Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 in Closing

With 2009 coming to a close, that means that tomorrow I begin a new with the only holiday tradition that has a great deal of meaning to me, Japanese New Year. 

Oshogatsu has been a family tradition for decades now. It brings out the best and worst of my folks and well I love it. For the past three days, my mother, father, and I have been preparing food for an expected 100 guests who will stroll through my childhood home and feast on traditional family fair. I will wake at 7:00 and start making sushi, transition to making gyoza by 2:00 and continue cooking until the evening. By early evening, when all family has left, I take whatever food remains to my friends at my local pub and share the tradition with all who could not make it.

Some of the recipes have been handed down from my grandparents, food and taste memories that keep them alive even though that generation is now gone. Some of the more extraordinary delicacies of the bygone eras are also absent from the family table, for example whale. My father stated that the canned whale he had once was like chewing on a shoe imported in a can from Japan. Some recipes we serve are more "fusion" than tradition. Chow mein, and tofu wontons are not Japanese per se, but they do fill plates. And the "round-eyes" never know the difference.

So to close the year I leave you with a super simple recipe for my spicy tofu wontons

  • 1 package wonton skins
  • 1 package firm tofu
  • 4 jalapeño peppers
  • 4 large shallots
  • 1/2 bundle of cilantro
  • soy sauce
    1. Drain tofu and slice into three large slabs. Wrap in a paper towel and press between cookie sheets to drain off excess water. This may seem odd, but you need to get rid of all of the extra water from the tofu so you have a decent filling.

    2. Roughly chop cilantro, keeping some of the stems and place them in a food processor with the shallots and jalapeño peppers. Pulse in the food processor until finely chopped.

    3. Break apart the tofu by hand into small crumbles and add the chopped vegetable mixture. 

    4. Mix the vegetables and tofu together my hand until well integrated. You may want to wear gloves if the pepper are especially spicy given they may burn a bit.

    5. Add a small spoonful of the filling to a wonton wrapper. Fold the corner of the skin to make a triangle and seal with a little water. Press edges together firmly. This part is a little odd so follow the strange illustration bellow.

    (Original Source: feed://

    6. Deep fry.

    7. Eat.

    Happy New Year...Don't be a Douche Bag!

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