Here is a recipe for making a Japanese traditional dish, "chawanmushi" with a steamer.
The product we used:
How to use a steamer: Basics
We will use a three-tier steamer to cook chawanmushi. We fill the bottom layer with water and place food on the top layers.
Place the pot on the stove and make the water on the bottom layer simmer. The water turns into steam and rises, cooking the food on the top layers.
Steamers come in different materials: wood, metal, glass, plastic, silicon, enamel, etc. In this article, we will use a steamer made of stainless steel.
You can follow this instruction for other multi-layer steamers, since they all work in the same way.
Ingredients (for 4 servings)
- Egg … 3
- Dashi stock … about 450ml
- Toppings … your preferences
- Salt or light soy sauce (usukuchi) … about 1/2 teaspoon
The custard of chawanmushi is prepared with the egg mixture and dashi stock. The egg mixture is filled with toppings and served in Japanese teacups. The ingredients are cooked in a steamer.
The egg-to-dashi stock ratio is 1 to 3. You can choose any toppings that you like. The typical ingredients for chawanmushi include shrimps, chicken meat, kamaboko (fish cakes), shiitake mushrooms, edamame (green soybeans), carrots, mitsuba (Japanese parsley) or ginnan (gingko nuts).
You can add some sliced radishes, after boiling it rapidly and cooling them down with cold water. Sliced chicory, asparagas, spinach or turnips are also great for toppings.
How to make chawanmushi
Here is how to make chawanmushi with a stainless steel steamer.
1. Prepare the ingredients
Slice each ingredient for topping into small bite-size pieces.
2. Prepare the egg mixture
Break eggs into a bowl. Whisk it and then strain it through a fine mesh strainer to make the custard smooth. Mix it with dashi stock and salt (or light soy sauce). Whisk eggs softly so that it won't become foamy.
3. Put the toppings in cups
Place the sliced ingredients for toppings in teacups.
4. Pour the egg mixture into teacups
Pour the egg mixture into the teacups, on top of the ingredients. Pour slowly to avoid the egg becoming foamy. If you see egg foam, remove it with a piece of kitchen paper. The chawanmushi would look beautiful if you make this extra small effort.
5. Cover the teacups with aluminum foil
After placing the ingredients and the mixture, cover the teacups with aluminum foil.
6. Prepare a steamer
Fill the bottom layer with water and bring the water to a boil.
7. Place the cups in the steamer
When the water has started boiling, place the teacups covered with aluminum foil on the top layers of the steamer.
After placing the chawanmushi in the pot, cover up the steamer with the lid. Steam them in high heat for 3 minutes. Turn down the heat to low and steam them for about another 10 minutes. When the egg is solidified and has a smooth surface, it's done.
Create your own flavor with different dashi stocks
The key for making delicious chawanmushi is choosing the right kind of dashi stock. You can combine katsuobushi(bonito flakes), kombu (dried kelp), niboshi (dried small fishes) to create your favorite dashi flavor. Create your own flavor by adding ingredients you like.