I haven’t been posting or blog visiting for a while because I just had wisdom tooth surgery last Friday (still ouch!). So amidst recuperating at home, sleeping at 10pm every night, catching up on some work, and playing fable2 on xbox360, I didn’t have a lot of online time left. And sadly, one of my beloved hamsters Nikole passed away suddenly yesterday, which couldn’t come at a worse time (not that anytime is a good time) T_T
No matter how busy life becomes, Halloween comes but once a year, so how can one miss cooking with pumpkin at this time of the year? Glad I still managed to sneak in some pumpkin into the cooking and make these adorable, (post-surgery-chew-friendly) pumpkin chawanmushi. The addition of pumpkin sweetens up this popular Japanese appetizer.
For those who aren’t familiar, Chawanmushi (茶碗蒸し) is egg custard that’s steamed in a tea cup and usually consists of an egg mixture flavored with soy sauce, sake and dashi. It is a traditional Japanese dish, commonly eaten as an appetizer. It can be eaten either hot and cool with a small spoon. I love to order this when I go to Japanese restaurants, but I realised that making it at home isn’t difficult at all and you can make all kinds of variations like this pumpkin variation by tweaking the basic recipe.
(makes 3-4 cups)
A) For the egg custard mixture::
– 3 eggs (4 if the eggs are small)
– 1 2/3 cups (about 250ml) kombu and bonito stock
– 1 tsp sugar
– 2 tsp sake or white cooking wine
– 3/4 to 1 tbsp light soy sauce
– Kamaboko fish cake slices
– 4 large Prawns, de-shelled and de-veined
– feel free to add other ingredients (such as mushrooms, chicken, Imitation sharks fin, gingko nuts etc)
– 80g (raw) pumpkin flesh (skin and seeds removed)
1. Blend the pumpkin until smooth using a blender.
2. Break the eggs into the bowl. Gently stir the eggs with a pair of chopsticks using a cutting action.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients from A to the eggs mixture, as well as 50g of blended pumpkin. Blend the mixture till fine. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve.
4. Place fish cakes, chopped prawns and other ingredients at the bottom of each cup and pour the egg mixture over (do not fill to the brim, leave some gap on top).
5. Cover the cups with lids, transparent food wrap or aluminum foil (do not leave an opening).
6. 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.
7. Steam the remaining blended pumpkin and 1 large prawn (half) for 5 minutes. Garnish on top of chawanmushi. You can also add some ebikko (egg roe) to garnish if you wish.
– Straining the mixture through a fine sieve prevents bubbles from forming on the surface of the custard.
– You can cheat by buying instant powdered kombu and bonito stock (I did!), or you can also make it from scratch.
– Use a ceramic material for steaming the egg custard. Plastic material will melt during steaming. I bought my tea cups at Daiso.
– When steaming the cups, make sure they are sealed, other wise the evaporating droplets will land on the custard during steaming and cause unsightly bubbles.
– Basic Chawanmushi