With game day just around the corner, I'm guessing I'm not the only one looking for snacks that don't require utensils. Whether you're cheering for the Ravens or digging the 49'ers, here are some savory Asian snacks to spice up your Super Bowl Sunday.
1. Spicy Chicken Lettuce Cups
Let's face-it, Super Bowl Sunday is not a time to be on a diet. Can you really picture a bunch of Southie's in a pub cheering on the Patriots while snacking on kale chips?... That's why a lot of the stuff on this list is going to be fried, but I figured I'd kick things off with something that could almost be considered a salad. These Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps not only look fantastic topped with tangy pickled onions and cilantro, they taste even better! If you're looking for my original version, click here.
2. Tebesaki Wings
As much as I love Buffalo Wings, I think I may love these Japanese-style wings even more. A double fry gets the skin on the wings crackling crisp, and the sweet, spicy sauce seamlessly soaks into the chicken without rendering them soggy. It's a little magical and utterly irresistible. You could also check out my Korean Fried Chicken and Teriyaki Wings recipes; maybe you'll go wing-obsessed and make all three!
3. Coconut Shrimp
These could very well be my favorite finger food, ever! Something about the juicy shrimp encrusted in threads of impossibly crisp coconut, with a sweet citrusy dipping sauce makes these things irresistible. Honestly, the biggest worry you'll have if you serve these is whether you're going to have a brawl on your hands when there's only one left. You'd better have a batch of my Crispy Shrimp Toasts ready just in case you need a peace offering.
4. California Roll
I know... sushi at a Super Bowl party is not the norm, but these pop-able bites filled with avocado and crab are not only a crowd-pleaser, you can make them ahead. That leaves you with plenty of time to get your frying done pre-game so you don't miss a play. And just in case "California" is a trigger word for some of your guests, I have a fantastic Spicy Tuna Roll you could make instead.
5. Orange Chicken Meatballs
This is what you get when you mashup a Chinese-American favorite with an Italian classic. Tasty, easy to make, and they keep well in a crockpot. Yes, you could just make my Orange Chicken, but meatballs are a mainstay of party fare, and they work better for buffets because they remain juicy even when heated for a long time. They're also delicious at room temperature. All you need to do is make your favorite chicken meatball recipe and once you have the meatballs shaped, just follow the directions on my orange chicken recipe to coat them with starch, fry them, and then glaze them in my glossy triple orange sauce.
6. Shrimp Toast
This dim sum favorite is easy to prepare and makes for a novel and delicious addition to your Super Bowl menu. With minced shrimp that's spread on a triangle of sandwich bread, which is then fried, the toasts crisp up to a golden brown while soaking up all the savory juices from the shrimp. The picture is from an older version; I've updated this recipe with a video and even more irresistible flavor and crunch.
7. Panko Chicken Tenders
Who doesn't love a chicken tender? My panko-breaded version is not only ridiculously crispy thanks to Japanese breadcrumbs, the juicy meat inside is delicious thanks to a marinade. They're so tasty they don't even need a dipping sauce, but if you must, go right ahead!
8. Gyoza (Japanese Potstickers)
It's hard to go wrong with pot stickers or Japanese gyoza, and if you're hosting some vegetarians I've got a vegan version of these that are almost as good. My trick to making a ton of these for a party is to deep fry them. The wrappers come out golden brown and crisp, and it's a lot easier than pan-frying them, one skillet at a time. I also have a classic Shiso Gyoza recipe and three Gyoza Dipping Sauces that will really up your pot sticker game.
9. Crispy Tofu Bites
These crispy glazed tofu bites are so irresistible, even your non-vegan guests will be gobbling them up. They have the perfect crispy and chewy texture that makes them crave-able, and the glaze, redolent of black pepper, garlic, and ginger, lights up your palate. They're the perfect companion for a beer and a game.
10. Spring Rolls
Last, but not least, you can't have an Asian finger food roundup without some spring rolls. The Japanese version of spring rolls are called Harumaki. They're very similar to spring rolls, but with some delicious, juicy differences. Besides, Harumaki is fun to say!
My classic spring rolls are loaded with pork, vegetables, mushrooms and glass noodles. Because you get a ton of flavor from all the veggies and mushrooms, you could easily make these vegetarian by swapping the meat for this vegetarian meat.
In addition to these ideas, I have a whole Party category with lots of enticing recipes, so if you don't find everything you're looking for here, be sure to check it out.