Somebody has been bugging me about making Japanese dishes for quite a while now. He’s been immersed in the Japanese culture since the last quarter of last year and apparently getting into the J-jazz nowadays.
Japanese dishes? Not sure if I’m any good at it, probably not my forte too since I’m always ordering nothing else but plates of sashimi at Japanese eateries and restaurants. Preparing sashimi at home would have been crazy too, unless one is super confident of his knifing skills or is able to get hold of the freshest raw fish from the supermarket. Ok, so that leaves me with very few options, especially since I’ve already tried omurice and teriyaki chicken before – two Japanese dishes that I deem to be more manageable, at least according to my standard. This time, I could perhaps try something that the little one could eat as well. What came to my mind immediately was chawanmushi, the steamed egg pudding that’s popularly served as a side dish in restaurants. And why not? Given the variety of toppings (fish cake, fish roes etc) available at the Kuriya Marketplace, I could try to make egg puddings with interesting characters and decorations too.
I was not disappointed at all, thanks to some adaptation and experimentation of several recipes. The chawanmushi was sooo soft and smooth. The colourful fish cake slices and the yummy toppings made eating this egg pudding so much more fun and exciting too, so make sure you have some of these on hand too when you are making it yourself!
- Chicken thigh: 1 fillet, sliced and marinated overnight with 1 tbsp soy sauce + 1 tbsp mirin
- Egg: 4
- Japanese soy sauce (Kikkoman): 2 tbsp
- Mirin: 1 tbsp
- Dashi stock: 2.5 cups
- Shrimp: 8, shells removed
- Kamaboko (Japanese fishcake): 1 cake, sliced into 4 pieces
- Tobiko (flying fish roe): 2 tbsp
- Chive: few stalks, sliced into thumb lengths
- Divide chicken thighs equally into 4 portions. Place into ramekins right at the bottom.
- Mix eggs, soy sauce and mirin gently without creating any bubbles.
- Stir in dashi stock without beating.
- Strain through sieve into ramekins till about 3/4 full.
- Place ramekins into steamer, covered with ramekin lids or cling wrap.
- Steam on high heat for 10 min.
- Remove lids. Add 2 shrimps and 1 fishcake into each ramekin. Steam for another 1 min.
- Garnish with 1/2 tsp fish roe and a few stalks of chives per ramekin to serve.
- I used coffee cups instead of Japanese tea cups to steam the eggs in as I didn’t want to incur additional costs just to eat this dish. It worked perfectly well! The saucers of the cups could be used as lids during steaming too!
- Cover the cups with lids during steaming to prevent any condensation from dripping back into the eggs and causing ugly pockets of bubbles on the surfaces. This allows the steamed egg to look perfectly smooth and silky!
- You can add other ingredients such as shitake mushrooms to your chawanmushi instead of chicken thighs and fishcake.