About 6 months ago, I was asked to be featured on Sunday Times’ Singapore Cooks section -BOY WAS I THRILLED! I think it might have been the trigger point for this blog – I knew that I wanted to share my recipes with people 🙂 Rebecca (the journalist) is a friend from school so it was really great that she was covering this column, so after some days of deliberation we decided to go ahead with the recipe for Chawanmushi – simple and fuss free! Rebecca wrote a great story from whatever information I’d given her – check it out by clicking on the picture above!
This is a recipe that I’d gotten many years ago from the internet and tweaked it with the help of my aunt who spent much of her life in Japan and my cousin who is half Japanese – the secret is in covering the vessels, the timing and strength of fire AND the way you beat the eggs. Here’s the recipe for you:
4 Chawanmushi cups with lids (if you do not have these, chinese tea cups would suffice but you’ll need some aluminium foil to cover them)
Measuring Jug (used for pouring)
Metal Trivet (it’s the metal thingy you put at the bottom of pots for steaming)
4 eggs (medium sized)
2½ cups of dashi (Japanese Kelp Stock) or chicken stock
1 – 2 tbsp of Japanese soy sauce (depending on your taste)
1 tbsp mirin or Chinese rice wine
Asian Style: Ocean Trout Roe/ Flying Fish Roe (Tobikko)/ Salmon Roe (Ikura) with Sesame Oil and Chives
Fusion Style: Lumpfish Caviar/ Avruga Roe with Truffle Oil and Chives
1. Place the metal trivet in a large pot filled with water (up to just below the trivet) and bring to a boil
2. Break eggs into a large bowl and stir gently in a cutting motion with a pair of chopsticks. Stir until well mixed. *Note: This method of mixing prevents bubbles from forming and ensures that the chawanmushi will have a smooth beancurd-like texture.
3. Using the chopsticks, gradually stir the dashi or chicken stock into the eggs. *Note: Be careful not to beat the mxiure as we do not want to incorporate too much air into the eggs which will give rise to bubbles in the chawanmushi.
4. Add the soy sauce and mirin to the mixture.
5. Pass the mixture through a sieve into the measuring jug for easy pouring – this helps to remove any lumps/ egg bits in the mixture.
6. Pour mixture into chawanmushi cups until ¾ of the way, cover and place in pot to steam. (If you do not have chawanmushi cups, use chinese tea cups/ small bowls and cover individually with aluminium foil/ a damp tea towel. Importantly – the vessel in which the chawanmushi mixture is in will need to be covered to prevent steam from entering, this ensures that the chawanmushi is smooth)
7. Steam for 2 minutes on high heat and then turn down the heat to low for another 10 minutes.
8. Remove chawanmushi cups from the steamer and set aside to cool for 2 minutes – uncovered.
9. To garnish – add ½ tsp of any caviar/ roe and season with a dash of oil (Sesame for an Asian Flavour, Truffle Oil for a bit of a Fusion twist). Add 2 strips of chives. Serve.
Here are some additional tips:
a) Texture: The above recipe achieves a consistency like that of soybean curd, if you prefer a sturdier texture, you can reduce the amount of stock used accordingly.
b) Ingredients: You may add other ingredients to the chawanmushi such as chicken pieces, fish cake, prawns and mushrooms. Add them just before placing the chawanmushi cups in the steamer.
This is really a simple appetizer to make that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and make!