Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Chawanmushi Camy-style

Captain’s Log, Supplemental

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Japanese Good Eats

I made chawanmushi the other night for dinner. This is a fast, easy, very Japanese dish.

Chawanmushi (chow-on-moo-shee) is savory custard with meat and vegetables. It’s salty with a hint of sweet. When I was growing up, Mom made this every so often, especially if she had eggs she needed to get rid of.

It’s great because it’s so versatile. You can put literally anything you want in it. You also eat it with a spoon rather than chopsticks.

Here’s a more traditional recipe. I did the Camy-version—less labor-intensive and with ingredients that were easier to find:

6 eggs (I will often substitude egg whites for a couple of the whole eggs—two whites for every whole egg)
1 teaspoon dry sherry (I used Amontillado)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil, or olive oil, or vegetable oil
pinch of salt, or salt to taste (I like it more salty and tend to add more than a pinch)
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger (optional)
1 1/2 cup chicken broth (this volume can vary depending on if you like your chawanmushi “soupier” or drier. I like mine drier and use only 1 cup.)
1/2 cup thinly sliced mushrooms (I used dried shiitake soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, then sliced)
about 1 cup any type of cooked vegetable, provided it’s in small pieces (I’ve used combinations of peas, chopped carrots, corn, sliced green beans, chopped broccoli, chopped spinach. Frozen veggies work well for this, too. I cook my veggies in the microwave.)
about 1 to 1 1/2 cup any type of meat, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces (chicken, beef, pork, fish cake, shrimp, ham, crabmeat, fish, etc. I usually cook my meat in the microwave.)

You also need bowls for the chawanmushi. I have small stoneware bowls, but you can also use ramekins or any small, heavy bowl that can withstand the steaming.

Whisk eggs, sherry, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and ginger together.

Heat broth in microwave or on the stove until hot.

In a thin stream, slowly pour hot broth into egg mixture, whisking constantly.

In your bowls (I use five small bowls, but you can use whatever you have. Each bowl is one serving, typically), put equal amounts of vegetable, meat, and mushroom.

Divide the egg mixture among the bowls. It should fill the bowls about 2/3 to 3/4.

Cover each bowl with foil.

In a large pot, heat about 1/2 inch of water to boiling. Put the bowls in the pot. Cover and steam for anywhere from 8-17 minutes, depending on how large your bowls are.

The custard is done if you insert a metal spoon in the middle and clear broth comes out. I tend to like my custard a little drier, so I typically cook until it’s kind of dry on the top and only a little liquid, if any, comes out.

My pot only holds 2-3 bowls at a time, so I cook the custard in batches. I don’t suggest stacking the bowls (I’ve tried it), because the custard tends to cook unevenly.

Serve hot! We eat it with spoons. You can have it with rice on the side.

If you try it, e-mail me to let me know how you liked it!

1 comment :

  1. I eat everything with a spoon (or a fork) rather than with chopsticks.

    ; )