Chawan-mushi(茶碗蒸し) is a savory dinner custard that has a delicate and rich taste. Served hot or cold, this is a favorite side dish in Japanese cuisine, especially when part of a course meal, but it can be enjoyed anytime. The main ingredients here are chicken, shrimp, and shitake mushrooms, but other common ingredients include ham, bamboo shoots, and kamaboko, a kind of fish paste cake.
It s traditionally served in a chawan, a special ceramic cup especially for this dish with a small lid, however, any heat resistant cup or mug is fine. There are 2 cooking options below, traditional steaming or using an oven.
- 3 eggs
- 4 oz.(115g) boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 8 small raw shrimp(prawns)
- 2 leaves spinach or 4 snow peas
- 4 dried shitake mushrooms
- 1tsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. sake
- salt and sake for shrimp
- 2 cups dashi stock(bonito is best)
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. mirin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Soak dried shitake mushrooms in water for about an hour until soft. Dried shitake float, so you can keep them under the water with a pan lid or dish. Drain mushrooms, cut off and discard stems and cut a decorative "X" on top of each mushroom.
- Combine seasoning ingredients in a small pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and cool.
- Remove any fat from chicken breast and cut into 8 small pieces. Mix sake and soy sauce and sprinkle over chicken.
- Shell and de-vein shrimp. Sprinkle with salt and sake.
- Blanch spinach in boiling water and cut into 2 inch(5cm) pieces. For snow peas, after blanching, cut in half.
- Beat eggs lightly, trying not to make it frothy. Mix in cooled seasoning broth and strain through a cheesecloth.
- Divide the mixture between 4 chawan cups if you have them, or other heat resistant cups or mugs. Add chicken , shrimp, and vegetables. Place a mushroom cap on top. The cups should b about 7/10 full.
- Stove top method-Place cups in a steamer or pan with water. Cups should be covered. Chawan cups have a ceramic lid, otherwise cover with a towel or aluminum foil, poke a hole in the foil. Cover pan and steam for 2 minutes on high heat, then reduce heat to low and steam for another 15 minutes. A toothpick will come out clean when done.
- Oven method-Preheat oven to 400°F(205ºC). Cover cups with foil and make a hole. Place cups in a deep pan with boiling water. The water should be to a level of about 1/3 the height of the cups. Cook for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 360°F(180ºC) and cook for another 15 minutes.
- Ideally, shrimp and another ingredient will be peeping out from the top. Serve hot or chilled.