Celebrate the king of mushrooms with my silky Chawanmushi with Matsutake Mushroom recipe. Considered a prized delicacy as Japan‘s truffle, pine mushroom adds a heavenly aroma and flavor to this steamed savory egg custard appetizer.
Chawanmushi is a savory egg custard that is often served as an appetizer. The egg mixture is flavored with dashi stock, soy sauce, and mirin, and it is steamed in a cup. There are many variations of Chawanmushi and restaurants in Japan usually include seasonal ingredients. Today I used one of the most popular ingredients in fall – Matsutake mushroom.
As I mentioned in my Matsutake Gohan post, the matsutake mushroom (pine mushroom) is prized by the Japanese for its distinct aromatic odor and flavor. Its place in Japanese cuisine is very similar to black and white truffle for the French. In Japan, top-quality domestic Matsutake mushrooms could sell for as much as $1000 per pound.
Supermarkets sell imported Matsutake mushrooms for less expensive prices, but people still try to buy domestically as long as the price is not too expensive. Luckily, even though we live in the US, we are able to get fresh Matsutake mushrooms at a nearby Japanese supermarket (grown in the US) for about $40 per pound.
Matsutake mushroom is typically enjoyed in a soup or rice dish, but Chawanmushi is another fantastic way to enjoy this special flavor with its unique essence and taste.
Chawanmushi with Matsutake Mushroom
For the Seasonings
- Gather all the ingredients. Marinate 4 pieces shrimp (or chicken that‘s cut into small pieces) in ½ Tbsp sake for 15 minutes.
To Prepare the Ingredients
- Clean 1 matsutake mushroom with a damp towel or paper towel. Do not wash the mushroom. Cut it into thin slices.
- Whisk 1 large egg (50 g each w/o shell) in a medium bowl, without making air bubbles. Add and whisk all the seasonings: ½ cup dashi (Japanese soup stock), ½ tsp mirin, ½ tsp usukuchi (light-colored) soy sauce, and ¼ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt. Then, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into another bowl. This makes a refined and silky custard texture.
To Assemble the Chawanmushi
- Divide all the ingredients into individual chawanmushi cups. For each cup, I start with one shrimp, a ginkgo nut, and some sliced matsutake mushroom. Then, I add two slices of narutomaki (fish cakes) and another shrimp. Lastly, I tie a knot in each stem of mitsuba (optional) and place it on top of the shrimp. (Place the colorful ingredients near the surface.) Gently pour the egg mixture into the cups without creating bubbles. Instead of covering the ingredients completely with the egg mixture, leave some ingredients exposed so it will be visually pleasing when cooked. Put on the cup‘s lid; if you don‘t use chawanmushi cups, cover tightly with aluminum foil.
To Cook the Chawanmushi
- In a large pot, boil enough water to go halfway up the sides of the chawanmushi cups. Once boiling, reduce the heat to the lowest heat. Gently place the chawanmushi cups inside the gently simmering water. Cover the pot with the lid. Steam for 25–30 minutes on the lowest heat. If you are not adding shrimp and/or chicken, the cooking time should only be 15–20 minutes. Insert a skewer in the center of the custard. If clear liquid comes out, it‘s done.
- Serve the Chawanmushi with Matsutake Mushroom warm with a spoon.
- You can keep the leftovers in a chawanmushi cup and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To reheat, steam for 2 minutes.