Oshogatsu 2016 and Osechi Ryori


Happy New Year, everyone! 2015 came and went in a flash. It was truly a year of so many ups and downs, but there was so much to learn and so much to grow from through all those experiences. I am so grateful to have my amazing friends and family who have supported each other and helped us all stay afloat, even when we were in some deep water. I truly believe in the power of community, support, friendship and family and knowing that someone has your back, no matter what, is something that is so fundamentally important. We are not alone, stay connected!

Osechi Ryori Collage 2016

I am honestly not a resolution type of person and I believe that with each breath we have a chance to start over again. We don’t have to wait till a new year to get a new perspective or to do things differently, we can begin again at any time. It seems challenging, but the more we do it, like anything, the easier it is. New Year’s Day is always filled with food and family. 2016 was no  different and I am glad that I can show five years of osechi ryori on Unrivaledkitch  2015, 2014, 2013. 2012, 2011 and this entry is my 6th.

As much as I have let go of blogging, it is still such a big part of me to share my food, especially these special dishes that I learned to make as a child and some that I have revised or are family favorites. A lot of the the Osechi dishes are things that are particularly important to my Bachan, who has influenced so much of my life and my cooking. And although she’ll always ask me not to do it, it is my pleasure and privilege to cook this food for her and my family every year.

Osechi Ryori 2016

So here is the 2016 Oshogatsu Japanese New Year Osechi Ryori dishes and other Japanese food that we had for New Year’s Day.

Oshogatsu 2016

Oshogatsu 2016 Collage with Bachan




California Roll

Spam Musubi

Beef Korokke  

Miso Shrimp

Chicken Katsu

Sesame Chicken


Tuna Sashimi

Roasted Japanese Mushrooms

Char Siu-Style Sliced Pork

Sweet Asian Fried Chicken Wings



Pork Wontons

Bachan Jello

Kinpira (sato shoyu gobo and carrots)

Sesame Gobo

Tazukri (candied, dried sardines)

Kamaboko (pink and white Japanese pressed fish cake)

Shishito Peppers

Namasu (pickled carrots and daikon)

Nishime 5-Sided Carrot, 5-Sided Daikon, Kombu (rolled seaweed), Shiitake Mushrooms, Satoimo(taro root), Renkon (lotus root), Takenoko (bamboo shoots), Gobo


Ozoni (New Year’s Japanese Soup) (Kombu, Carrot, Kamaboko, Daikon, Imo [taro root], Renkon [lotus root], and Mochi in Seasoned Homemade Dashi)

Ozoni Unrivaledkitch


Oshogatsu 2016

May you and your loved ones have an amazing 2016 and beyond filled with luck, love and your heart’s deepest desires.


Happy New Year!





Making Kaki (Dried Persimmons) with Bachan


Persimmons. I love them. I know fall is here when the persimmons are out in farmers’ markets and grocery stores. When I was little, my Bachan’s neighbors had persimmon trees, so we would have a ton of Persimmons, mostly of the Fuyu variety–the crunchy ones. But sometimes we’d even have the Hachiya persimmons,which are best eaten when really soft. The Fuyu Persimmons are one of my favorite fruits, but when we had so many, it was hard to eat them all before they got bad, so my Bachan decided she was going to dry them and that’s what Kaki is. The Japanese word for Persimmon is Kaki. Everyone in our family loves this dried fruit and if you haven’t had it, it’s really something to try, if you can get a hold of any. I’ve yet to see dried Fuyu Persimmons in stores, so you’ll have to make them if you want to see what all this delicious hype is about.

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The process is long and the yield is very small, but they truly are delicious. This year we bought some Fuyu Persimmons and brought them over to Bachan’s house so I could help her get them ready for the dehydrator. This year, Maleeya wanted to help us too, so we did it all together. The process can take my Bachan all day, but with a little help from me, we got about 20 done in an hour. For a 91 year-young lady, she’s pretty amazing with a mandoline.


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Pick hard, bright-orange Fuyu Persimmons without any soft spots. Wash the Fuyu persimmons and peel the outer skin. Remove the stem and cut them in half. Using a mandoline, slice the persimmons to about ⅛ inch thick, so pretty thin. If you don’t have a mandoline, you can slice the  persimmons by hand, but this can affect the drying process if you don’t slice them in uniform slices, so I suggest using a mandoline for this project. Plus, it’s faster, but you do have to be very careful because they are extremely sharp. Use the guard and take your time.


After the Fuyus are sliced, place them on the dehydrator trays spread out evenly, ensuring that none of them are overlapping or touching. Continue till all the trays are filled. Place them in the dehydrator for about 6 hours or until they are completely dry. Place them in a plastic zip bag and store in a cool dry place.


You won’t need to store them for long because they are so delicious, they won’t last. And there you have it, Dried Kaki.

