My friend Jess has gone to Japan 3 times and she can’t shut up about the food. One dish she told me about looked so darn cute, I just had to make it. Chawanmushi, meaning “steamed in a teacup,” is an appetizer or side dish often served at Japanese restaurants. It’s a light savory egg custard, similar in texture to flan (an acquired taste in my opinion). Traditionally seasoned with Dashi, Sake, and Mirin, chawanmushi takes on the flavor of whatever stocks and seasonings you put in it. So you can really get creative!
I figured with the changing Fall weather, some earthy mushroom flavors seemed fitting along with a sprinkle of purple shiso for garnish. If you don’t like mushrooms (and I know there’s a lot of you out there), I’ve included a chicken variation below that’s just as delicious.
This recipe requires a steamer, which (surprise!) I don’t have. So I made this recipe using two different methods. The first I made a makeshift steamer by placing 3 golf ball-sized aluminum foil balls at the bottom of a pot. I placed a heat-proof plate on top, then my chawanmushi ramekins. Worked like a charm!
For the second method, I used a bain-marie, placing the ramekins in a baking dish and filling the dish halfway with hot water. Covered the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in a 425F oven until the eggs set and jiggle. BIG mistake tho–I forgot to cover the individual ramekins with aluminum foil. This created tiny air bubbles on the surface of the egg custard. Probably a result of the condensation in the baking dish. BUT the inside was still incredibly silky smooth. So whichever method you use, make sure you cover each ramekin to get that perfectly glossy smooth surface that makes chawanmushi so appealing.
Chawanmushi is traditionally served as a side dish along with white rice, soup, and some kind of protein. I “American-ized” this recipe with the ingredients I already had and ate it with a crusty piece of bread and a side salad. It’s a pretty versatile dish with endless pairings and seasoning options. So please give it a try soon!
~*~ MUSHROOM CHAWANMUSHI ~*~
SERVES: 4 ⎪ LEVEL: EASY
Mise en Place
3 large eggs
2 cups mushroom stock
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon white wine
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 ounce dried shiitake or porcini mushrooms
purpled shiso leaves, thinly sliced
Playlist — Sakanaction
1. REHYDRATE THE MUSHROOMS
Place dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover with 2 cups room temperature water. Set aside for 1 – 2 hours (preferably overnight) until mushrooms are softened. Alternately, pour boiling water over the mushrooms and set aside for 20 minutes until softened. Thinly slice the mushrooms and reserve the mushrooms liquid. If you used the boiling method, let the liquid cool completely.
2. WHISK THE EGGS
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, mushroom liquid, salt, soy sauce, white wine, and Dijon. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, letting as much egg go through as possible.
3. STEAM THE EGGS
Divide the mushrooms evenly between 4 small teacups or ramekins, then pour the egg mixture over them to 3/4 of the way full. Cover each cup with aluminum foil and place in a steamer basket or bain-marie. Steam over medium heat 10 – 15 minutes or until the eggs are set with a slight wobble.
Remove the cups from the steamer and let sit, covered, for 2 – 3 more minutes. Garnish with purple shiso leaves and serve immediately.
These aren’t meant to be cooled and reheated, as it will alter the texture. But I placed a leftover ramekin in a 350F oven until warmed through with acceptable results.
~*~ CHICKEN VARIATION ~*~
Use chicken stock instead of the mushroom liquid, and Worcheshire sauce instead of soy sauce. In Step 1, cut 1 – 2 chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces. Mix chicken pieces with 1/2 teaspoon Worcheshire sauce and 1/2 teaspoon white wine. Let marinate for a couple minutes. Place the chicken pieces in teacups or ramekins and pour the egg mixture on top. Continue on to Step 3.
~*~ JAPANESE VARIATION ~*~
Replace mushroom liquid with Dashi stock, white wine with Sake, and Dijon with mirin. Substitute mushrooms with 4 – 5 pieces shrimp. Mix shrimp with 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon Sake. Let marinate for a couple minutes. Place the shrimp in teacups or ramekins and pour the egg mixture on top. Continue on to Step 3.
~*~ UDON VARIATION ~*~
Cook fresh udon noodles in well-salted boiling water until just tender, about 3 minutes. Drain the noodles and rinse under cold running water. Place in the teacups and continue on to Step 3.
How would you use Purple Shiso? Let me know what you’ve cooked and leave a comment below.