Make this delicate, Japanese steamed egg custard in under 20 minutes!
Chawanmushi is a Japanese savory steamed egg custard that is traditionally served in a tea cup. The dish often includes colorful toppings such as shiitake mushrooms, edamame, Japanese fish cake (kamaboko), ginkgo nuts, shrimp, sea urchin (uni), and large fish roe (ikura), making it a beautiful and delicate appetizer or side dish for any meal. The egg custard is silky and eggy with a slightly sweet, fish flavor from the dashi. If you have not tried this dish before, I encourage you to make this recipe and experience the tastiness of steamed egg custard!
I grew up eating Chinese steamed egg, which is very similar, but includes different seasonings and toppings and is not typically prepared in a teacup. Chawanmushi is more seafood-based, so I will prepare chawanmushi if I happen to have seafood ingredients on hand. At the time of this posting, it is near 100 degrees outside, but can you imagine having this dish on a cold, winter day? Yes, I eat this all the time in winter and it is my go-to food for my sick days.
I kept my egg custard pretty simple, topping it with only 4 ingredients: shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, ikura, and chopped green onions. Some of the ingredients may be more difficult to find in a standard grocery store so you may have to look visit an Asian grocery store or purchase online.
Specialty ingredients used in this recipe:
- Hondashi/dashi powder: powdered dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi) and dried kelp (kombu). It is used to make soup bases due to its rich umami flavor. Purchase in an Asian grocery store or online.
- Trout or salmon roe (ikura): red caviar from salmon or trout. The roe pops in your mouth and releases a salty flavor explosion. Ikura is used as a topping for dishes such as sushi, rice bowls, and steamed eggs. Purchase in a specialty grocery store like Whole Foods, select Asian grocery stores, or online.
Other Topping Options:
- Japanese fish cake (kamaboko): cured processed seafood product that is made from pureed fish and additives. It is steamed into the form of a cylindrical fish cake.
- Gingko nuts: seeds found from the inside of Gingko trees. It is tender and soft, similar to a chestnut
- Sea urchin (uni): creamy, rich, fishy sea urchin
- 100 g. or 2 large eggs
- 5 g. or 1 tsp. soy sauce
- 5 g. or 1 tsp. Hondashi/dashi powder
- 300 g. or 1 1/4 c. warm water
- 1 shiitake mushroom, sliced
- 2 shrimp, peeled
- 10 g. or 2 tsp. ikura (trout or salmon roe) to top
- chopped green onion to top
- In a small bowl, mix together dashi powder and warm water. Add eggs and soy sauce and whisk together. Pour the egg mixture through a strainer to remove any bubbles.
- Pour the strained egg mixture into 2 small bowls or ramekins. Cover the bowls with foil.
- Prepare a steamer and bring the water to a boil. Place the bowls in the steamer and steam on low heat for 10 minutes.
- Remove the foil from the bowls and add the following toppings to the eggs: 1 shrimp and 2 slices of shiitake mushrooms per bowl. Do not add the ikura and green onion! Place the foil back on the bowls and steam for an additional 5-8 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and let the steamed eggs sit in the steamer for 5 minutes before removing the lid.
- Top each bowl with 1 tsp. ikura and some chopped green onions. Enjoy!
- Steamed eggs should be served immediately
- If you do not cover the bowls with foil, water from the lid will drip onto the egg, resulting in a less smooth egg custard.