Chawanmushi is a Japanese traditional dish.
Chawanmushi is a very common and typical menu for seasonal events or celebrations. It is served not only at home but also at luxury restaurants.
It is a kind of delicate dish that reflects chef’s cooking techniques. However, its recipe is actually very easy, and anyone can cook it.
What tools are needed?
Chawanmushi is a steamed dish, and cooked with a steamer. However, even without an actual steamer, you can cook Chawanmushi using a one-size-fits-all steamer, which is a tool to make a pan/pot like a steamer.
Ingredients (3 servings)
- 1 egg
- Broth (3 times as much as beaten egg)
- 2 pinches of salt
- Lily bulb (one-third cut)
- Carrot (3 slices)
- Shiitake mushroom (half cut)
You can also use anything else you like. The typical ingredients are Matsutake mushroom, chestnut, ginkgo nut, other seasonal food, Kamaboko (steamed fish paste), shrimp, chicken and mitsuba parsley. Some ingredients might be hard to find outside Japan, so you can use seasonal ingredients sold in local.
First prepare ingredients. Carrots will look beautiful when cut into decorative shapes. Then take apart lily bulb one by one to wash and drain. If you use nuts such as chestnuts and ginkgo nuts, peel or cut them into appropriate size. Also, if you use hard ingredients like root vegetables, boil them in advance.
2. Set the one-size-fits-all steamer in a pan
Once you put the one-size-fits-all steamer in a pan, it can work as an instant steamer. Do not forget to pour water on the base.
3. Make egg mixture
Beat and mix the egg with salt. Then add broth and filter the egg mixture. It is important to mix it gently without making bubbles. If it has bubbles inside, the air comes out when it is steamed and makes holes on the top, which leads to bad looking and uncomfortable texture. Once you filter the egg mixture, pour it in each cup.
As seen in the picture above, there are still bubbles on the top. These bubbles also can make holes, so make sure to remove these bubbles with thin kitchen towel, etc.
4. Set the cups on the one-size-fits-all steamer
Put the pieces of boiled lily bulb in the cups and cover them with aluminum foil. Place the cups on the one-size-fits-all steamer.
First, steam the egg mixture over high heat for 3 minutes to let it become moderately solid. It’s still soft but solid enough to keep shape with the ingredients on. So, put sliced carrot and Shiitake mushroom gently. The ingredients should stick out so that they can be seen from the top. Put the lid again and continue to steam over low heat for 12 minutes.
How to add a Western touch
In Japan, dried bonito and kelp are commonly used for broth of Chawanmushi, but not a few people dislike fish-originated flavor in Western countries. In such cases, chicken/beef stock or bouillon soup can be used instead. Also, by using radish, garbanzo, shrimp, flounder, mushroom, cilantro, etc., you can add a Western touch but still maintain features of traditional Japanese Chawanmushi.
The taste and flavor of broth is a key to good Chawanmushi. So, the broth should be extracted slowly and carefully. Let’s try to cook Chawanmushi with your favorite ingredients!