Chawanmushi is a Japanese egg custard appetizer which consists of ginkgo nuts, shiitake mushrooms, kamaboko (Japanese fish cake), and an egg mixture flavored with dashi, soy sauce, and mirin. The egg custard is steamed in a cup and often served as a cold or hot appetizer. There are many variation and we also put other seasonal ingredients include shrimp, fish, or veggies. I’ll be sharing a basic egg custard with chicken today.
If you order Chawanmushi at Japanese restaurants often, I hope you give this recipe a try because it’s very easy and inexpensive to make it at home. For dashi, I highly recommend you use dashi packet or make it from scratch since that’s the soup base of this dish. However, you can follow this quick method with MSG-free instant dashi powder as well.
We always like to eat chawanmushi with uni (sea urchin) and ikura (salmon roe) on top. It’s a little bit of luxury and I can’t describe how delicious it is.
Before moving onto the recipe, I want to thank Amelia of Amelia’s De-ssert for the blog awards. Thank you Amelia!
- 2 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 3 Tbsp. water
- ½ cup dashi stock
- 2/3 chicken thigh
- ½ Tbsp. sake
- 1 inch carrot, sliced round
- 1 large egg
- 6 ginkgo nuts (precooked)
- 1/3 pkg shimeji mushrooms
- 6 thin slices Kamaboko (fish cake)
- 4 mitsuba (Japanese wild parsley)
- You can also add other seasonal ingredients (e.g. Matsutake mushroom)
- ½ tsp. mirin
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. soy sauce
- 2 pieces of uni (sea urchin)
- 2 Tbsp. ikura (salmon roe)
- In a small bowl, combine dried shiitake and water. Let it soak for 15 minutes. When shiitake becomes soft, cut each into quarters. KEEP THE WATER.
- Put the water from Step 1 into a measuring cup, and then fill with dashi stock until you have ½ cup of liquid.
- Cut chicken into small cubes so that they will cook faster. Marinate chicken in sake for 15 minutes (sake will get rid of meaty taste and smell).
- Use cutters and cut vegetable into flower shape. Put it in a microwave-safe bowl or container filled with water. Cover and microwave it for 1 minute.
- Whisk the egg in a medium bowl. Add Seasonings and dashi mixture from Step 2 and mix well.
- Then strain the mixture through a sieve into another bowl.
- Start boiling water. The amount of water should cover ½ of chawanmushi cup. When boiling, reduce the heat to the LOWEST heat.
- Tie mitsuba like this.
- Divide all the ingredients into 2 cups. I started with chicken, shiitake, ginkgo nuts, and shimeji. Then put kamaboko and mitsuba on top (the colorful ingredients should be near the top of cup).
- Gently pour the egg mixture into the cups without creating bubbles. Instead of covering the ingredients completely with the egg mixture, leave some ingredients exposed so it will look nicer when cooked. Put the lid on (or cover with aluminum foil tightly if you don’t have chawanmushi cup).
- Place gently inside the hot water (it should NOT be “boiling”) and cover the pot’s lid. Cook for 25-30 minutes on the lowest heat. If you are not adding chicken, the cooking time should only be 15-20 minutes. Insert a skewer in the center of the cup to check if the egg is done.