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Chawanmushi

We love Chawanmushi! We tried this many times at home and it gets better (timing) with each attempt. They’re easy to make and I’m so glad we don’t have to run off to a sushi place every time we need a Chawanmushi fix.

Chawanmushi (Japanese egg custard steamed in a tea cup)
Chawanmushi

Ingredients
(makes 4 cups)

A) For the egg custard mixture::
3 eggs (4 if the eggs are small)
1 2/3 cups dashi (kombu and bonito) stock
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp sake or white cooking wine
3/4 to 1 tbsp light soy sauce

B) Things you can put as filling::
Kamaboko fish cake slices
Gingko nuts
Pumpkin, small dices
Shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
Prawns, shelled
Chicken breast fillet, thinly sliced
Shredded crabstick
Imitation sharks fin
Hon Shimeji mushrooms, just the tops (great for garnishing the top because they float up easily)

Directions
1. Break the eggs into the bowl and beat lightly with a fork.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients from A to the eggs mixture. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve for 1 -3 times.
3. Place the desired filling from B into each cup and pour the egg mixture over (do not fill to the brim, leave some gap on top).
4. Cover the cups with lids, heat-safe food wrap or foil.
5. Steam the cups over high heat for about 10 mins. To test if the chawanmushi is cooked, insert a bamboo stick into the mixture: if a little clear liquid comes out, it is cooked.

References
Cooking Around the World: Japanese by Masaki Ko
Chawanmushi Recipe from About.com

45 comments on “Chawanmushi”

  1. Thanks, Wiffy. Can’t wait to try it :-)

  2. Hi Wiffy,

    I tried making your chawanmushi today, and it turned out too wet instead of dry!

    Any help?

    Thanks!

    • Hi j, how long did you steam it? If it’s too watery you may need to steam a little longer. Did you also follow the same amount for the stock? You can try reducing the stock used too.

    • Hi i tried steaming it for 15 minutes, cos i saw that it was too dry.

      I tried the 2nd batch, and reduced the stock but it turned out the same!

      Please help:)

  3. hi wiffy
    how can I control the stove “fire” so that the egg will turn our smooth and not with holes? My MIL used to prepared but with lots of holes that makes it looks ugly? I heard if the stove “fire” is too high than it will have lots of “holes”.

    • Hi spinach, I think middle flame is ok.

      To prevent bubbles, refer to the cooking notes found at the end of this post. Basically you need to seal the cups when steaming. You have reminded me to update this post with the tips.

  4. Hi,

    so for the konbu and bonito stock, you simply add 1 and 2/3 cup of hot water to one sachet and dissolve the granules?

    Do I need to let it cool before adding it to the egg mixture?

    Also do the eggs need to be well combined i.e. like omelette mixture?
    Thanks in advance.

  5. Hello Wiffy

    Check with you the bonito stock you used is it the liquid type or powder? Do you add water so that the egg will be smooth? My MIL style of cooking she adds water, if yes, how much water should I add?

    Thanks!

    • Hi spinach, the bonito stock I used is the powder type, mixed with 1 2/3 cups water to form the stock, which is the main “liquid” for the chawanmushi. Hope this helps.

  6. Hi wiffy, where to buy the bowl & Kamaboko fish cake slices? can out the bowl into the eletric steamer? Thanks

    • Hi joeline, are you from Singapore?

      I got the tea cups at Daiso Singapore. I think they can be placed in electric steamer, you can check out the manual for instructions.

      I bought frozen kamaboko fish cake at supermarket. It usually come in a long tube form, you just have to slice them to smaller pieces.

  7. Sorry, i means the tea cuo but bowl… :P

  8. Hi, is there a need to cover the lids after the chawanmushi is cooked and take out from the steamer? what if my cups have no lids?

  9. Hi, i am a singaporean living in germany for work. I miss all the home cooked singapore food from my mum.. regrets not learning the skill from my mum T_T.. i would like to try to make some Chawanmushi. But what is kombu and bonito stock? How can i make them? Sorry.. i am a real noob..

  10. Hihi

    Thanks for this post! I followed your steps and my chawanmushi turned out very smooth on the first try even though I didn’t strain the mixture in the second step!

    My only problem was that the ingredients all sank to the bottom instead of floating in the middle. Any idea why? :)

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