As I have written countless times already, sushi is one of my favorite foods. Although I am not inclined to enjoy other Japanese dishes as much as Sushi, but chawan mushi turns to be one of my favorite appetizer also. It's usually served in a small cute "chawan" (means small cup). What I like about this dish is the serving size which is very small. Heck, this is even smaller than any salad appetizer. This can be a great variation to the countless salad that I used to eat as appetizer.
The process of making chawan mushi can be tricky. It's not easy at all, and honestly I still could not make a great, smooth chawan mushi. Although I got the recipe right, I still messed up when beating the eggs. I took that picture while I was eating at a Japanese restaurant, any good chawan mushi should has smooth surface without any bubble at all. The filling can be varied according to your preferences. This is the chawan mushi recipe which is taught by Sherry. Thanks girl!
Chawan mushi is Japanese egg custard. This is a popular appetizer in Japan. Unlike other Japanese dishes which require either "fresh" or "hard to get" ingredients, chawan mushi does not require complicated ingredients. Basically what you need are egg and filler. The easiest filler to use is chicken breast and some cilantro leaves. If you can easily buy Japanese Shitake mushroom, then try to use the mushroom.
Three cups of Japanese fish stock or ichiban dashi
Four slices of shitake mushroom or boiled chicken breast. (you can use one or all of them)
Four cilantro leaves
Four small shrimps (peeled and boiled)
Salt and soy sauce
This makes four servings
Instant ichiban dashi powder is available in Amazon. I regard my instant ichiban dashi stock purchase as my profitable investment. First I can use the ichiban dashi left over to make other soup. Second, ichiban dashi gives such strong flavor to a lot of dishes that I don't need to use as much salt as I would normally use.
To use the instant ichiban dashi, just add one cup of boiling water to one table spoon of ichiban dashi stock. For chawan mushi make sure the ichiban dashi is not blazing hot. Cool it until it's warm but not hot.
Clean and boil all the fillers. Remember this is supposed to be served in small chawan or cup so avoid using too much fillers. Clean and cut the head and tail from the shrimps. Sprinkle them lightly with salt and soy sauce. My favorite Japanese soy sauce is Kikkoman.
Make sure you have the necessary cups for chawan mushi first! I disastrously wrecked my first attempt by realizing that I have no such cups at all! The cups should be small and should be able to be closed by lids or covered using aluminium foil.
Then pour all the eggs into one bowl. Use chopsticks to carefully dissolve the eggs mixture. Do not let the eggs mixture have bubble at all. This is not easy for me, this is where I messed up also. Slowly mix all the eggs and then pour the dashi slowly while stirring with chopsticks.
Prepare four cups and fill each of them with shitake, shrimps and chicken breasts. Slowly pour the egg mixture into each glass.
Boil water in steamer and put the cups in the steamer. Use the strong fire for one minute then reduce to medium fire for another 10 - 13 minutes. This part is also hard since there's no exact duration when steaming the chawan mushi. In my first attempt I overcook it by mistakenly steaming it for 15 minutes under medium fire. So don't leave the kitchen, its best when it's not overcooked.
Chawan mushi should be ready after 10 - 13 minutes, then place the cilantro leaves on the top. It's very hot so be careful when serving the chawan mushi to your guests. The least thing you want to happen is for them to grab the cup hastily then dropping it.
The ingredients listing at Amazon:
Technorati Tags: chawan mushi, appetizer,Japanese food
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