Monday, December 29, 2014

How to Make Ozoni-Japanese New Year's Rice Cake Soup

It's hard to believe how fast the year went by. It went by in a flash and as I get older, the years seem to pass even faster than ever. It's kind of scary when you think about it but as long as you make the most of your time on this planet, it's all OK. What really matters is not how much time we have left, but how we use that time. 

Reflecting back on this year, I am amazed at how much my life has changed. Major changes, new challenges and lots of ups and downs accompanied me throughout 2014 and boy was it a ride! I am so grateful to be doing what I love and I am certain that next year will only get better! I feel it in my bones!

Speaking of 2014, it's about to end my friends and New Year's Day is just around the corner. Here in Japan, New Year's Day is the most important day of the entire year and the city is buzzing with the new year's preparations. 

Our decorations are up and the house has been cleaned. Now all we need to do is prepare the special dishes that are so important to this once-a-year occasion. 

All Japanese start off their day with a bowl of Ozoni. For those of you who don't know, Ozoni is a traditional Japanese soup but it gets a bit confusing. You see, it's prepared differently depending on where you live in the country. For example Ozoni is made with a white miso-based broth and round-shaped rice cakes in Kyoto while here in Tokyo, we prefer the clear dashi-based soup with square grilled rice cakes instead. 

Today I'm going to show you how to make Tokyo-style Ozoni because that's the way my mother used to make it. 

Serves 4


1/2 chicken thigh, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 bunch Komatsuna ( Japanese mustard spinach )
1/4 block Kamaboko (fish cake)
Yuzu peel (you can substitute lemon if you can't find yuzu)
4-8 blocks of square mochi (rice cake)
4 cups dashi (japanese soup stock)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sake
salt to taste
*We've also added FU ( round gluten balls ) but this is optional as it's difficult to find outside Japan.


1.Put the chicken with water into a saucepan. Cook for 3-5 minutes until just cooked. Do not overcook. Take it out and set aside.
2.Replace the saucepan with fresh water. Cook the komatsuna for 30-40 seconds. Take out and immediately immserse in cold water.
3. Squeeze out excess water out of the komatsuna. Place on cutting board and cut into 2-inch slices. Set aside.
4. Heat dashi in a pot to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Add chicken, kamaboko and Fu( optional ). Set aside.
5. Grill mochi in toaster oven or grill until the mochi puffs up. Watch carefully and don't let it burn.
7. Pour ozoni soup into individual bowls. Place mochi on top. Garnish with komatsuna and yuzu. Serve hot.

Here are some links to hard-to-find products.

If you can't find fresh yuzu, yuzu juice makes a great alternative.

Yuzu juice

We like this brand of mochi best. Easy to use and good too. 

Japanese Mochi

How to make Ozoni : VIDEO TUTORIAL

As always thanks so much for reading. Subscribe to this blog, visit my YouTube channel and connect with me on social media by clicking on the social media icons on the sidebar. Thanks and hope you're all having a wonderful day!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

How Do Japanese People Spend Christmas? And What They Eat.

HI guys. So Christmas Day has finally arrived here in Japan. The tree and decorations are up and we've already had our Christmas dinner. But wait...Christmas day has just started! I don't blame you for wondering that. But you see, here in Japan Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve!

It's true. Christmas Day in Japan is just another work day. Everyone goes to work and children go to school. It took me a few years to get used to this, but I'm OK with it now. I basically go with the flow and do what the locals do now. 

We did make a video for you to show you exactly what Christmas is like in Japan. Come join me in my Tokyo apartment for Christmas Eve dinner and stay for a few minutes while my friend and I talk about the odd things that make Christmas in Japan so unique. 


There is one Japanese tradition I adore during this time of the year, which is eating a Christmas Cake. In fact, without one, Christmas just isn't complete. This year, I decided to take the DIY route and instead of buying one, I sort of made my own. I say sort of because I was too lazy to make the sponge myself. 

I purchased my sponge cake at store ( it's sold all over Japan during this holiday season ) but I did make the frosting and decorated with strawberries and all. If you like Japanese-Style Strawberry Shortcake, you might like the simple way I make mine with store-bought sponge ( or one made from a cake mix ). 

Makes 1 Round Cake


1 round sponge cake cut into 2 layers
2 cups heavy cream-whipped until stiff peaks form
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
6-7 whole strawberries
1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar ( powdered sugar )


Place one layer of sponge cake on a plate. Put a mound of whipped cream on top and smooth evenly. Arrange sliced strawberries on top. Cover with more whipped cream. 

Place the second layer of cake on top. Spread more whipped cream on top, making sure to cover the sides of the cake as well.

Place whole strawberries on top. If you have any leftover cream, continue to decorate the cake as desired. 


Now if that weren't enough, I also decided on making some doughnuts. But why did I do such a thing you ask? Here's the short story.

You see, a friend of mine came over and decided to make some doughnuts for some strange reason. Why doughnuts? I don't have the answer, but I'm not one to complain about doughnuts. It was good alright, but you know it was kind of....well how do I put it nicely...plain. So since I was in a holiday mood, I simply had to do something to spice things up.

So here's what I did with them. They look really pretty don't they? Now I also made a quick video tutorial on how to do this with just a few ingredients so if you have some doughnuts lying around, try this one out.

Makes enough for 5-6 donuts.


Green Matcha Icing
1. 1/2 cup confectioner's Sugar
2. 1 tbsp water
3. 1.4 teaspoon matcha powder

Red Strawberry Icing
1. 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
2. 1 teaspoon strawberry jam
3. 1/2 teaspoon water ( add more in tiny amounts if needed)
4. red food coloring (optional)


Mix all ingredients for the matcha icing until smooth and slightly thick and not too watery. Dip one side of your donuts into the matcha icing. Put on wire rack and repeat with all of your donuts.

Mix all red icing ingredients until smooth and creamy. Add red food coloring if desired. Put into a piping bag or a plastic bag with the tip cut off. Pipe onto the matcha donuts.

For extra color and flavor, add more matcha powder onto the top of your donuts. Finally add a sprinkle of confectioner's sugar for a nice snow-like effect. Enjoy!

TIP: If you're making donuts from scratch, make sure they are completely cooled before icing.


Finally, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support and love. Without you guys, I would have never started this blog so thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your comments, suggestions and love help me continue to do what I love. 

So here's wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and eat well!

Monday, December 22, 2014

TabiEats Trailer

Just a quick update for today.I am proud to be the first to announce the release of our new YouTube Channel trailer. It's simple, quick to the point and hopefully is a good representation of what TabiEats is all about.


Just to let you know, we currently release 3 new videos every single week and so far, have amassed a collection of over 50 videos! We hope to continue to bring you fun and informative videos that you guys want to watch. 

It would be great if you would check it out and let me know what you think. Thanks guys!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Chocolat Chaud-French-Style Hot Chocolate Recipe

One of my favorite cold-weather drinks, French-Style Hot Chocolate is perfect when you want something rich, silky and super decadent.

Serves 1
100 grams good-quality chocolate
1 cup milk
Sugar to taste
Whipped Cream
Candy sprinkles

Melt chocolate with milk in a saucpan over very low heat. Stir constantly being careful not to burn or scorch the chocolate. Stir in sugar if desired. Once chocolate is completely melted and smooth, immediately pour into a cup. Top with whipped cream. Sprinkle with cinnamon and colorful candy sprinkles. Serve immediately and enjoy!!!

Check out the video tutorial right here!

If you enjoyed the video, subscribe to TabiEats' YouTube Channel. We release 3 new videos every week for your enjoyment so don't miss out! Subscribe By Clicking Here!

While you're here you might as well subscribe to our newsletter. That way you'll get regular updates from us as well as a free copy of my 10 Favorite Recipes. Thanks in advance and happy holidays my friends!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Imo Kenpi-Japanese-Style Crispy Sweet Potato Treats

Imo Kenpi ( Super-Crispy Sweet Potatoes ) has always been one of my favorite things to snack on. They are a traditional Japanese snack and sort of like a hybrid between Sweet Potato Fried, Sweet Potato Chips and Dessert. You see the sugar crystals on the outside of the potatoes? They are sweet with just a tinge of saltiness to balance things out. And they are oh so crispy! YUM!


Makes 4 small servings

  • 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
  • cooking oil for frying
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • cinnamon


  1. Cut sweet potatoes into sticks. 
  2. Soak in water for 10 minutes. Drain and dry well with paper towel. 
  3. Put cooking oil in frying pan about 2 cm ( 1 inch ) deep. 
  4. Add sweet potatoes into the cold oil. 
  5. Turn on the heat to medium and cook until golden brown. 
  6. Take potatoes out and drain on paper towel. 
  7. Make the syrup by mixing together the sugar and water in a saucepan. 
  8. Cook over medium-high heat,constantly stirring so it doesn't burn. 
  9. Keep cooking and stirring until it turns to a syrup consistency. 
  10. Turn heat off and add the potatoes into the syrup. 
  11. Mix and combine well until the sugar mixture crystallizes around the potatoes. 

Believe me they are quite addictive so I urge you to try these at home as soon as you can! They are super easy to make and worth the tiny effort. Seriously folks, these are that good!

As always subscribe to my newsletter if you haven't done so already. It's free and you even get a copy of my 10 Favorite Recipes so what's not there to like? Let me know what you thought of this recipe and don't forget to check out my video tutorial as well. 

Thanks so much for reading and Happy Holidays everyone!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

How to Make a Christmas Sushi Tree

I hope you're all having a fantastic holiday season. I've been quite busy myself. An early holiday plus starting a YouTube Channel while maintaining my blog has been keeping me as busy as a bee. Funny thing though is that I'm actually having a ball juggling all these tasks!

I'm realizing just how true it is when they say, "Time flies when you're having fun!" because that's exactly what I'm experiencing at the moment. No matter how busy and hectic my life is at the moment, I love what I do. I really really do!

So with the holidays right around the corner, it's time to start thinking about Christmas dinner. Turkey perhaps? Or a Christmas Ham? Nah, been there done that. So this year I've decided to make something different and since I love sushi, this easy-peasy Christmas Sushi was a no-brainer.

This Christmas "tower" is so easy to make and so much fun too!


Makes 16-20 rice balls

Sushi Seasoned Rice ( Mix 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 4 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons salt and cooked rice )
1 block sashimi-grade tuna
20 Pirella Leaves
Daikon strips (optional)


For 16-20 rice balls and set aside.
Cut tuna into very thin strips
Spread plastic wrap on counter top
Place a strip or two of tuna on the plastic wrap
Dab a small amount of wasabi on the center of the tuna.
Put one rice ball in on the tuna.
Wrap the plastic wrap around the ball and squeeze to help adhere the tuna to the rice.
Unwrap and set aside. Repeat with all the rice balls.
Place 5 pirella leaves for the base.
Use a plastic cup to stabilize the tree.
Place rice balls to around the base of the cup.
Put a layer of pirella leaves on top of the first layer of rice balls.
Repeat and alternate until you reach the top. Finish off with one rice ball.


If you're a sushi lover, I urge you to try this one out at your next party. Your guests will be amazed!And hey, nobody has to know how easy it was right? That's just between me and you. :)

If you enjoyed this post, subscribe today! It's free to join and you'll get a FREE COPY of my 10 Favorite Recipes! SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

Also, if you haven't done so already, check out TabiEats YouTube Channel. We have amassed quite a collection of videos for your viewing pleasure.

I hope you're all having a wonderful week and until next time, Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Our Very First Holiday Giveaway!!!

Hi everybody! We've officially entered the holiday season and I'm excited to bring you our very first giveaway! We'll be giving away a special gift package which includes a couple of very unique Japanese candy that you have to make plus a box of Pineapple Tea that we got on our recent visit to Hawaii. Just look at what you'll get!

Pineapple Waikiki Tea from Hawaiian Islands Tea Company

Gummi Sushi

Candy Sushi Kit


2. Choose which Apple Recipe you'd like us to make this weekend. ( Spring Roll Apple Pie or McDonald's Style Apple Pie )
3. Write your choice down in the comments section on our YouTube Channel.

That's it! 

Deadline for entries is December 20 midnight EST. One entry per person please. 
We'll randomly choose one person from the comments to receive the gift package.
The more you share our videos with your friends ( any videos ), you'll stand out , which will increase your chances of being chosen so please share. Thanks!


We will release the Apple recipe video on Monday, December 22 along with the announcement of the winner. We will contact the winner on the same day for mailing address so we can send the gift to you. 

Thanks for your support and good luck!

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