Chawan mushi is a much loved Japanese savory egg custard that is comforting and homemade but also found in high cuisine. In Japan, not many restaurants offer this dish and those that do only make a limited number. 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, giving a “rough” custard.
The fun part about this dish are the “treasures” hidden in the custard. You do not know what’s inside until you dig in. It can be as simple as diced chicken meat and kamaboko, or as luxurious as scallops, shrimps, ginkgo nuts, and shitake mushrooms. I have even used dried scallops which gives a really sweet flavor to this delightful custard.
Savory steamed egg custard is fairly common in East Asian cuisine but this Japanese version in individual cups is such a treat! It is normally served as an appetizer and is to be slowly savored…..
4 asparagus tips, about 2½ inch long
2 medium sized shrimps, peeled
1 fish stick sliced
2 large eggs
1½ cups slightly warm water
½ tsp dashi
2 tsp mirin
2 tsp soy sauce
¼ tsp salt
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 rain. Slice fish sticks into 4 pieces. Divide asparagus, shrimp, and fish sticks among 2 egg cups or ramekins.
Bring a steamer to boil, then reduce heat to medium low.
In a bowl, add warm water, dashi , and salt. Stir to dissolve dashi and salt. Add mirin and soy sauce. Set aside and let cool. Once water is cooled, add eggs. Whisk with a fork. Strain into another bowl. Divide the egg mixture between the two cups. Cover with chawan lid or foil if using ramekins. Carefully place in steamer and steam on low heat for 15 – 20 minutes. Serve warm.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!