Chawanmushi (“steamed in a tea bowl”) is a Japanese-style steamed egg custard dish that is usually prepared with ginkgo nuts. Sometimes the odor from fried egg lingers in the air amidst my home, which I find a bit nauseating (perhaps also because I do not eat eggs, but I cook egg dishes for my mom). But with steamed egg custard, I find it contributes less smell and actually quite appealing looking. Just think of soft, silky, and luscious eggy goodness; much like soft tofu, except for the yellow color. Land a big spoonful on top of some rice along with some sautéed vegetables and you have got yourself a complete, nutritious meal all in one vessel.
The secret to make a successful chawanmushi? NEVER oversteam! I like to cook my egg mixture in my rice cooker when the rice starts to boil. Additionally, for every egg used, I whisk in 2 tablespoons of water (or stock), so there is more liquidity to the dish rather than a dense ’custard’.
1. Whisk 3 eggs along with 6 tablespoons of water.
2. Add 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tbsp mirin, and 1 tbsp light soy sauce.
3. Add ins – don’t go too crazy because the eggs are the main feature. I kept this vegetarian by using sliced mushrooms, a bit of diced celery, and also some cilantro.
4. You can steam it over a pot of boiling water (about 7 minutes), but since I was cooking rice anyway, I plate the egg dish when the rice started to boil.