Chawanmushi (茶碗蒸し) is a savory egg custard dish which served as an appetizer in Japanese restaurants. It literary means ‘steamed in a tea bowl/cup’. Chawan in Japanese means tea bowl or bowl, and -Mushi means steamed.
Typically Chawanmushi includes ginkgo nuts, shiitake mushrooms, kamaboko fish cake and filled with an egg mixture that is flavored with dashi, soy sauce, and mirin.
I often put shrimp in Chawanmushi as it looks pretty when shrimp’s orange/red color peeks from top of the egg custard. My signature recipe for this dish includes ikura (salmon roe) and uni (sea urchin) on top of the Chawanmushi. It’s our favorite way to eat Chawanmushi and I hope you give it a try!
I hope you will enjoy making this Chawanmushi with shrimp recipe! If you try it, don’t forget to share your picture on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with #JustOneCookbook. Thank you so much for reading, and till next time!
Chawanmushi with Shrimp
- 2 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 3 Tbsp water (for hydrating the dried shiitake)
- ½ boneless, skinless chicken thigh (cut into small pieces; soak in 1 Tbsp sake to get rid of the unwanted smell)
- 4 shrimp (peeled and deveined; soaked in 1 Tbsp sake to get rid of the unwanted smell)
- 4 sprigs mitsuba (Japanese parsley) (or you can use scallion/green onion)
- 4 ginkgo nuts (pre-cooked; optional)
- ½ package shimeji mushrooms (1.8 oz, 50 g; bottom ends removed; separated into small clusters)
- 4 slices kamaboko (fish cake)
For the Egg Custard Mixture
- Gather all the ingredients. Feel free to replace the ingredients with any seasonal ingredients.
To Prepare the Ingredients
- In a small bowl, put 2 dried shiitake mushrooms and 3 Tbsp water and rehydrate for 15 minutes. When the shiitake becomes soft, squeeze the water out and slice them thinly. Tip: This liquid is shiitake dashi that you can use as a part of your ½ cup dashi (Japanese soup stock) in this recipe. To do that, strain the shiitake stock (to remove any impurities), and add more dashi until you get ½ cup total.
- Make a knot in each stem of 4 sprigs mitsuba (Japanese parsley), if you are using it. Divide all the ingredients into the individual cups. I start with small pieces of ½ boneless, skinless chicken thigh, the sliced shiitake, 4 ginkgo nuts, and ½ package shimeji mushrooms. Then, put 4 slices kamaboko (fish cake), 4 shrimp, and the mitsuba on top (the colorful ingredients should be at the top).
To Make the Egg Custard Mixture
- Whisk 1 large egg (50 g each w/o shell) in a medium bowl. Add ½ tsp mirin, ½ tsp usukuchi (light-colored) soy sauce, ¼ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt, and ½ cup dashi (Japanese soup stock). Mix well together.
- Then, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into another bowl. This helps making a silky texture.
- Pour the egg custard mixture into the prepared cups. Instead of covering the ingredients completely with egg, leave some ingredients exposed so chawanmushi will look nice. Remove any air bubbles with a spoon or bamboo skewer. Put the chawanmushi lids on (or tightly cover with foil).
To Cook the Chawanmushi
- Prepare a pot and lid that fits your chawanmushi cups. Add enough water to the pot to go halfway up the chawanmushi cups (but don‘t add the cups to the pot yet). Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to the LOWEST setting. Gently place the chawanmushi cups inside the hot water (it should not be boiling) and cover the pot with the lid. Cook 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 to see if the egg is done. If clear liquid comes out, it‘s done.
- Serve warm with 2 pieces uni (sea urchin) and 2 Tbsp ikura (salmon roe) on the side (optional). Place one of each on top of the chawanmushi right before you eat.
- 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.