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Chawan Mushi Recipe (Japanese Steamed Egg Custard - 茶碗蒸し)

Sunday, May 24, 2009 | Labels: , , , , |

I have always been a huge fan of 'chawan mushi', which literally translates to 'tea cup steam' - the egg custard is savoury instead of sweet and is traditionally served as an appetizer at Japanese meals. The texture of the egg custard is much lighter than that of its' Western counterparts due to the absence of heavy cream and milk.


For an 'ideal' cup or bowl of chawan mushi, the custard has to just barely be set, and should be silky and light in texture, a 'holey' appearance is a definite faux pas. The egg custard is simply a mixture of lightly beaten eggs and bonito stock seasoned with some soy and sake. The ingredients used in the custard allows for a lot of creativity, this time I merely used crabsticks, mushrooms and green onions. It is customary to have chicken, shrimp, mushrooms and gingko nuts in the chawan mushi - however, as always, do improvise and tweak the recipe to your liking.


This is a very easy dish to make at home, this was my first attempt as well and you just have to remember not to overcook the steamed egg (much like Chinese steamed egg), do not overload the cups or bowls with ingredients (no more than 1/3 of cup/bowl) and to beat the eggs lightly so as to lessen the bubbles in the mixture. The silky smooth and flavourful egg custard was a delight to my senses - try it at home, it's not difficult I promise!


Ingredients (4 servings):
2 stalks green onions
4 shitake mushrooms (quartered)
2 crabsticks (cut to bite-sized)

2 1/2 cups bonito stock (dashi)
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp mirin
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs

Egg custard mixture is strained through gauzeChawan Mushi Recipe

Heat the bonito stock, then season with the soy sauce, mirin and salt. Let cool to room temperature. Now, lightly beat the eggs and add the cooled bonito stock while stirring lightly. Strain the egg mixture with some gauze (as pictured) into a separate bowl.

Separate the ingredients into the bowls
Chawan Mushi Recipe

Now, prepare your steamer (I used my bamboo steamer) - divide the ingredients above into the 4 cups/ bowls and gently ladle the egg custard mixture into the cups/ bowls. I did not have the traditional chawan mushi cups which come with covers, so I made some 'covers' out of foil. This is to avoid the condensed moisture in the steamer from dropping back onto the custard.

Ladle the egg custard mixture onto the ingredients
Chawan Mushi Recipe

Steam the custard over high heat for about 5 minutes or until you see the top layer turn whitish. Now, turn the heat to medium low and steam for another 15 minutes or so. To test if the egg is set, insert a toothpick gently - if the liquid runs clear, it is done. Serve hot or chilled depending on weather.

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Ellie said...

Chawan Mushi is one of my favourite Japanese dish. I haven't made it at home because none of my family members like it :-(

noobcook said...

Your chawanmushi looks so smooth and filled with so many goodies :)

nath said...

it's a new recipe for me.. thnx for sharing..
I have cooking blog too, and I have added you on my blogroll..hope you'll do the same,thnx^^

nath said...

I have never tried Chawan Mushi before, sound great! Can't imagine how it taste... hiks...

Jean said...

Wow...this looks delicious. How to make dashi the stock?

Kai W. said...

This looks delish, J!

Dora said...

Looks delicious and healthy! :)

tigerfish said...

I like your chawanmushi - a lot of ingredients!

milkshake214 said...

My favorite!! Definitely need to try this recipe as DH and DS like chawan mushi. We order it whenever we see it on the menu~

jen ® said...

wow your chawan mushi is very nice *thumbs* i made my own chawan mushi before but i had to steam it again and again because the middle part very hard to cook. but then can see bubbles on top of the egg, not nice already :< perhaps i added too much of dashii stock to my egg mixture..

Carolyn Jung said...

My Mom used to always fret if her Chinese egg custard with ground pork ended up with any bubbles in it. It's a delicate dish, and there's definitely an art to cooking it. Yours looks perfect. I just want to dig a spoon into it.

Tastes of Home said...

thanks jen! hmm maybe - i guess i just got lucky with my first time lol

thanks Carolyn - yeah my mom too would totally fret - but I think chawan mushi is relatively easier to keep smooth than the steamed egg Chinese style.. hehe

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