Delicious Zoni with dried Shiitake

Zoni is a Japanese soup containing rice cakes. It is eaten on New Year's Day. Dried shiitake mushrooms, a key ingredient in Zoni (Ozoni), bring the soup a unique and delicious flavor. 

The shiitake and chicken are first cooked in a thicker seasoning, enhancing each ingredient's individual characteristics, making every spoonful a delightful experience.

It is said that in eastern Japan, square rice cakes are baked and served in a clear soup, while in western Japan, round rice cakes are boiled and served in miso soup. However, there are various differences in Zoni between regions and personal preferences.

Ingredients (4 persons)

  • 8 Dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 300 g Chicken thigh meat (skin on)
  • 3 Soup stock packets
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Mirin
  • 3 Tbsp Soy sauce
  • 4 slices Kamaboko (Japanese fish cake)
  • 4 Taro
  • 1/2 bunch Spinach
  • 3 cm Carrot
  • 4 Mochi (rice cakes)
  • 2 tsp Sake
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • To taste Yuzu peel or other condiments


Rehydrate the dried shiitake mushrooms in the refrigerator overnight. Once rehydrated, cut the stems and, if the caps are large, cut them into bite-sized pieces.
Strain the rehydrating soup through a tea strainer and reserve 400 ml for braised shiitake and chicken.
Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Braised with the peeled skin will make the stew tastier.
Put the shiitake mushrooms, 400 ml of the strained soup and one packet of dashi into a pan, bring to the boil, add the chicken and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.
Take out the dashi packet, remove the scum, add the sugar, mirin and soy sauce and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Allow the stock to cool, leaving enough to soak into the shiitake and chicken to soak up the flavour. Reserve 4 Tbsp of the stock for later use.
Peel the taro, rub with salt and wash a couple of times until the water is no longer runny, then cut into bite-size pieces.
Put enough water in a pan to cover the taro, heat over medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes after boiling, Stick a bamboo skewer into the taro. When soft, put them in a strainer and leave to cool.
Boil the spinach quickly in boiling water, cool in cold water, squeeze and cut into 4 cm pieces.
Cut the carrots into 7 mm pieces and cut them out in flower shapes. Boil the carrots until soft.
Place 800 ml water and 2 packets of dashi in a pan and bring to the boil over high heat.
When the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer over medium heat for 3 minutes, then remove the dashi packets and scrub off the scum.
Add 4 Tbsp of the shiitake chicken stock strained through a tea strainer, sake and salt to the pan and adjust to taste.
Toast the rice cakes in a toaster or similar until slightly browned.
Place the kamaboko, taro, spinach, carrot, chicken, shiitake and grilled rice cake in a bowl, then slowly pour in the warmed clear soup.
Serve with condiments on top if desired.


Dried Shiitake mushrooms should be rehydrated in cold water to make them sweeter and tastier without any messy taste.

How to Rehydrate Dried Shiitake Mushrooms for Maximum Flavor

Quick and easy rehydration for dried Shiitake

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