Master the ultimate Japanese dish “Chawanmushi” today. Silky smooth savoury soft egg custard subtly and delicately flavoured, yet packed with Umami. Furthermore, this sophisticated dish can be cooked in 30 minutes.
What is Chawanmushi ?
Chawan(tea cup) mushi(steam) literally means teacup steamed egg custard. Unlike other egg custard, Chawanmushi is not sweet but it has savoury flavour packed with umami from dashi stock and topping ingredients.
What the Egg mixture is flavoured with?
The Egg mixture making Chawanmushi only requires 4 ingredients – eggs, dashi stock, soy sauce(usukuchi), and mirin. If you like softer texture Chawanmushi, the perfect ratio of eggs to Dashi stock is 1 to 3. For example if your egg weigh 50g, you need 150ml of dashi stock. If you like harder texture Chwanmushi, change the ratio to 1 to 2.5.
It is typically topped with fish cakes either (Naruto or Kamaboko), Shiitake mushrooms, Ginnan (Ginkgo nuts), and shrimps or chicken meat. Also wilted spinach or parboiled broccoli and decoratively cut carrots will add striking colour.
What is Ginnan?
Ginnan is Ginkgo nuts in English. It is seeds of Ginkgo tree and it has whitish coloured shell and yellow flesh. It has a delicious nutty flavour and often used as an ingredient in Japanese dishes such as Takikomi Gohan and Chawanmushi. Luckily I found it in dried form in a packet at a local Japanese grocery store. You can purchase dried gingko nut online too.
What is Naruto and Kamaboko?
Both Naruto and Kamoaboko are fish cake but in different shapes. Naruto has a pink spiral pattern which resembles the Naruto whirloops in the Naruto Strait. You have probably seen this fish cake in any Ramen dish as it is often used for a ramen topping.
Japanese tea cups to cook in
In Japan, Chawanmushi is very popular and often cooked at home in a special dish. It is teapot shaped and special Japanese pottery. They are commonly and readily available to purchase. They come with a little individual lid too.
I don’t have those pretty cups to cook
Like me and those who live outside of Japan, it is not possible to get those special pottery just for Chawanmushi. You can use ramekins or small mugs instead. Use whatever you have. I use my real tea cups I brought to Australia from Japan. Or if you really want one, you can purchase online Chawanmushi Lidded Bowl
Tips to make Chawanmushi successfully
Although Chawanmushi is a fairly simple dish, the common failure in making it gives a porous and spongy texture. Follow the tips below to make perfect silky smooth Chawanmushi!
1. Try not to aerate the eggs too much.
Because if you aerate the eggs too much it will make the Chawanmushi porous. So when you add Dashi stock to eggs, try not to over mix.
2. Drain the egg and dashi stock mixture with a sieve.
This one extra step makes it super silky.
3. Steam with gentle heat
Most importantly, if the steam is too strong this will make a porous and spongy egg custard. Keep a temperature of 70-80°C (158-176°F) which will coagulate the egg inside the steamer.
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Here are my instructions for Chawanmushi. So if you like it, please rate it and leave a comment or any questions below. And don’t forget to check out my other Japanese classic recipes such as Saba misoni (makarel simmered in miso) Simmered Pumpkins.
- 3 large eggs weigh 50g each
- 1/2 tsp usukuchi soy sauce *1
- 1 tsp mirin
- 375 ml Dashi stock *2
- 1 shiitake mushrooms
- 3 slices carrot
- 2 pieces of Kamaboko fish cake I used Naruto fish cake left over from making Ramen
- 2 shurimps
- Mitsuba to garnish Option, I did not have one so I used flat leaf parsley instead
- 3 shells edamame
- 9 Ginnan(gingko nuts)
- mitsuba leaves to garnish *optional
- cut off stem of shiitake mushrooms and cut it into thin slices and slice the carrot about 3mm(0.1inch) and cut out using cookie cutters. *3
- slice Naruto fish cakes thinly and set aside
- in a large bowl eggs, soy sauce and mirin together with chopsticks and try not to whisk too much to avoid aerating egg.
- Pour Dashi stock into the ball small amount at a time and mix with egg gradually.
- Use a strainer, strain the egg mixture in order to achieve silky soft texture when it is steamed.
- divide the mixture into 3 tea cups(or mugs or ramekins)
- pour water about 3 cm (1.2 inch) high in a pot 20cm ( 7.9 inch) in diameter and bring it to boil over high heat.
- Once the water boiled, place tea cups in the pot and turn down to low heat.
- wrap the lid with a tea towel, so that water does not drip over the chawanmushi. *4
- Put lid on and steam about 5-7 minutes.
- When the egg mixture nearly set, top with shrimp, naruto, shiitake mushrooms, edamame, carrot and Ginnan
- steam farther 5-3minutes.
- Turn the heat off leave the chawanmushi bowl in the pot for set farther 5 min.
- Garnish with Mitsuba (*5 if you have) and serve