Jennie Tai
Chawanmushi Japanese

Recipe Box: Ikura Chawanmushi

Ikura Chawanmushi is one of my favorite Japanese appetizers that I’ve loved since I was too little to eat sushi. When my parents took me to Japanese restaurants as a kid, I was too young to have raw fish – so they would order Chawanmushi for me instead. If you haven’t had Chawanmushi before, it’s a soft, steamed egg custard that often incorporates chicken, fish, mushrooms, and sometimes shrimp as well. Made perfectly, the texture of the custard should be soft and silky. During my visit to San Francisco, I picked up a small Chawanmushi pot from Japan Town, and brought it back home with me to DC. Since then, I’ve been trying to perfect my recipe, and I’m happy to say – after a few trial and errors – I’ve finally perfected it. Enjoy!

{ Instant Dashi }

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Dashi (or chicken stock) / 5 grams (1 small packet) of instant dashi to 1 cup of water.
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 tsp Mirin / Chinese Rice Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 tsp Chicken Powder
  • Optional: Fish Cakes, Shrimp, Shiitake Mushrooms, or Chopped Chicken
  • Optional Toppings: Masago, Sesame Oil & Chopped Spring Onions

Equipment:

    • 2 Chawanmushi Cups
    • Large Steaming Pot
    • Chopsticks (for stirring) / Or anything else that will not create air bubbles
    • Mixing Bowl

 

Directions:

  1. Boil 1 Cup of water and 5 grams of Dashi. Set aside.
  2. Bring 2-3 Inches of water to boil in the Steaming Pot. Place a rack inside for your Chawanmushi Pots later
  3. Take a mixing bowl, and crack two eggs. Gently stir (DO NOT BEAT) the eggs gently in cutting motions with the Soy Sauce, Mirin, and Chicken Powder. Be careful not to create air bubbles, as this will lead the mixture to rise and have air bubbles in the custard after it is cooked. You want it to be soft, and silky – not bubbly, or overflowing.
  4. After the dashi has cooled, pour it into the egg mixture and stir.
  5. Pour this mixture through a strainer, and into your chawanmushi cups (should fill two).
  6. Drop a few slices of chicken, shrimp, fish cake, or mushrooms inside – and close the lid.
  7. Place the cups on the rack inside of the steaming pot, above the water, and close the lid to let it cook in the steam for about 10 minutes on medium heat.
  8. Turn off the heat, and with an oven mit, or tongs – take out the cups and place them on a heat resistant pad.
  9. Take off the lid, and top with chopped Spring Onions, a spoon of Masago (or whatever caviar of your choice), and a few drops of Sesame Oil.

It took me a few days to perfect this recipe. If you’ve been following me on twitter, then you know how much of a disaster it was the first time! After a few trial and errors – I am confident that this recipe works, and I hope you enjoy it.

Have fun!

Chawanmushi

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