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I love these delicious treats and so do my nieces and family. They are truly a Fujitaki tradition and I’m glad we could help Bachan make them this year.

DSC03696 DSC03704 DSC03703Happy New Year!




Shrimp and Vegetable Chirashi

The type of chirashi that I’m used to is much different than the traditional Japanese-style dish that I had when I was in Japan, and the ones that I drool over in Japanese cookbooks, with lots of lovely expensive thin slices of fresh raw fish and other seafood over a bed of sushi rice. Growing up, we waited till Obon (a Japanese festival that takes place at the Buddhist temple behind my dad’s family house) in July to have different styles of simple Japanese American food. Amongst the teriyaki chicken and sato-shoyu grilled beef, we ate chirashi, which was a mix of marinated Japanese vegetables in sushi rice topped with a little ginger. Nothing too special or fancy, but with the other food we ate, it always tasted good.

This is my shrimp version of chirashi. I used a very simple package of Sushi Taro brand chirashi mix, which makes this a very simple process without having to pickle your own vegetables (including carrots, lotus, bamboo shoots, and shiitake mushrooms). In my chirashi I use leftover Japanese short grain rice to make an easy and delicious meal and add extra vegetables for additional nourishment. Even my niece Maleeya loves it.

Shrimp and Vegetable Chirashi
2 cups cooked short grain Japanese rice
1 package chirashi mix, set aside nori for topping
¼ cup kamaboko (Japanese fish cak–I like Yamasa brand), sliced into small strips
1 egg scrambled, plus 1 teaspoon water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ lb peeled and deveined shrimp without tail
¼ cup frozen peas
¼ white onion, minced
¼ cup bamboo shoots, cut into small strips
½ portobello mushroom, cut into small dice
1 teaspoon pickled red ginger
Non-stick spray

In a small sauce pan, heat over medium-high heat and spray the pan with non-stick spray. Scramble the cracked egg with a teaspoon of water and add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Fry the egg mixture in the pan, swirling the egg around till it becomes firm. Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat off, letting the egg sit for about 2-3 minutes. Slide a rubber spatula around the edges to loosen the egg and slide it out of the pan. Set aside. If the egg becomes broken, that’s fine, because it’s going to be sliced into small pieces once cooled.

In a small bowl, place shrimp, a pinch of salt and pepper, sesame oil, and soy sauce, then let the shrimp marinate for 5-10 minutes.

In a large sauté pan, place extra virgin olive oil at the bottom and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion, portobello mushrooms and bamboo shoots, then sauté till the onions and mushrooms are cooked down (about 7 minutes). Add peas to the pot and cook another 3-4 minutes. Now add the marinated shrimp and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes or a little longer, depending on the size of your shrimp.

Take about 6 shrimps out of the mixture and set aside. In a large bowl, add the vegetable and shrimp mixture to the rice, then stir till incorporated together. Add the chirashi envelope and incorporate well. Place the sushi rice in a serving container and let cool. Slice 6 shrimp in half along the center of the shrimp and place them on top of the sushi rice. Take the sliced egg and sprinkle over the top, top with kamaboko slices, red ginger and nori and serve.




Happy Birthday Bachan

When I was a little girl, I waited all year long for the days when I could take a little break away from my brother, sister, and maybe even my mom and dad as well, and spend time with my Bachan in Pasasdena. Bachan (or obaa-chan) means Grandma in Japanese and my Bachan is the most caring, loving and strong person I know. Bachan’s birthday was on 7/21 and this year she turned 89 years young.  Last year was a very special birthday for her because in Japanese culture the number 88, when written, resembles the symbol for rice. The prominence of rice in Japanese culture is immense and rice symbolizes purity and goodness. The 88th birthday is celebrated as a joyous and happy occasion. We threw a wonderful party that I wrote about here for that very special day where I reconnected with the flavors of my childhood and Japanese culture.

This week I was lucky enough to be able to teach Kids Yoga in Pasadena to some amazing 6 and 7 year-olds, so naturally I saw it fit to spend some time with Bachan. We told stories, played jenga, watched TV, snacked on Mexican sweet bread and senbei (Japanese rice crackers), ate delicious food, took a walk to the market and went grocery shopping, but most of all, enjoyed each other’s company like I did so many times as a child. Those times, as well as these, are the memories I love; those nostalgic moments of pure love and happiness, things I’m so grateful to be able to experience as well as to have experienced. My Bachan is one of the largest inspirations I have for cooking. She taught me so many things in the kitchen, even though she’ll probably deny it to anyone who asks her. Her inspiration in my life is so prominent that on her birthday, I just really wanted to say thank you, Bachan, for everything.

