Chawan Mushi

Chawan MushiChawan Mushi is a much loved Japanese savory egg custard. It is often homemade and also found in good restaurants where they are made in limited batches. To produce a smooth custard, it has to be steamed at a low temperature. Rapidly boiling water will cause the egg custard to puff up and collapse when removed. This will produce a “rough” custard.

The fun part about eating Chawan Mushi is discovering the “treasures” hidden in the custard. A lot of times what is inside the custard cannot be seen until you dig in. The filling can be as simple as diced chicken meat and kamaboko (steamed fish cakes), or as luxurious as scallops, shrimps, ginkgo nuts, and shiitake mushrooms. I have even used dried scallops which gives the custard a really sweet flavor.

Chawan Mushi

Savory steamed egg custard is fairly common in East Asian cuisine but this Japanese version in individual cups is such a delight! It is normally served as an appetizer and is to be savored slowly.

Chawan Mushi

I have made this many, many times and each time it is a little different. Today, I have decided to use three ingredients you can easily find at your local grocery store – asparagus, shrimps, and fish sticks. You can substitute with pre-cooked chicken, mushrooms, scallops, carrots, and whatever takes your fancy. Do give it a try.

Chawan Mushi
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2 servings
  • 4 asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 2½-inch pieces
  • 4 medium sized shrimps, peeled
  • 1 fish stick, cut diagonally into 4 pieces
Egg Custard
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ cups (360ml) slightly warm water
  • ½ tsp instant dashi
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp mirin
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  1. Bring a small pot of water to boil. Lightly salt the water and cook asparagus for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove and drain. Add shrimps and cook until they curl and turn pink. Remove and drain.
  2. Place 1½ cups (360ml) warm water in a medium sized bowl. Add instant dashi and salt. Stir to dissolve. Add mirin and soy sauce. Set aside to cool.
  3. Once water is cooled, add eggs. Beat lightly with a whisk. Strain into another bowl.
  4. Bring a large pan of water to boil. Place a steaming rack in the pan. Reduce heat to medium low.
  5. Divide asparagus, shrimps, and fish sticks between 2 egg cups or ramekins. Slowly pour the egg mixture evenly between the two cups.
  6. Carefully place egg cups or ramekins into the prepared steamer. Cover cups with chawan lid or aluminum foil if using ramekins. Place cover on steamer and steam on low heat for 15 minutes or until eggs are set.
  7. Remove and serve immediately.

Chawan Mushi
NOTE: This post was updated on October 23rd, 2013 with new pictures.

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎


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  1. 5 Star Foodie says

    What an intriguing specialty! I would love to try it – sounds wonderful with asparagus and shrimp!

  2. Mother Rimmy says

    Biren, you amaze me! Your pictures are fabulous and the food is delicious. I love the idea of not knowing what will be in your custard until you bite into it.

  3. denise @ quickies on the dinner table says

    I love chawan mushi – the only egg dish I enjoy! The ones we get at Japanese restaurants here are not very imaginatively prepared and I tried making it at home once but it didn't come out as soft as I like it. I will definitely try your recipe – looks fantastically tender and so smooth!

  4. luvtoeat says

    What a perfectly cooked and beautifully presented dish Biren. Everytime I steam eggs I don't have the patience so I turn it on high (shame on me) so not surprisingly mine always turn out all bumpy and ugly, nothing like your beautiful smooth custard. Thank you for showing me how rewarding a little patience can be. I'll have to try this recipe sometime. Thank you for sharing.

  5. bunkycooks says

    That is a really interesting dish. I am not very familiar with Japanese food, so it is great to learn about something new. Thank you for sharing this post.

  6. Juliana says

    Biren…your egg custard looks delicious, so smooth and silky…love it! Great great pictures!
    By the way, thank you for stopping by 😉

  7. Biren says

    @5 Star Foodie – This is one of my favorites. You can add all kinds of seafood and vegetables into the dish.

    @Mother Rimmy – Many thanks for your lovely comments. The hidden treasures are one of the joys of this dish :)

    @Rick – Thank you.

    @Noelle – Thanks!

    denise@quickies on the dinner table – The texture of the custard depends on the ratio of egg to water and the steaming temperature. Once you get this right, the rest is pretty easy :)

    @Kamalika – Thanks!

    @luvtoeat – Thank you and yes, this dish requires a little patience. It's well worth the effort :)

    @Gulmohar – Thank you.

    @bunkycooks – I have also learnt a lot from visiting other blogs :)

    @Juliana – Thank you for your lovely comments. You are most welcomed, and I will definitely visit your blog from time to time.

    @Turmericnspice – Thanks! I got the spoons from Tokyo and Kyoto.

    @Cindy – Thanks for visiting and for your kind comments :)

  8. Cinnamon-Girl says

    What a wonderful dish with the surprises hidden inside! These look like quite a special treat to eat!

  9. Debinhawaii says

    I saw the title of your post on the Top 9 and had to come look. I love chawan mushi but have never tried making it. Yours looks delicious! I'm feeling lazy though so I may need to get some for lunch tomorrow at a restaurant I like that makes a good one 😉



  10. bendibenri says

    yummmm! I love this dish. I don't eat it enough though and have never tried to make it. Can't wait to give it a go. cheers for this 😀

  11. Sortachef says

    Wow, that looks amazing. My family and I love great egg dishes, and this is surely one of them. We'll be trying this for sure. Thanks!

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