Literally meaning "steamed in a tea bowl" this delicate and savoury Japanese custard is a lot easier to make than it looks. Just remember the ratio of 1 part egg to three parts stock and you'll get a perfect custard every time.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 4 thin slices chicken breast
  • 1 tsp sake
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 4 slices fishcake
  • 4 cooked ginko nuts
  • mitsuba, to serve


  • 1 piece kombu (about one 10 cm square)
  • a handful of bonito flakes

Egg custard

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp sake
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. For the dashi, place the kombu into 750 ml (3 cups) of cold water and bring to a simmer, removing the kombu as soon as the water starts to steam. Add the bonito flakes to the simmering water, then turn off the heat and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Strain and discard the solids, then set the dashi aside.

2. For the egg custard, crack the eggs into a measuring cup and mix gently without forming bubbles. Note the measurement of the eggs. In a separate measuring cup, add the sake, salt and soy sauce, then add the dashi to make up three times the volume of the egg (about 450 ml). Gently combine the egg and dashi together, then strain through a fine sieve into a jug to remove any lumps.

3. Place the sliced chicken in a bowl with the sake and soy sauce and toss to combine. Place a slice of chicken and a few slices of shiitake mushroom in the base of each teacup. Pour the egg mixture over the chicken to about 3 cm from the top of the teacups. Burst any bubbles with a skewer. Steam over low heat for 12 minutes. Test the custard with a skewer. If the liquid that rises from a hole made with the skewer is clear, then you're ready for the next step.

4. Gently arrange the fishcake, ginko nuts and remaining shiitake mushroom on top of the custard and pour over a little more of the raw custard mix. Steam for a further 3-4 minutes, then serve topped the mitsuba.


Adam Liaw visits bushfire-affected communities and creates dishes using their local produce in Adam Liaw's Road Trip for Good.