Food

How to make silky chawanmushi

By Elaine Ho
May 03, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 — I adore eggs so much that I can have them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper… you name it! 

Whether on its own or with a host of other ingredients, eggs are an absolute delight. 

Apart from just tasting good, eggs are also packed with nutrients, which is the main reason why this oval-shaped goodness is recommended for breakfast.

This dish is an example of the Japanese’s ability to whip up something so delicious yet healthy at the same time. 

Chawanmushi is made by steaming a mixture of egg, dashi, which can be replaced with chicken stock, soy sauce and mirin in a ceramic bowl. 

Sliced mushrooms, pieces of chicken and prawns and a small variety of other seafood are usually added to the bottom of the cup before the egg mixture is poured over it.

When enjoying a cup of chawanmushi, it’s always a delight to discover the hidden ingredients lying at the bottom of the cup. 

One thing you may observe the moment you break the surface of this delicate custard is a pool of clear liquid rising to the surface. This is perfectly normal, it is the remnants of the dashi which has separated from the egg as it sets.

It’s always a delight to discover the hidden ingredients lying at the bottom of a chawanmushi. — Picture by Elaine HoIt’s always a delight to discover the hidden ingredients lying at the bottom of a chawanmushi. — Picture by Elaine HoAs simple as it is, there are a few things that you have to be careful about when making this dish. Firstly, never whisk the eggs vigorously. It’s important for the egg mixture to be gently stirred together, by creating the letter “S” with a pair of chopsticks and then passing it through a sieve. 

This is to prevent the formation of bubbles as this will result in an uneven texture when you proceed to steam the mixture. Steaming this dish to just the right consistency is another tricky issue, but as long as you stick to the recipe and the instructions I have outlined here, I think you will have a silky-smooth custard that is a treat to your taste buds.

Chawanmushi

Serves 2

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Food safety note: Safe for all to eat. Do not dig into chawanmushi straight after it has been cooked as it may burn your lips.

Recipe:
3 large eggs
250ml hot water
1 teaspoon chicken stock granules
4 cooked prawns (optional)
2 shiitake mushrooms, soaked and then cut in halves
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
A dash of white pepper

Method:

1. Dissolve chicken stock granules in 250ml hot water and leave to cool.

2. Crack the eggs into a bowl, break the yolk and make a letter ”S” with your chopsticks.

3. Combine dissolved chicken stock with egg mixture.

4. Season with soy sauce, sesame oil and peper.

5. Strain mixture through the seive.

6. Meanwhile divide prawns and shiitake mushrooms and put iat the bottom of the cup.

7. Pour sieved egg mixture on top of prawns and mushrooms.

8. Once water is rapidly boiling in the steamer, put chawanmushi into steamer and steam on high heat for 1 minute.

9. Reduce to low heat and steam for further 10 minutes.

For more recipes, go to www.chopstickdiner.com