Chawanmushi is a Japanese egg custard appetizer which consists of ginkgo nuts, shiitake mushrooms, kamaboko (Japanese fish cake), and an egg mixture flavored with dashi, soy sauce, and mirin. The egg custard is steamed in a cup and often served as a cold or hot appetizer. There are many variation and we also put other seasonal ingredients include shrimp, fish, or veggies. I’ll be sharing a basic egg custard with chicken today.
If you order Chawanmushi at Japanese restaurants often, I hope you give this recipe a try because it’s very easy and inexpensive to make it at home. For dashi, I highly recommend you use dashi packet or make it from scratch since that’s the soup base of this dish. However, you can follow this quick method with MSG-free instant dashi powder as well.
We always like to eat chawanmushi with uni (sea urchin) and ikura (salmon roe) on top. It’s a little bit of luxury and I can’t describe how delicious it is.
Before moving onto the recipe, I want to thank Amelia of Amelia’s De-ssert for the blog awards. Thank you Amelia!
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- 2 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 3 Tbsp. water
- ½ cup dashi
- ½ - 1 chicken thigh, rinsed, pat dry
- ½ Tbsp. sake
- 1 large egg
- 6 thin round slices carrot
- 6 precooked ginkgo nuts
- 1 oz (30 g) brown shimeji mushrooms
- 6 thin slices kamaboko (fish cake)
- 4 mitsuba (Japanese wild parsley) or 1 green onion/scallion
- 2 pieces of uni (sea urchin)
- 2 Tbsp. ikura (salmon roe)
- In a small bowl, combine dried shiitake in and water and let it soak for 15 minutes. When shiitake becomes soft, slice it thinly and keep the liquid.
- Put the liquid from Step 1 into a measuring cup and fill with dashi until you have ½ cup of liquid.
- Cut chicken into bite size pieces and marinate the chicken in sake for 15 minutes.
- Cut out the carrot slices into flower shape with vegetable cutters.
- Whisk the egg in a medium bowl. Add the seasonings and dashi mixture from Step 2 into the bowl and mix well.
- Then strain the mixture through a fine sieve into another bowl.
- Place two empty chawanmushi cups in a medium pot. Pour water until it covers half way up the exterior of the cups. Remove the cups and start boiling water.
- Tie mitsuba like this.
- Divide all the ingredients into chawanmushi cups; I started with chicken, shiitake, ginkgo nuts, and shimeji. Then put more colorful ingredients like kamaboko and mitsuba on top.
- Gently pour the egg mixture into the cups, keep some ingredients on top uncovered with egg mixture. Cover with the lid or use aluminum foil if lid is not available.
- Once water starts boiling, reduce the heat to low. Place the cups gently inside the hot water and cover the pot. Cook for 25-30 minutes on the lowest heat. If you do not add the chicken, the cooking time should only be 15-20 minutes. Insert a skewer in the center of the cup to check if the egg is done. Put uni and ikura on top.