Saturday, March 14, 2009


Life here in Tokyo has been moving at a very fast pace lately. In general, we are keeping ourselves as busy as possible. In truth, we are blessed to be busy. At the same time, it can be hard to keep an optimistic attitude when things at home are piling up like dirty laundry- literally.

I made a decision that this Friday night would be for nothing but relaxation. This means making some yummy food that could easily be eaten while watching TV or playing video games (we do enjoy playing video games on our Nintendo Wii.)

I decided to make Japanese inspired finger food; gyoza and calamari. With a nice glass of wine, what better food could there be for a Friday night?

Since this food can tend to be less than healthy, I tried to opt for the healthiest method of preparing them. For the gyoza, I used spinach, diakon radish and tofu for the filling. The squid was more difficult to make "healthy" so I tried to make a healthy dip to go alongside using low-fat yogurt and spices.

Tofu, Spinach and Daikon Gyoza

1 cup firm tofu, cut into small cubes
4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 cup diced daikon radish
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili sauce or tobasco sauce
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
40 wonton wrappers

Combine the tofu, spinach and daikon in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, combine the fish sauce, soy sauce, chili sauce and red pepper flakes. Pour the sauce over the tofu mixture. Lay out the wonton wrappers on a cutting board or counter top. Working on one wonton wrapper at a time, spoon a small amount of the tofu filling in the middle of the wrapper. Using your finger, line the edge of the wrapper with water and seal the edges together until all the gyoza are filled and sealed.

In a medium pan, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil until slightly smoking. Add the gyoza, being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook the gyoza for 2 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy. Serve with sweet chili sauce.

Calamari Dip

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
white pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon balm or cilantro

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Serve alongside calamari for dipping.

Calamari (Fried Squid)

4 small squid bodies and tentacles, sliced into rings
1 cup corn flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
2 egg whites
1/2 cup oil

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl or on a plate. In a seperate small bowl, whisk the egg whites lightly. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan.

Coat the squid rings and tentacles with the egg whites and transfer to the dry ingredients. Coat with the dry ingredients and put on a plate. Carefully place the squid in the hot oil and fry for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Garnish with cilantro or lemon balm.

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