2 Oct 2013

Japanese Steamed Custard Egg / Chawanmushi 茶碗蒸し

My family has always been making a variety of steamed eggs. Of course my mum would steam those common Chinese ones. But on and off, I will prepare Japanese steamed egg. Today I am going to write about such Japanese styled one.

Japanese steamed custard egg, the chawanmushi (chawan-mushi・茶碗蒸し) literally means ‘steam in a tea cup/bowl’. Not only with dearly soft and silken egg texture, chawanmushi is deepened with dashi stock flavour, further topping up with savory ingredients within.

For me, chawanmushi is always important to complete a Japanese set meal or teishoku 定食 that comes with rice when eating out. It serves as a nice home dish too. This is how I do my chawan-mushi at home, a rather simple one. I confess I borrow quite a bit from the Chinese steamed egg 蒸水蛋 way.

Japanese Steamed Custard Egg / Chawanmushi  茶碗蒸し
2 eggs
3/4 cup (0.9 Japanese cup, 180 ml) dashi stock (used a pinch of bonito dashi granule with water)
1/2 TBsp mirin
to taste salt

1 TBsp minced pork (or diced chicken meat)
1 crab stick, cut into 4s (or 2 slices narutomaki or pink kamaboko, or else kaori-hako)
4 ginkgo nuts
2 TBsp buna-shimeji mushrooms (or sliced shiitake mushroom)
sake Japanese cooking wine
tiny bit of cooking oil
Servings: 2

1. Beforehand:
- Knead a pinch of salt, a bit of both sake and cooking oil to the minced pork, set aside to marinade.
- Shell & peel ginkgo nuts, remove if any middle sprout, simmer with some boiling water and a pinch of salt for a few minutes. Drain.
- Use a pair of chopsticks, break eggs, add in dashi stock, mirin & salt, stir to combine. Do not froth!

2. Divide and place minced pork, crab stick, ginkgo nuts, shimeji mushrooms inside two serving cups or chawan with a drop of cooking oil. Strain egg mixture into both chawan-s.

3. Place the covered chawan-s onto a pre-heated steamer, steam over low heat for about 11 minutes (depending the size and content, for standard Japanese cawan about 10 ~ 12 minutes), or till a skewer inserted in the centre with no liquid flowing out.

4. Remove the chawanmushi from the steamer. Serve warm. 

Refrain from steaming the chawanmushi over very high heat and/or pro-long in steaming, otherwise, the custard egg would be spongy in rough texture. The required time might be vary also. Wide mouth in shallow egg mixture steam would be faster to cook. A 60% fill takes shorter time to set if compare to 90% filled chawan. Heat level from different stoves are of course varies too. Adjust accordingly.

Happy cooking. Jaa ne. Mata.

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Herewith a simple cawanmushi another time I did. Just egg, water, dashi, Japanese cooking wine, a ball of minced pork. My cup, 11-minute is just perfect.

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