posts may contain Amazon affiliate links, which earn me a small commission when you buy (but doesn't cost you anything extra). Occasionally I receive free products and/or run sponsored posts—this will always be stated clearly in the post. Thank you for supporting this blog.

This website contains some quotations, excerpts, and screen clips from copyrighted material. These uses fall well within the copyright doctrine of "Fair Use".
Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Matcha Rice Pudding | Betrayal at Iga

Matcha Rice Pudding | Betrayal at Iga
Welcome to the TLC Book Tours stop for Betrayal at Iga by Susan Spann, the 5th book in the Shinobi Mystery series! I started the Shinobi Mysteries on book 3...and I've been hooked ever since. At the end of The Ninja's Daughter, Hiro, Father Mateo, Ana, and Gato have made haste out of Kyoto, and this novel picks up as they enter the village in which Hiro grew up and trained amongst the many shinobi that inhabit it.

They attend a traditional welcome dinner at the house of Hiro's cousin, and commander of the Iga ryu, Hanzō. Coincidentally emissaries from a rival clan are also attending this dinner, and when one of them (kind of disgustingly) dies in the middle of this dinner, Father Mateo (and Hiro by default) offers to investigate and find his killer.

The members of the rival clan Koga are positive that he was poisoned by one of the Iga clan members, even though Hanzō invited them there to discuss a peace treaty. Iga members suspect it was another Koga member who poisoned him.
Matcha Rice Pudding | Betrayal at Iga
In the midst of this dangerous investigation, Hiro is trying his hardest not to be distracted by his former love interest, Neko, who has a somewhat nefarious past (which Hiro has the scars to prove). He's not sure whether his judgement is clouded when both Neko and his own mother become suspects in the investigation.

This book kept me on the edge of my seat, as I constantly changed my mind about who I thought the murderer was (and it turned out not to be who I thought I'd settled on). The setting was a great change of pace from the two previous novels set in Kyoto (I'm not sure where the first 2 were set, as even though I have the books on my shelf, I haven't read them yet). I am enjoying the growing bond between Hiro and Father Mateo, and thought the vulnerability that Hiro displayed during this novel helped give his character even more meat.

As far as food goes, I did miss the many mentions of Hiro's favorite bowls of noodles that were so often mentioned in the other two, but I was still able to find inspiration in the many, MANY mentions of tea (lots of it green) and rice throughout. Spann is always able to describe broth and fish in ways that make me crave it something fierce as well, but since the initial dinner table death (spoiler - there was more than one death!) scene was less than appetizing, I chose to put those on the backburner this time around. There was also a funny passage where Father Mateo mistakes the Japanese word for fried chicken with the word for a certain poison.
Matcha Rice Pudding | Betrayal at Iga
What I really wanted to make were sweetened rice balls, but I finished (and started - it's very easy to read through in a sitting or two) the book last minute, and didn't have the right kind of rice in my pantry, so instead, I made some rice pudding...which I imagine tastes somewhat similar to a sweet rice ball...and infused it with matcha green tea. It was delicious, but next time I want to actually try my hand at the real thing!

Ana entered the room from the kitchen, carrying a tray that held a teapot, cups, a canister of tea, and a plate piled high with sweetened rice balls.

BETRAYAL AT IGA by Susan Spann

Betrayal at Iga

author: Susan Spann
series: A Shinobi Mystery (Book 5)
publisher: Seventh Street Books (July 11, 2017)
genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery > International Mystery & Crime
paperback: 250 pages

"foodie" read: No, but there's always a bit of inspiration from Japanese culture in Spann's novels.

opening sentence: Hiro Hattori leaned into the wind that swept down the hill and across his face.

teaser: Autumn, 1565: After fleeing Kyoto, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo take refuge with Hiro’s ninja clan in the mountains of Iga province. But when an ambassador from the rival Koga clan is murdered during peace negotiations, Hiro and Father Mateo must find the killer in time to prevent a war between the ninja clans.

With every suspect a trained assassin, and the evidence incriminating not only Hiro’s commander, the infamous ninja Hattori Hanzo, but also Hiro’s mother and his former lover, the detectives must struggle to find the truth in a village where deceit is a cultivated art. As tensions rise, the killer strikes again, and Hiro finds himself forced to choose between his family and his honor.

about the author: Susan Spann is a transactional publishing attorney and the author of the Shinobi Mysteries, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and his Portuguese Jesuit sidekick, Father Mateo. Her debut novel, CLAWS OF THE CAT (Minotaur Books, 2013), was named a Library Journal Mystery Debut of the Month. Susan has a degree in Asian Studies from Tufts University, where she studied Chinese and Japanese language, history, and culture. Her hobbies include cooking, traditional archery, martial arts, and horseback riding. She lives in northern California with her husband, son, two cats, and an aquarium full of seahorses.
Susan Spann, author of The Shinobi Mysteries

connect with the author: website | facebook | twitter

recipe inspired by the book: Matcha Rice Pudding


I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Yield: serves 8-10
Matcha Rice Pudding | Betrayal at Iga

Matcha Rice Pudding

prep time: 5 MINScook time: 30 MINStotal time: 35 mins
This recipe combines rice pudding with the grassy taste of Matcha green tea.


  • 1 1/2 cups sticky rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 2-3 cups of milk
  • 1 tablespoon culinary-grade Matcha powder
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • black sesame seeds, to garnish


  1. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Combine in a pot with the water and bring to a boil. Put the lid on, turn heat to low, and cook until rice is very soft, ~20 minutes.
  2. Stir in w cups of the milk, matcha, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until thickened. Add more milk to thin to your taste, then taste and adjust sweetness if you like.
  3. Scatter with sesame seeds, to garnish.
Created using The Recipes Generator

More recipes inspired by The Shinobi Mysteries:

Whole Roasted Trout w/ Sake and Plums inspired by Flask of the Drunken MasterUdon w/ Grilled Fish & Scallions inspired by The Ninja's Daughter

Did you enjoy this? Receive new posts in your inbox!

Click here to sign up for to have new posts delivered straight to your inbox.

Did you make my recipe or try something that I recommended?

I want to hear about it! Please let me know by snapping a photo and sharing it on my Facebook page or upload it and tag me on Twitter or Instagram using hashtag #allroadsleadtothekitchen in the caption (I will only be able to see it if your account is public).

Comment Policy

I love getting comments! If you have a question about a recipe, an article, or a recommendation, please leave a comment below the individual post. I read all of the comments and will make every effort to respond in a timely manner to your questions. Spam will be removed.

Would you like to comment?