Chawanmushi is like a soothing, creamy delight – smooth and incredibly versatile. Essentially, it's a savory egg custard with a twist, thanks to some fantastic ingredients.
So, what's the story behind chawanmushi? Well, the name reveals its charm: "chawan" means teacup, and "mushi" translates to steamed. It's a dish that's created with care, gently steamed in these cozy cups.
Now, let's talk about the magic that happens with the custard. It all begins with a blend of eggs, dashi, along with a hint of soy sauce and mirin. However, the real excitement unfolds when you introduce the ingredients. Common additions include sliced shiitake mushrooms, plump shrimp, tender chicken, Kamaboko (fish cake), ginkgo nuts, and mitsuba (Japanese parsley). It's like a symphony of flavors in a tiny vessel. This time, we're introducing an autumn-inspired chawanmushi recipe!
Now, let's discuss the cooking process. It's all about precision. Gently pour this luscious mixture into small cups and let them steam softly. This is the secret to achieving that heavenly, velvety texture that chawanmushi is famous for.
But it's not just about the taste; it's a visual masterpiece too. People often garnish it with a sprig of mitsuba or a pinch of grated yuzu peel, turning it into an edible work of art.
Chawanmushi is like a poetic performance in the world of Japanese cuisine. It captures the harmony of ingredients, the changing seasons, and the deep umami of dashi stock. Every bite is like a delicate brushstroke on the canvas of your palate.
Whether you're enjoying it in a traditional setting or with a modern twist, chawanmushi is a culinary treasure waiting to be explored. It's like a whisper of flavor, a miniature masterpiece, and a symbol of the culinary finesse that defines Japanese cuisine. So go ahead, take a bite, and let the subtle beauty of chawanmushi enchant your senses.
Prep time: 45 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Total servings: 3
- 3 Eggs
- 1L Cold or Room Temperature Dashi, divided
- 2 tsp Soy Sauce
- 2 tsp Mirin
- 80g White Mushrooms
- 15g Shiitake Mushrooms
- 25g Oyster Mushrooms
- 100ml Dashi (Taken from the 1L of dashi that you made)
- 25g Sweet Potato
- 20g Carrots
- 40g Chestnuts, cooked
- 50g Chicken Breast
- 200ml Dashi (Taken from the 1L of dashi that you made) (for the topping)
- 1 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce (for the topping)
- 2 tsp Mirin (for the topping)
- 1 tsp Cornstarch (for the topping)
- 1 tsp Water (for the topping)
Don't have time to make dashi from scratch? These dashi packets from Kayanoya are here to save the day! This premium stock powder is also your ticket to crafting the most exquisite Chawanmushi you've ever tasted. With its superior quality and rich flavor, Kayanoya Dashi Stock Powder elevates your culinary experience to a whole new level, making your Chawanmushi an unforgettable masterpiece.
1) Gathering the Ingredients
Gather the ingredients together. If you haven't prepared your dashi broth yet, now is a good time to do so.
2) Preparing the Steamer
Boil water in a steamer.
3) Preparing the Egg Mixture
Prepare your dashi. If you're using packaged dashi, follow the instructions on the package to dissolve the dashi powder in hot water. Once it's ready, transfer the dashi to a jar or stockpot and refrigerate it to cool. You can also make the dashi in advance and store it in the fridge for later use.
Crack the eggs into a separate container and beat them. Measure the volume of the beaten eggs in milliliters (e.g., the eggs weighed 160ml).
Measure out three times the volume of the beaten eggs (e.g., 480ml) of the cooled dashi and add it to the egg mixture. Mix the ingredients thoroughly.
For a smoother texture, strain the egg mixture using a strainer. Set it aside for now.
4) Preparing Toppings for Chawanmushi
Next, cut the oyster mushrooms into bite-sized pieces, and thinly slice the shiitake and white mushrooms.
Crush the cooked chestnuts into smaller, bite-sized pieces.
Then, dice the chicken breast into bite-sized chunks.
Season with salt and black pepper according to your taste.
5) Cooking the Vegetables
Steam the carrots and sweet potatoes. When you can pierce into them easily, they're done. Turn off the heat at this point.
Simmer the oyster mushrooms in 100ml of the dashi.
Tip: Fresh oyster mushrooms contain enzymes that can impact the texture of chawanmushi. To prevent this, it's best to cook the oyster mushrooms first to deactivate these enzymes before incorporating them into your chawanmushi.
6) Assembling the Chawanmushi
Begin by adding the toppings that tend to sink, such as sweet potatoes, chicken, and chestnuts, into the steaming vessel.
Gently pour the egg mixture over these ingredients until they are well-covered.
Next, arrange the toppings that don't sink, like the mushrooms and thinly sliced carrots.
Continue filling the steaming container with the egg mixture until it reaches the top.
Before steaming, make sure to pop any bubbles on the surface of the chawanmushi for a smoother texture, using a toothpick or a similar tool.
Finally, place the lid on top of the steam bowl. If your steam bowl doesn't have a lid, you can use aluminum foil as a cover. Your chawanmushi are now ready to be steamed!
7) Steaming the Chawanmushi & Making the Ankake Sauce
Ensure that the water is boiling, and your steamer is ready for action.
Place a lid with a built-in steam vent on top of the steamer. If your pot lid lacks a steam vent, gently tilt it to create an escape route for steam. If the lid doesn't fit securely, you can use a cloth as an extra cover.
Steam the chawanmushi over high heat for approximately 7-8 minutes, followed by an additional 3 minutes on low heat. Please note that the cooking time may vary depending on the size of your steam bowl.
While the chawanmushi steams, you can work on preparing the ankake sauce (a thick starch sauce) that will be used as a topping for the chawanmushi.
Gradually add the cornstarch mixture to the pot, stirring continuously to reach your desired thickness. Avoid adding it all at once.
Mix the sauce well, and set it aside until the Chawanmushi are done steaming.
8) Taking Out the Chawanmushi & Plating
Your chawanmushi is ready when you notice a glossy golden broth gently oozing from the surface. When tilted, the egg mixture should remain intact without spilling. This indicates that it's perfectly cooked.
Carefully take your chawanmushi out of the steamer and top it with the ankake sauce that we just made. Now it's ready to enjoy!
Tip: If you find the broth appears slightly cloudy when you dig into it, it's a sign that it's undercooked. No need to fret, though! Simply give it another minute in the steamer, or if your bowl is microwave-safe, you can reheat it in the microwave. However, please exercise caution when using the microwave, as chawanmushi can become very hot and there's a risk of it potentially exploding. To avoid mishaps, heat it in short 1-minute bursts while closely monitoring its progress.