Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Life & Culture
  2. /
  3. Food

Recipes from a multicultural Thanksgiving spread

Immigrant families share the dishes on their table. Here are the recipes.

From Colombian arepas to a Russian roasted duck, Lebanese meat pies and Filipino lechon, the dishes in this story about immigrant families celebrating Thanksgiving represent a little piece of their heritage while celebrating their current home. Here are some of those dishes.


Pad Thai

Kosher salt

8 ounces wide rice noodles

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 bell pepper, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 eggs, lightly whisked

2 green onions, thinly sliced

¼ cup roasted peanuts, chopped

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook noodles until al dente. Drain.

In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

In a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add bell pepper and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cook until pink, about 2 minutes per side.

Push the shrimp and vegetables to one side of the pan and pour in the egg. Scramble until just set, then mix with the shrimp mixture. Add the cooked noodles and toss until combined. Pour in the lime juice mixture and toss until the noodles are coated.

Garnish with green onions and roasted peanuts before serving.



Baba Ghanoush

3 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

⅛ teaspoon finely grated garlic

1 tablespoon tahini (sesame seed paste)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

⅛ teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Arrange a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Place eggplants on a rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, turning eggplants every 15 minutes, until flesh is completely tender, about 1 hour. Let cool.

Set a colander over a bowl. Scoop out flesh and place in colander; discarding skins. Let flesh drain, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Transfer eggplants to a medium bowl and mash with a fork. Stir in oil, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, paprika, cumin and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Source: Bon Appétit



2 cups arepa flour (precooked cornmeal, not to be confused with masa harina; sometimes sold as masarepa or harina precocida, it can be found in Latin markets)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Desired fillings (such as shredded cooked chicken or pork, black beans, fresh herbs)

Lime wedges, for serving

Combine arepa flour and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center and add 2 ½ cups warm water. Using a wooden spoon, gradually incorporate dry ingredients, stirring until no dry lumps remain. Let rest 5 minutes to hydrate.

Knead dough a few times in bowl, then divide into 8 pieces. Roll each piece on work surface into a ball, then gently flatten to about ½ inch thick.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add four arepas, cover and cook until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Uncover, flip and cook (keep uncovered) until other side is golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer arepas to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and dough.

Split arepas and stuff with desired fillings. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.

Source: Bon Appétit


Roasted Duck

1 (5- to 6-pound) Long Island duck (also known as Pekin)

2 cups boiling water

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425 degrees.

If necessary, cut off wing tips with poultry shears or a sharp knife. Remove and discard excess fat from body cavity and neck, then rinse duck inside and out. Prick skin all over with a sharp fork. Fold neck skin under body, then put duck, breast side up, on a rack in a 13- by 9- by 3-inch roasting pan and pour boiling-hot water over duck (to tighten skin). Cool duck, then pour out any water from cavity into pan. Pat duck dry inside and out, reserving water in pan, then rub duck inside and out with kosher salt and pepper.

Roast duck, breast side up, 45 minutes, then remove from oven. Turn duck over using 2 wooden spoons and roast 45 minutes more. Turn duck over again (breast side up), tilting duck to drain any liquid from cavity into pan. Continue to roast duck until skin is brown and crisp, about 45 minutes more (total roasting time: about 2 ¼ hours). Tilt duck to drain any more liquid from cavity into pan. Transfer duck to a cutting board and let stand 15 minutes before carving. Discard liquid in roasting pan.

Source: Epicurious

The Philippines


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 pound ground pork

2 cloves garlic, crushed

½ cup chopped onion

½ cup minced carrots

½ cup chopped green onions

½ cup thinly sliced green cabbage

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon soy sauce

30 lumpia wrappers (you can also use egg roll wrappers; check an Asian grocery store for both)

2 cups vegetable oil for frying

Place a wok or large skillet over high heat and pour in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Cook pork, stirring frequently, until no pink is showing. Remove pork from pan and set aside. Drain grease from pan, leaving a thin coating. Cook garlic and onion in the same pan for 2 minutes. Stir in the cooked pork, carrots, green onions and cabbage. Season with pepper, salt, garlic powder and soy sauce. Remove from heat and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Place three heaping tablespoons of the filling diagonally near one corner of each wrapper, leaving a 1 ½-inch space at both ends. Fold the side along the length of the filling over the filling, tuck in both ends and roll neatly. Keep the roll tight as you assemble. Moisten the other side of the wrapper with water to seal the edge. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap to retain moisture.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat, add oil to ½ inch depth and heat for 5 minutes. Slide 3 or 4 lumpia into the oil. Fry the rolls for 1 to 2 minutes, until all sides are golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.