Four Easy Dishes That Should Be On Your Holiday Party Menus

The hosts of One World Kitchen stopped by to introduce us to their favourite sharing plates for holiday gatherings with friends and family. Season two of One World Kitchen premiers Monday at 10:30pm on Gusto TV, now on free preview. 

Hana's Temaki Sushi (Hand-rolled Sushi)

  • Sheets of nori (seaweed) cut into roughly 3 ½ – 4 inch squares
  • Sushi rice, cooled (but not chilled) [see recipe below]
  • Gu (fillings) of your choice, such as:
  • Sashimi-quality raw seafood such as tuna, salmon, prawns, scallops, squid
  • Cooked octopus, shrimp, crab meat
  • Crab salad or tuna salad
  • Fish roe, such as ikura (salmon roe) or tobiko
  • Vegetables like julienned cucumber, sliced avocado, shiso (perilla), kaiware (daikon sprouts)
  • Sliced plain omelette
  • Condiments: shoyu (soy sauce), wasabi, Japanese mayonnaise, gari (pickled ginger)
  1. Prepare sushi rice [see below] and set aside, covered in plastic wrap or a moist (but clean) towel.
  2. Prepare the nori by lightly toasting the pieces. Just wave them over a hot element using tongs or long cooking chopsticks and cut the sheets into squares.
  3. Prepare the gu (filling) by cutting into shapes and sizes that will fit into a small hand-rolled cone, and arrange artfully on a platter or in small bowls. Arrange platters strategically around the table, so everyone can reach everything they need to construct a roll.
  4. Put your guests to work. Give everyone individual plates, dipping dishes with soy sauce, and get rolling!
How to hand-roll: 
  1. Put roughly 1 Tbsp of rice on a piece of nori and flatten it out. (Using too much rice is the most common mistake.)
  2. If you enjoy mayonnaise, squirt on a little Japanese mayo on the rice and arrange the fillings diagonally across the square.
  3. Roll into a cone, dip in a little dish of shoyu and wasabi, and eat with your hands! Repeat as desired.

Sushi Rice
  • 2 cups rice
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 5cm dashi kombu (stock kelp) (optional)
  • 6 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Polish the rice. Pour the rice into a pot and fill it halfway with fresh, cold water. “Polish” the rice by kneading it – rubbing the grains against each other and the side of the pot, to remove excess starches. Strain the cloudy water and repeat at least 2-3 more times until the water is almost clear.
  2. Add water & dashi kombu into the pot.
  3. Let it soak. This step is optional, but the texture of your rice will improve with a 30 – 60 minute soak before cooking. If you’re tight on time, though, skip this step.
  4. Cook the rice. Either use your rice-cooker to cook the rice, or bring it to a boil on high heat, with the lid snugly on. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Keep the lid on, and don’t take it off at all during the cooking process. Keeping the lid on, take the pot off the heat completely and let it continue to steam inside the pot for at least another 10 minutes. While the rice is cooking…
  5. Prepare sushi su (sushi vinegar) by mixing vinegar, sugar and salt until sugar and salt have dissolved. Adjust sugar and salt to taste.
  6. Add the vinegar. When the rice has cooked and is still piping hot, turn the rice out onto a flat baking sheet or large platter, and sprinkle with the sushi vinegar.
  7. Cool the rice. Armed with a fan in one hand and a flat spatula or oshamoji (rice paddle) in the other, vigorously fan the rice while gently turning it. Avoid breaking grains: lift and flip – don’t stir and squish! Recruit a friend to fan if you can, as cooling the rice quickly will maintain a firm texture.

Natalia's Empanadas


For the filling
  • 2 medium Spanish onions, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil or sunflower oil
  • 1 pound (450 g) ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (22.5 mL) ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) paprika
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) red chili flakes
  • 6 green onions, green parts only, finely chopped

