I tried something new today. Ever since I saw my chef-crush Paul Qui make it on Top Chef I have wanted to try making chawan mushi. This weekend I finally had time for some kitchen play, so I gave it a shot.
First I had to make the dashi. This is the amazingly savory stock that goes into miso soup and lots of other Japanese food. It’s made with water, dried seaweed, and dried tuna.
First you simmer the seaweed (kombu) in some water:
Then you remove the seaweed and put in the dried bonito flakes:
After a few minutes of simmering the fish sinks to the bottom — like bizarro reverse dumplings. Then it’s time to strain it through cheesecloth, and that’s it. Dashi.
To make the chawan mushi (recipe here), the dashi gets beaten in with eggs, rice wine, soy sauce, scallions, ginger, sugar, and salt.
This mixture gets poured over cooked shrimp (recipe calls for crab but sadly, that ain’t happening here) in custard cups, then steamed.
It’s supposed to steam for 8-10 minutes but it took me nearly half an hour; I assume I had the heat too low. The finished product: