         120g brown sugar

·         60ml honey

·         60ml rice wine vinegar

·         2 cloves garlic, minced

·         1 tsp freshly grated ginger

·         1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

·         1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust for desired spiciness)


1.       Preheat your oven to 200°C.

2.       Place the ham in a large roasting pan, preferably with a rack underneath to keep it slightly elevated. Score the ham by cutting 1/3 of an inch through the fat to form diamond shapes.

3.       In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the hoisin sauce, brown sugar, honey, rice wine vinegar, minced garlic, grated ginger, Chinese five-spice, and red pepper flakes.

4.       Stir the mixture and bring it to a simmer. Allow it to simmer for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens slightly.

5.       Using a pastry brush or a spoon, generously coat the ham with the sticky hoisin glaze, ensuring it’s evenly covered.

6.       Calculate the total cooking time your ham will need, allowing for 20 minutes per pound.

7.       Place the glazed ham in the preheated oven and roast for about 30–40 minutes. Baste the ham with additional glaze every 10–15 minutes during the roasting process. This will help create a sticky, caramelised surface. If the glaze starts to get too dark before the ham has cooked through, cover it with foil.

8.       Once the ham is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes.

9.       Slice the ham and serve it with the remaining hoisin glaze as a sauce on the side.

Asian inspired vegetables

It wouldn’t be a Christmas dinner without the vegetable accompaniments, and you can add a delicious Asian-inspired twist to these too. Here are just some options you can try:

Miso glazed sprouts
Toss your Brussels sprouts in two tablespoons each of white or red miso paste, soy sauce, honey, and sesame oil. Roast in the oven until tender and slightly caramelised. Add sesame seeds or chopped nuts to garnish.

Ginger glazed carrots
Sauté sliced carrots with two tablespoons of grated fresh ginger and a knob of butter in a pan. Make a glaze from two tablespoons each of brown sugar and soy sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds for extra crunch and flavour.

Soy glazed green beans with almonds
Quickly blanch your green beans, then sauté them with two cloves of crushed garlic and two tablespoons of soy sauce. Top with a sprinkling of toasted almonds for added texture. For extra zing, finish with a touch of orange zest.

Miso gravy

If you’re looking for a sauce to pair with your Asian-inspired dishes, this miso gravy makes the perfect finishing touch. With a rich umami flavour, it works perfectly with turkey as well as sweet root vegetables. Better yet, it’s also entirely vegetarian! Just be sure to check that your miso paste doesn’t contain any animal-derived ingredients.

To make your miso gravy, you’ll need:

·         2 tbsp white or yellow miso paste

·         30g unsalted butter (or plant-based butter to make it vegan)

·         30g plain flour

·         480ml vegetable stock

·         1 tbsp soy sauce

·         1/2 tsp black pepper (adjust to taste)

·         1/2 tsp garlic powder (adjust to taste)

·         1/2 tsp onion powder (adjust to taste)

·         Optional: 1–2 tsp of sake or dry white wine for added depth (adjust to taste)


1.       Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

2.       Add the flour to the melted butter, stirring continuously to form a smooth roux. Cook the roux for two–three minutes until it turns a light golden brown, which will eliminate the raw flour taste.

3.       In a separate bowl, whisk together the miso paste and a small amount of the broth until the miso dissolves and forms a smooth paste. This will help prevent lumps in your gravy.

4.       Pour the miso mixture into the saucepan with the roux, stirring continuously. Gradually add the remaining broth while continuing to whisk to avoid lumps.

5.       Stir in the soy sauce, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. If you want to add sake or white wine for additional depth of flavour, do so at this point. Adjust the seasonings to your taste.

6.       Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and allow it to simmer for about 5–10 minutes, or until the gravy thickens to your desired consistency. Remember that it will continue to thicken slightly as it cools.

Once the gravy has reached your desired consistency and flavour, remove it from the heat and serve.

About Cookaway:

The team at Cookaway have a real love for food and want to share this passion with their customers. Their mission is to make it easy for people to try new dishes from authentic world cuisines in the comfort of their own homes. Unlike other recipe boxes, no subscription is required to enjoy Cookaway’s meals, which have been meticulously crafted by their team of expert chefs. Each ingredient is chosen with thought and care to help you create delicious dishes at home, with superior flavour in each bite. For more information, please visit https://www.thecookaway.com/