For the dough
  • 7 ounces (200 g) flour (about 1 2/3 cups/410 mL)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) kosher salt
  • 1.4 ounces (40 g) lard (about 3 tablespoons/45 mL)
  • Filling for savoury meat or fugazzeta empanadas
  • 3 large egg yolks beaten with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) water, for the egg wash
Filling Directions:
  1. Sauté the onion and red pepper in a large skillet in the oil over medium-low heat, until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside.
  2. To the same pan, add a little more oil and sauté the beef over high heat. Once the meat has browned, reduce the heat to low and add the onions and red peppers back to the pan. Continue cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the cumin, paprika, and chili flakes, and mix well. Let the filling rest in the fridge until chilled, ideally for 24 hours for the flavours to meld.
  4. Stir the green onions into the mixture before assembling the empanadas.
Dough Directions:
  1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, and then mix together. Using your hands, rub the lard into the dough until you have a sandy texture. Add enough ice-cold water and to form the slightly stiff dough, using your hands to incorporate. Turn out to a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 5 to 7 minutes, or until smooth, firm, and elastic. (The dough will be very firm.)
  2. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, and shape each piece into a disc, wrapping each disc individually with plastic wrap. Allow to rest for 1 hour on the counter before using. (You can also refrigerate the dough for up to 24 hours, but let it come to room temperature before using.)
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Lightly dust the work surface with flour. Roll out each disc to a 1/8-inch (3 mm) thickness, and cut out circles with a 5 1/2-inch (14 cm) cutter. (Or you can cut out the same-size circle using parchment paper and then trace it with a paring knife.) Reroll the dough as necessary; you should have about 20 circles in the end, making 4 circles with each disc.
  5. Using a 1/4-cup (60 mL) ice cream scoop or measuring cup, mound the filling in the centre of the dough leaving a 1/2-inch (1 cm) border. Lightly moisten the edge of the dough with a little water, and fold over into a half-moon shape and seal the edges together. Finish by making a decorative edging (see below). (The empanadas can be set aside at this point, covered in the refrigerator.)
  6. Place the empanadas on the parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Brush lightly with the egg wash, and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Pailin's Mackerel Lettuce Wrap (Miang Pla Too)

Lettuce wrap components (see video at 7:50 for how the wrap is composed)
  • 2 mackerel fillets
  • A head of green leaf lettuce or romaine lettuce, smaller inner leaves only (so it's easier to wrap)
  • 90 g rice vermicelli (small size), or somen noodles
  • 1 head shallot, thinly sliced and halved lengthwise if long
  • 2-inch knob ginger, peeled and thinly julienned
  • ¼ cup roasted peanuts
Lettuce Wrap Sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 green Thai chilies 
  • 1½ cup cilantro, both stems and leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp palm sugar, finely chopped, packed (or light brown sugar)
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
For the noodles:
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the noodles and boil until tender, about 9 minutes for the small rice noodles, and 2 minutes if using somen noodles (no need to salt the water). Once done, transfer noodles into a bowl of cold water to cool them down and rinse off the starch. 
  2. Pull a small amount of noodles from the water with your fingers, dab off excess water with paper towel, then arrange the noodles on a plate in small bundles.
For the sauce: 
  1. Put all sauce ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. The sauce will be quite loose, but if it looks too runny, you can add a bit more cilantro and an extra clove of garlic to thicken it up.  
For the fish:  
  1. Pan sear the mackerel filet over medium heat in a little bit of oil for about 1.5 minutes per side until fully cooked.
  2. Once it has cooled slightly, remove pin bones that run through the middle of the filet either with a pair of tweezers or your fingers.
  3. Cut into small bite-sized pieces.
Assembly: Serve all ingredients on a nice platter, and each diner can make their own little bite-sized wrap as they eat!

Vanessa's Italian Shrimp Crostini

  • 1 large multigrain bread or baguette, sliced (about 1∕2 an inch thick), and into bite size pieces
  • 1∕4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Shrimp Topping
  • 2 cups deveined, tail off cooked shrimp (U 21-25), or any other shrimp size you can find
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon zest
  • ½ cup green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill (plus extra for garnishing)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1∕2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1∕2 tsp chili flakes or cayenne
Avocado Spread
  • 1 large ripe avocado, mashed
  • 1∕2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup cucumber, thinly sliced
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. On a baking sheet arrange the slices of bread. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake until golden brown or 7-10 minutes.
  2.  In a bowl mix together the shrimp, lemon zest, green onions, dill, parsley, mayonnaise, olive oil, salt, pepper and chili flakes or cayenne.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the avocados and lemon juice
  4. Assemble the crostini by covering the crouton with the avocado spread. Then arrange some sliced cucumbers, and top with the shrimp mixture. Garnish with fresh dill and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve cold.
Italian Prosciutto & Tomato Crostini
  • 1 large baguette, sliced on an angle (about 1∕2 an inch thick), and into bite size pieces
  • 1∕4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1∕4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 container of ricotta (500g)
  • 12 slices of prosciutto
  • 12 basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. On a baking sheet arrange the slices of bread. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake until golden brown or 7-10 minutes.
  • On a baking sheet arrange the cherry tomatoes, sprinkle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper and parsley. Bake in the oven until the tomatoes blister and begin cracking open. Remove from the oven and cool down.
  • Assemble the crostini by covering it with the ricotta. Top with the roasted tomatoes, half a slice of prosciutto and fresh basil. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a fresh crack of pepper.