Chawan-mushi”is Japanese savory steamed egg custard, containing shrimp, chicken, Shiitake mushrooms, Ginkgo nuts, lily roots, ”Kamaboko” board（boiled fish sausage) etc., steamed in a cup.
It is a popular dish of Japanese cuisine, and it is a classic menu in Japanese restaurants and Sushi restaurants as a side dish. Although it is made at home, it is not so often offered on a daily basis and may be eaten outside.
My grandmother used to made “Chawan-mushi” with a steamer. Nowadays, it has become easier to make using a microwave oven than a steamer at home.
”Chawan-mushi” is popular for both men and women, both young and old because it has a smooth taste and the combination of all ingredients is very delicious.
It is served not only in small teacups, but also large serving bowl.
It is served hot in winter, chilled in summer.
Depending on the region and home, there are variations in ingredients such as shellfish, white fish, chestnut, bamboo shoots, vermicelli, “Fu” (Japanese wheat gluten) and so on.
There are “Odamaki-mushi” with udon, “Kuuya-mushi” with Tofu.
Western soup stocks, are mainly obtained from vegetables and wild meat. On the other hand, the soup stock used in Japan is mostly seafood and vegetables, such as bonito, mackerel, kelp, shiitake mushrooms, dried shrimp, and shellfish.
One of the characteristics of soup used in Japan is that it is dried. Dry matter is literally a dried material. By draining the moisture of the material, it not only enhances preservability, but also has the effect of condensing delicious flavors.
Four typical soup stocks : Bonito, Kelp, Sardines, Shiitake
For the Dashi stock
10 g Dashi Kombu (dried tangle [kelp] for making stock)
20g Katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
For the Chawan-mushi
2 eggs (100g)
300ml of ”Dashi” stock salt
For the ”Dashi” soup stock
1. Mix eggs with the image of cutting egg whites.
Tip: Mix while making the ”Saibashi” chopsticks touch the bottom of the bowl.
2. Mix the ”Dashi” stock and salt in a measuring cup and let cool. With a slightly damp paper towel, wipe the kelp gently. Put 1L of water and kelp in a pan and leave it for about 1 hour.
3. Heat the pot over low heat and pull out the kelp just before boiling. Turn off the heat when it boils and put the bonito. Allow 1-2 minutes for the bonito to sink to the bottom of the pot. Gently strain with a strainer lined with paper towels.
Making Dashi in a traditional way takes time so many people usually use powdered Dashi seasoning.Using microwave and “Donburi” (big bowl ,16cm in diameter, 6cm in depth) technique.
Tip: The ratio of egg to ”Dashi” stock is 1: 2.5
4. Ingredients should be less than 1/5 of egg and Dashi mixture.This is because the eggs will not solidify due to moisture coming out of the ingredients. First cook the ingredients in microwave oven（heat at 600W for 30 seconds without wrapping ) then pour the egg and Dashi mixture.Pour the egg solution up to 80% of the container since eggs expand when heated.
5. Cover the bowl with Saran wrap softly, pierce about 10 holes with a toothpick, and heat in a microwave.Heat in microwave for 3 minutes first.
6. After that, heat three times for 10 seconds each. Microwave for 3 minutes and 30 seconds in total. Adding heat little by little prevents air holes from forming in Chawanmushi.In the case of a 600w microwave oven, first heat continuously for 2 minutes and 30 seconds, then microwave for 10 seconds each, for a total of about 3 minutes.
Tip: The ratio of egg to ”Dashi” stock is 1: 3
7. Wipe off the Shiitake mushrooms dust with a paper towel and cut off the shaft. Cut the shaft and shade, split the shaft vertically, and cut the shade into thin slices.Tips: You can use whatever you like, such as chicken, shrimp or ginkgo. However, in the case of ingredients that easily get moisture or ingredients that are difficult to pass through fire, boil or stir in advance.
8. Prepare a steamer（Should be prepared to steam comes out by boiling hot water of the steamer). Mix the beaten egg and the ”dashi” stock, taking care not to make bubbles. Then drain the mixture throug the strainer. By draining with the strainer, you can make smooth “Chawan-mushi”.
Tip: Do not forcibly filter what remains on the strainer.Remove the bubbles on the surface of egg mixture（Use a lighter to remove bubbles easily).Put chicken, shrimp, Shiitake mushroom, Kamaboko, ginkgo nuts, into the bowl, and pour gently. Once again remove the bubbles on the surface of egg mixture.
Tip: Let's pour it gently not to make bubbles. Surface bubbles can be removed with a lighter flame. By carefully removing bubbles, the finish is even more beautiful.
9. Cover the cup with aluminum foil. Place the cup in a steamed steamer, cover the steamer and steam for 1-2 minutes on high heatsince the lid of the steamer has been opened and the temperature has dropped down.
10. Put Saibashi chopsticks between the steamer and the lid (to prevent water drops from the steamer) and steam on low heat for 10-15 minutes.When you stab the center with a bamboo skewer and a clear soup comes out, it’s done).
11. Garnish chopped Japanese parsley and serve.
Tip: Adjust the temperature by placing Saibashi chopsticks between the steamer and its lid.
The Chawan-mushi be prevented from the many small holes made by steaming at high temperatures.
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