This chawanmushi recipe is packed with goodness, perfect for a healthy heart. We present: Chawanmushi with Crab Sticks, Mushroom And Ginkgo Nuts.
In conjunction with QL Eggs’s “Good Heart Campaign”, this week we bring you a heart-healthy and super tasty chawanmushi recipe. With eggs at its centre and other easily available ingredients, this dish is quick and easy to make at home.
Chawanmushi – “steamed in a tea cup” in Japanese – is a classic Japanese savoury egg custard. It is a very popular appetiser or side dish at Japanese restaurants. It also makes a great comfort food on a cool night.
You only need few basic ingredients to make chawanmushi. Traditionally, the egg custard is a mixture of eggs, dashi (Japanese stock made from seaweed and bonito fish flakes) and soy sauce, but you can replace dashi with chicken stock, which is as flavourful as using dashi. The solid ingredients usually consist of ginkgo nuts, Shiitake mushrooms, seafood (such as crab stick, shrimps, Japanese fish cakes) and/or chicken meat but you can also add in other ingredients such as carrot and other vegetables.
Our chawanmushi recipe recommends QL Omega eggs, which are enriched with Omega-3 (an essential fatty acid associated with reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases) while containing 50% less cholesterol compared to standard eggs.
Chicken stock is used in place of dashi in this recipe, as it is much easier to prepare or buy (you can use readymade chicken stock granules/cubes/packet). We have included ginkgo nuts, soaked dried Shiitake mushrooms and MUSHROOM Imitation Crab Stick, as they blend in very well with the soft, velvety smooth egg custard texture. Chawanmushi is comparable to Chinese steamed eggs, where water is added to the eggs before steaming, but has a softer texture than the Chinese version.
There are a few important points to note in making chawanmushi successfully. First, you need to make sure the eggs are fresh. QL Omega eggs are produced under stringent standards to provide you with fresh and hygienic eggs, this makes them a perfect choice for chawanmushi. Next, the ratio of egg volume to stock: the general rule is 3 parts stock to 1 part eggs. For example, if the volume of your eggs measures 100 ml, then you need about 300 ml of stock. Straining the egg-stock mixture through a fine sieve is an important step to ensure a soft and velvety smooth egg custard texture. This helps to remove eggy bits that may not have been properly combined. Finally, you need to steam the chawanmushi on a low heat, so that you do not create bubbles that may cause the custard to turn out spongy or coarse after steaming, as high heat will overcook the custard.
The egg custard mixture is cooked in Japanese tea cups with lids. The tea cups are steamed with the lid covered to prevent water from condensation dripping onto the custard. These tea cups can be bought from Japanese household stores such as Daiso, or you may find them in Japanese supermarkets. Otherwise, you can just use any heat resistant tea cups, ramekins or bowls. Cover them with aluminium foil when steaming, or steam using a bamboo steamer (you will need a longer time as the bamboo steamer is porous) or line a towel around the lid of your steamer, between the cups/ramekins/bowls and the lid to capture water droplets from the condensation.
Now that you know the tips and tricks, let’s make this lovely and healthy savoury egg custard at home to enjoy with your family!
- 4 QL Omega eggs (about 200 ml)
- 600 ml cooled or warm chicken stock (not hot, or it will cook your eggs when mixing; you can use instant chicken stock granules/cubes as well, just dissolve in hot water and leave to cool)
- 1 teaspoon light soya sauce or Japanese shoyu
- Salt (to taste or optional)
- 4 MUSHROOM Imitation Crab Stick, cut into small chunks
- 18 raw ginkgo nuts, shelled and skin peeled
- 6 dried Shiitake mushrooms, soaked to softened, sliced 1 cm thick
- 1 stalk of spring onion, chopped (for garnishing)
- Special tools: Heat resistant Japanese tea cups (with lids), or any heat resistant Chinese tea cups, ramekins or bowls.
- Blanch raw ginkgo nuts in boiling water for 5 – 8 minutes. This is to ensure the ginkgo nuts are properly cooked during steaming.
- In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with chopsticks until completely mixed. Avoid frothing to prevent bubbles forming on the custard when steamed.
- In another bowl, mix chicken stock, soy sauce, and salt (if using). Pour this stock mixture into the beaten eggs; mix well and strain through a fine sieve into a measuring jug. Skim off bubbles on the strained mixture.
- Divide the MUSHROOM Imitation Crab Stick chunks, Shiitake mushroom, and ginkgo nuts among the tea cups. Pour strained egg mixture slowly into individual cups to avoid bubbles from forming. Fill up the tea cup with the egg mixture to about ¾ full.
- Cover each tea cup with a lid (or aluminium foil) and place them in a hot steamer. Cover the steamer with the lid and steam on high heat for 2 – 3 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium low and continue to steam for 15 – 20 minutes. The cooking duration will depend on the steaming temperature. Check the egg custards after 12 - 15 minutes to see if they are done. The chawanmushi is done when the custard is set but still jiggles slightly. Insert a toothpick into the centre, it should come out clean. If the top is cracked or rough looking, it is overcooked.
- Remove from steamer and serve immediately with teaspoons or keep warm in the steamer (with heat turned off) until ready to serve. Sprinkle chopped spring onion right before serving.
QL Kitchen Tips
- Raw ginkgo nuts are available at Chinese medical halls or sundry shops, they may be sold at supermarkets as well.
- If you do not have chicken stock on hand, you can make the chawanmushi with just water instead of chicken stock, shoyu and salt but it will be less flavourful.
- If you like your egg custard firmer, you can reduce the chicken stock to 500 or 550 ml.
For more healthy dish ideas you should check out these 5 special recipes: Seafood Tofu & Vegetable Hot Pot, Sashimi Snow Crab Salad with Creamy Sesame Dressing, Chicken Soto with Beef Meatballs, Chicken Soup with Kuey Teow, Fish Cakes and Fish Balls and for a treat the lovely Healthy Banana Muffin.