Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chawan-mushi at home

Chawan-mushi literally means "tea cup steam". It is a savory egg custard dish not too different from the Chinese steam egg except for the ingredients and toppings. As far as my circle of friends is concerned, I noticed Chawan-mushi is popular with Asians and less so with Caucasians. Is this true for you? An American friend looked at it in disgust once commenting that she expects custards to be sweet, not savory, and just could not reconcile her head with her taste bud. Yet, it is a highly popular dish in the Japanese restaurants all around the world.

Using dashi as a base for my stock, I whisked 4 eggs for 5 portions and slowly added the dashi to it. Then I strained them into the cups for steaming. Next, I prepared a few other ingredients to add to the egg.

I soaked 4 dried Chinese mushrooms for half an hour. Then I added sugar and soy sauce to the water used to soak the mushroom. Boil it with the mushrooms and cook till the flavour seeps into the mushrooms.

I'm now ready to add my ingredients. I stole some gingko nuts that my mom has painstakingly prepared for a Chinese New Year dessert. You can buy some ready made canned ones.

I also added some boneless skinless chicken breast meat diced. They are marinated with mirin and soy sauce.

Cover the chawan-mushi before steaming. You can use cling-wrap too.

This steam oven is one of my best buys, I have to tell you and sell you. It's so clean, convenient, practical and I have found that I am using it almost every day since I bought it.

Just add water into this canister and it slots nicely in. The oven lady told me chawan-mushi tastes much better using a steam oven. I did not believe her then, but now I absolutely do!

Twenty minutes of newspapre reading later, I get this.

See if you would like to try this. I did have a few utensils to wash but this dish was worth the effort.


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