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Halal Chawanmushi Recipe: How To Make This Famous Savoury Egg Custard From Japan

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Atiqah Mokhtar  •  Jun 22, 2020

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[Updated 7 July 2021] Chawanmushi (savoury egg custard) is a classic Japanese appetizer that's super delicious. Its name literally translates to "steamed in a teacup/tea bowl", and it's made of a mixture of eggs and broth which is steamed, with fillings inside like fishcakes, ginkgo nuts and chicken. This light savoury dish is not only packed with umami flavour but is easy to make too. And you can use pretty much anything you have on-hand for the fillings! You don't even need any special cups or bowls either - you can use ramekins, small bowls, mugs or teacups that you have! So if you've ever wondered how to make chawanmushi, we've got you covered with our easy halal chawanmushi recipe. Ingredients (makes 2 - 4 chawanmushi, depending on the size of your cup/bowl)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (250ml) dashi (Japanese soup stock. You can find halal-certified dashi powder on Shopee SingaporeLazada Malaysia & Shopee Malaysia. You can also substitute this with chicken stock)
  • ½ soy sauce or light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
Ideas for the filings:
  • Carrot
  • Chicken (use boneless chicken thigh)
  • Gingko nuts
  • Shrimp
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Crabmeat
  • Fishcakes
  •  Spinach leaves (cook these ahead of time) 
  • Soft tofu
  • Edamame
For garnishing (optional):
  • Scallions (green part)
  • Coriander leaves
Equipment needed
  • Steamer or steaming basket to steam the chawanmushi (if you don't have this, you can also just boil the chawanmushi in a pot, see Notes below for instructions!)
  • Teacups, ramekins, small bowls or mugs that are safe to put in the steamer (try not to use mugs that have super thick walls as that would take longer to cook)
  • Aluminium foil
Directions
  1. Prepare the ingredients that you'll be using - cut them into small slices or bite-sized pieces (you don't want them very big as it might not cook through when you steam the chawanmushi).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs (don't overbeat until it starts to incorporate air - just whisk enough to break the yolks and combine with the egg whites evenly. Add the dashi or chicken stock, soy sauce and sugar and mix well. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve (this helps produce a smooth and velvety chawanmushi).
  3. Distribute your fillings evenly between your cups/bowl. Put ingredients like chicken and ginkgo nuts at the bottom, and place the more colourful ingredients like carrot, shrimp and spinach leaves near the top.
  4.  Slowly pour in your egg mixture into your cups, letting the top ingredients peek through. Wrap the top of each cup/bowl with aluminium foil so it's covered. 
  5. Prepare your steamer. Place the covered chawanmushi into your steamer (if you're using a pot, see Notes below). Cover with the lid and let steam on low heat for 15 - 20 minutes. You can test the done-ness of the chawanmushi by using a wooden skewer or toothpick to poke it. If only clear liquid comes out where the chawanmushi is poked, it's ready (the custard should still be jiggly). Remove the chawanmushi carefully (it'll be hot so use gloves or tongs!). Scatter with scallions or coriander leaves before serving.
Notes:
  1. If you don't have a steamer or steam basket, you can fill a pot (enough to fit all your cups/bowls) with enough water so that it reaches halfway up the cups. Bring the water to a boil, place your aluminium-covered cups in the pot then turn the heat down so the water simmers on low heat. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for the same amount of time.
  2.  If you're using chicken, you can also marinate it in some soy sauce for a few minutes while you prep the rest of the ingredients for some added flavour. 
Who knew that chawanmushi was so straightforward to make? Well now that you do, there's no excuse to not make it at home for yourself. Enjoy the soft, savoury and delicious chawanmushi that you make!