When someone says ‘custard’, we generally think of a sweet treat like the pasteis de Nata of Portugal or the custard we like to pour generously over our apple pie or fruit crumble. The Japanese, however, like to do their custard a little differently and often make it savoury. Traditionally eaten from teacups, chawanmushi is a steamed savoury egg custard served as an appetiser. The silky-smooth custard is full of fillings such as steamed fish cakes, shiitake mushrooms, vegetables, chicken, prawns or spring onions. This delicious delicacy is simple to make, taking just a few minutes. Our recipe produces enough for four people. As well as the ingredients listed here, you could also add small pieces of chicken or vegetables of your choice. Why not cut the vegetables into pretty shapes for a really special dinner party starter?
Ingredients for chawanmushi
- 3 eggs
- 240ml dashi stock (mixed with water)
- 4 large prawns (cooked)
- 4 shiitake mushrooms
- 8 slices steamed fish cake
- 1 tsp cooking sake
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- pinch of salt
How to make chawanmushi
Soak the shiitake mushrooms in water and gently beat the eggs in a bowl, being careful not to froth them up. In a different bowl, mix together the soy sauce, dashi stock, cooking sake, sugar and salt. Add to the beaten eggs while stirring constantly. Strain through a fine sieve to get a perfectly smooth mixture.
Drain the mushrooms, remove the stems and slice in half. Put two mushroom halves, one large prawn and two slices of steamed fish cake in each small cup or bowl, then fill to the top with the egg mixture.
Put the cups or bowls into a rice cooker or steamer and steam over a low heat for approximately 15 minutes until the custard has set.
Eating Japanese in Singapore
If Japanese cuisine fascinates you and you love the varied flavours of umami, you’ll find plenty of places in Singapore to buy the ingredients needed for your own Japanese recipes. Or, if time is short, you can have delicious dishes delivered to your home or office from Japanese restaurants in Singapore. Some foodpanda favourites are Maneko Japanese Restaurant, Kemono Healthy Japanese, Odoru Kuma BBQ and Yakiniku-Oh.