Today I’m guest posting my recipe at Chef and Steward. Chef Lij and Kari are a husband and wife team behind their blog. Chef Lij is a sous chef at a fine-dining restaurant in a Five-Star hotel while Kari is a writer and photographer for the blog. Aren’t they the best food blogger team? They are expats currently living in Dubai, but originally from Jamaica. I hope you have some time to visit their site to see their co-effort creations on their blog. All the food looks outstanding and food photography is simply beautiful. Kari asked me to make traditional autumn food so I prepared Chawanmushi with Matsutake Mushroom for them. Please click HERE to read my post.
Chawanmushi is a savory egg custard which is often served as an appetizer. The egg mixture is flavored with dashi stock, soy sauce, and mirin, and it is steamed in a cup. There are many variations of Chawanmushi and restaurants in Japan usually include seasonal ingredients. Today I used one of the most popular ingredients in fall – Matsutake mushroom.
As I mentioned in my Matsutake Gohan post, Matsutake mushroom (pine mushroom) is prized by the Japanese for its distinct aromatic odor and flavor. Its place in the Japanese cuisine is very similar to black and white truffle for the French. In Japan, top quality domestic Matsutake mushroom could sell for as much as $1000 per pound. Supermarkets sell import Matsutake mushrooms for less expensive price, but people still try to buy domestic as long as price is not too expensive. Luckily, even though we live in the US, we are able to get fresh Matsutake mushroom at nearby Japanese supermarket (grown in the US) for about $40 per pound.
Matsutake mushroom is typically enjoyed in a soup or rice dish, but Chawanmushi is another fantastic way to enjoy this special flavor with its unique essence and taste.
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup dashi stock
- 4 shrimps or 2/3 chicken thigh (optional)
- 1/2 Tbsp. sake
- 1 matsutake mushrooms
- 1 large egg
- 2 ginkgo nuts (precooked)
- 4 thin slices "Kamaboko" (fish cake - today I use "Naruto")
- Add any seasonal ingredients (optional)
- 1/2 tsp. mirin
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. usukuchi (light colored) soy sauce (or ¼ tsp. soy sauce)
- Make dashi stock.
- Remove the shrimp shell if necessary and devein. Marinate shrimp in sake. If you use chicken, cut into small pieces (so it cooks faster) and marinate it in sake.
- Clean the matsutake mushroom with damp towel or paper towel. Do not wash the mushroom. Cut into thin slices.
- Whisk the egg in a medium bowl, but do not create air pockets. Add dashi stock and Seasonings. 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.
- Divide all the ingredients into 2 cups. I started with one shrimp, ginkgo nuts, and matsutake mushroom. Then put naruto, the other shrimp, and mitsuba on top (the colorful ingredients should be near the top of cup). Tie mitsuba’s stem into a knot.
- 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 be visually pleasing when cooked. Put the lid on (or cover tightly with aluminum foil 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 shrimp or 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.