Chawan Mushi is a savoury egg custard dish usually eaten as an appetizer in Japan. It is eaten hot during the cold seasons and cold during the hot, with just the ingredients placed in the egg custard changing each time – shiitake, edamame, shrimps, spinach, chicken or nothing at all. It is usually made in a steamer, but if you don’t own one, you can use a frying pan like in my recipe below. Even if you are not a huge fan of egg, this dish is so light and delicious, you may be surprised it’s even made out of egg! Give it a go and impress the guests at your next dinner party
Ingredients (for 2 people)
240ml luke warm water (includes shiitake water from soaking)
1 tsp fish stock powder
1 tsp mirin
1 tsp soy sauce
Dried, sliced shiitake
Few spinach leaves
(if you use chicken or another meat, you’ll need to marinade it for 5-10 mins before cooking)
Thumb sized piece of chicken
and/or 1 shrimp
1/2 tsp soy sauce
Soak the dried shiitake in hot water in a cup for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, dice the chicken and marinade in the sake, salt and soy sauce.
Add the chicken, shrimp, spinach or whatever ingredients you’ve decided upon to a small cup or ramekin. Pour the water from the soaked shiitake in a measuring cup and if it isn’t 240ml, add some more water. Then add the salt, soy sauce, mirin and fish powder and mix well. Beat the egg and mix in too, then pour through a sieve over the ramekin as carefully as possible. Try to not create any bubbles to make the final appearance as pretty as possible!
Put tin foil over the ramekins and place in a frying pan. Pour water so it comes up to half way up the ramekins, then remove, and bring the water to boil. Then reduce heat to low, put the ramekins back in the frying pan, cover the pan and heat for 7 minutes. Finally, when 7 minutes are up, turn off the heat and allow the pan to rest covered for a further 10 minutes. Have a look under the foil – if they haven’t set yet, leave them in the water for a bit longer.
It is quite difficult to control the temperature using an electric hob such as the one I have. If you don’t have gas either, I recommend using two hobs – one to boil the water, and the other set to around 3 (low temperature), so you can just switch instead of waiting for the hot one to cool. It is important that the water isn’t boiling hot when you place the ramekins in.