Bachan knows that I cook often for everyone around me. She always made big meals for my dad and his two brothers and their dad (my Jii-chan) as well as cooking for extended family and friends. She always pats me on the back and says that I did so much work—in those moments I always feel proud.  Bachan wanted to make me dinner the night I stayed with her and I don’t think I could ever have said no. We had a delicious dinner of rice, chirashi, steamed broccoli, green beans and korokke (Japanese potato cakes filled with ground beef and fried in panko bread crumbs).  Everything was perfect. She brought out sauces and miso and it was just as I remembered it all. There’s something to be said about eating a childhood dish that hasn’t changed for over 25 years. I love you, Bachan! Happy birthday.



New Year’s Day OShogatsu and Osechi-ryōri

New Year’s day is one of my favorite days of the year  because it’s time for family and friends, new beginnings, reflections and always tons of food. Last year I went over the traditions behind everything (if you want a bit more information, check out this post) and this is the 2012 version of the feast. I prepped, cooked and then packed everything up and took it to Pasadena to surprise my Bachan. It was a really amazing experience. Bachan never expects it; however, the perfect smile and delight that I could tell she felt from knowing I made all these things, from the memories that we shared together when I was little, was worth the all work.
I’m ready to get back into my kitchen and start the overhaul, work through new ideas, and make new memories. It’s been a phenomenal, exciting, and definitely very busy holiday season and I have so much to look forward to in January and throughout the new year. I hope 2012 is off to the start you wanted it to be. But if it’s not, just remember that every day can be a new start. Cheers!
Here’s the Menu
Kagami Mochi
Manju (Japanese sticky rice confection)
Ozoni (Konbu, Carrot, Kamaboko, Shitaki mushroom, Imo (taro root), Renkon (lotus root),  and Mochi in seasoned homemade Dashi)
Ponzu and Ginger Salmon Yaki (skewered salmon)
Sweet Asian Fried Chicken Wings (my mom’s contribution)
Char Siu Style Sliced Pork
California Roll
Spicy Salmon, Cucumber and Avocado Roll
Salmon Sashimi with Cucumber and Takuan
Jūbako (tiered decorative Japanese boxes) filled with the following:
Sake, Honey, and Lemon Poached Jumbo Shrimp
Takuan (yellow pickled dikon)
Kamaboko (pink and white Japanese pressed fish cake)

Kinpira (sato shoyu gobo and carrots)
Namasu (pickled carrots and daikon)

Takenoko (bamboo shoots), Carrots and Gobo (Burdock root)
Tazukri (candied, dried sardines)
Roasted Kabocha (Japanese squash)
Jūbako boxes filled with varying Japanese vegetables:
5-sided carrot, 5-sided daikon, kombu (rolled seaweed), shitake mushrooms, satoimo(taro root), renkon (lotus root)

Bachan’s 88th Birthday

Yesterday I presented some of the best food I’ve ever made. In my cooking experience this is what it comes down to, delivering something with love and something so honest as the things you grew up with, or just love yourself that the food you’ve always loved and the food other people love is what makes your best dish. On July 21st it was my Bachan’s ( dads mom Grandma in Japanese) 88th birthday. She is one of the most amazing, wonderful, strong, and beautiful people in my life. I started cooking in her kitchen at a very young age on long summer weekends or just after Christmas onto new years. We would experiment with vegetables and pickles and make nothing into something every time. Her fridge was always filled with the most bizarre amazing things and it all tasted incredible. I learned so many things from her not only in the kitchen but in life in general. I love you so much Bachan. Thank you for everything you’ve given me.

I attempted to recreate my childhood memories from Bachans house to share with not only her but my dad’s family who may or may not have eaten these things in many years. I also created things that were familiar but different to put my own spin on classic dishes we all loved,others I left just as we all remembered. I hope you have these customs with your families and live a life full of love with the people that mean the most to you. Thank you for sharing in our families tradition, my love, and my art.


Tofu Salad with bonito flakes, tomato and white mushrooms with sweet miso dressing, Chirashi (Japanese sushi Rice with Kamaboko), California Roll, Spam Musubi, Spicy Shrimp and Cucumber Roll, Grilled Kabocha with Honey, Sake and Mirin Steamed Japanese Sweet potatoes, cha siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) style pork tenderloin, Sake and Soy Mirin Marinated Grilled Chicken Thighs, Terriyaki Beef Skewers, Beef Korokke (japanese style fried pototoe dumplings) Shitake Mushroom scallion and green bean Korokee, Pork and beef water chestnut Wontons, Inari, Crab Okonomiyaki, takuan-zuke (pickeled Dikon) , Tsukemono (Pickled cucumbers and Cabbage) Kamaboko and scallions for Somen (japnese cold noodles) , Togarashi and Ponzu Grilled Chicken Drums, Spicy haricot vert with sesame seeds and soy sauce. Roasted Broccoli with soy sauce aioli, sunomono

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