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Post image for Recipe Box: Ikura Chawanmushi

Recipe Box: Ikura Chawanmushi

by Jennie Tai on March 22, 2011

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 }


  • 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


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



  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!


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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

The Spanish Wok March 24, 2012 at 8:36 am

This looks awesome, congrats on finally getting it right.


Jennie March 25, 2012 at 10:05 pm

thank you! :)


Miss C March 29, 2012 at 8:47 am

Beautiful! Now I just have to find these pots… or mabe can simply try in small ramequins and cover them?


Jennie March 29, 2012 at 8:48 am

Thank you! Sometimes I use small bowls, and even coffee mugs. :)


Malee Holland November 10, 2014 at 8:48 pm

I think you may have a typo: Mirin is rice cooking wine, not rice vinegar. The difference between the two in the final dish would be most noticeable! I make chawanmushi a lot, often with ground pork or turkey and mushrooms or onions, topped with a sesame ginger sauce. I don't think I've heard of using vinegar in the custard, before, though.


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