Chawanmushi Recipe: How to Make this SavouryJapanese Egg Custard


Have you tried Chawanmushi, the savoury egg custard with an umami edge? The popular side dish is commonplace on Japanese menus, but we've also recently seen Western chefs switching on to its silky depths in their chawanmushi recipes.

Massimo Bottura served it as an opening appetizer at the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018 gala dinner, while chawanmushi also appeared on Pettersen's winning platter at Bocuse d'Or Europe this month.

But chawanmushi is also within easy reach of humble home cooks where the versatile comfort food can be tailored to individual taste, or even leftover ingredients in the fridge.

What is Chawanmushi?

Chawanmushi is a traditional Japanese hot appetizer or side dish made from steamed savoury egg custard set in a rice bowl or tea cup flavoured with dashi, soy sauce, and mirin.

The basic egg base lends itself to a variety of favourite fillings like prawns, chicken, gingko nuts, kamaboko steamed fish cake, shitake mushrooms or spring onions (check out the ideas below) and toppings like salty roe.

Chawanmushi is usually eaten with a spoon allowing the silky, quivering like custard to be scooped up by the mouthful.

So how do you make Chawanmushi?

Making chawanmushi is very simple. The clue is in the name "chawan" meaning teacup or rice bowl, and "mush" meaning steamed in Japanese.

Chawanmushi ingredients are store cupboard essentials put together using simple techniques - lightly beaten eggs, to which dashi, soy and mirin are added, then strained and steamed in individual bowls, or ramekins, in a water bath for 10-15 minutes until set.

Chawanmushi Recipe

Chef Brady Williams of Seattle's Canlis walks us through how to make chawanmushi in this video recipe from Saveur:

Chawanmushi Ideas:

Check out these ideas which highlight just chawanmushi lends itslef to creative toppings and fillings: