Steamed Japanese Custards: Chawan-mushi

Savoury Japanese custards are enriched with stock and in this recipe contains prrawns, shitake mushrooms, pak choi, water chestnuts and chicken. In fact nearly anything that compliments the flavour of the dish can be included eg. ginko nuts, seaweed, salmon and bamboo shoots.Japanese custards can be served hot or cold and eat them with chop sticks or/and a spoon. You will need small heat proof dishes to cook and serve the custards in.

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes


Steamed Custard

  • 4 eggs
  • 400ml dashi (see recipe) or a mild chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin


  • 6 shitake mushrooms (dried ones reconstituted in boiling water)
  • 12 raw tiger prawns, peeled
  • 80g chicken meat, sliced diagonally into pieces around 1.5cm long
  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 60g pak choi,washed, trimmed and shredded
  • 6 water chestnuts, sliced thinly


  1. Filling: Mix the sake and soy sauce together in a bowl and place the chicken pieces in the mixture to marinate for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Custard: Beat the eggs, soy sauce and mirin together lightly in a bowl. Slowly stir in the dashi (be careful not to aerate the mixture).
  3. To Assemble: Pour the custard into 6 heat proof bowls. Place the prawns, chicken, shitake mushrooms, pak choi and water chestnuts into the bowls.
  4. To Cook: Bring some water to the boil in the base of a steamer. Place the custards in the top half of a steamer and cook them for 15 minutes until the filling is cooked and the custard is set (insert a skewer into the centre of the custard, it should come out clean when set).
  5. To Serve: Serve the custard hot or cold.