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Labor Day barbecue with an Asian twist

Chinese Chicken Burgers give your barbecue an interesting twist
Chinese Chicken Burgers give your barbecue an interesting twist
Sue Gordon

One way of jazzing up your Labor Day barbecue is to give it a theme. The possibilities are endless. I keep coming back to these wondrous Chinese Chicken Burgers by contest winner Brigitte Nguyen, who demonstrated their deliciousness with Paula Deen a couple of years ago. They can be a fabulous starting point for an entire menu of Asian inspired dishes.

Start off with MaiTai’s and Kirin or Tsingtao beer. Offer crudités with this wonderful scallion and ginger scented Oriental Dip and you’re off and running.

Serve the Chinese Chicken Burgers with the slaw that’s part of the recipe. If you want to skip the topping made from mayo and Sriracha, try sweet and spicy, sticky Tamarind Sauce. (Samosas are served with a watered-down version, but try it thick and unadulterated on top of your burger.) So good!

When friends ask what they can bring, ramen salad would be a perfect addition. It’s not my favorite, but many people love it.

If you’re feeding a lot of people, add a grilled flank steak to the menu. Before grilling, marinate it in hoisin sauce, a few teaspoons of soy sauce, finely chopped ginger and garlic and lots of chopped scallions.

A super side salad that would fit in beautifully is from Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook. I know you know it!
Sri Wasano's Infamous Indonesian Rice Salad

One more vegetable dish would never be out of place - Stir Fried Vegetables. Get ready 1 huge sliced red onion, 1 sliced red pepper, 1 sliced yellow onion and 2 big handfuls of snow peas. In the biggest sauté pan you have - or wok, or paella-shaped pan - add a tablespoon of oil (any oil, even olive). Heat it until it starts to ripple and add the onions, stirring all the time. Turn down heat to medium/medium low and cook for at least 3 to 4 minutes. When the vegetables start to soften, add the other vegetable slices. Turn heat up to high. Cook, stirring, until golden (or where you want them). Just before turning off the hear, add 3 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds (these days, I do that in a toaster over) and 2 teaspoons of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Stir a few times. Serve right from the wok or sauté pan.

Make dessert easy and fun. Grill pineapple slices and halved peaches after brushing them with a little honey. Serve over soft ice cream or frozen yogurt. Top with extra toasted sesame seeds.

Labor Day Menu

MaiTai’s with crudités and Oriental Dip

Chinese Chicken Burgers with Rainbow Sesame Slaw
Hoisin Marinated Flank Steak
Sri Wasano's Infamous Indonesian Rice Salad
Ramen Salad (if a guest offers to make it)
Stir Fried Red Onions, Peppers and Snow Peas

Grilled Pineapple and Peaches over Soft Vanilla Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt