• Japanese steamed egg cups (Chawanmushi) (Food Safari Water)Source: Food Safari Water

These Japanese steamed egg cups are perfect as a side to a meal, or a light snack. Food Safari Water






Skill level

Average: 4.6 (7 votes)


Dashi stock

  • 500 ml (2 cups) filtered water
  • 10 g kombu
  • 10 g bonito flakes

Fish cake

  • 300 g scallop or prawn meat, or any white fish (snapper, whiting, flathead) or calamari
  • 60 g egg whites
  • 40 g corn flour
  • 200 ml dashi stock
  • yuzu salt, to taste


  • ½ carrot, peeled
  • 8 sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stalks discarded
  • 1 skinless and boneless chicken thigh
  • 100 g dark soy sauce
  • 100 g mirin
  • 100 g sake
  • extra virgin sesame oil
  • 100 g whole eggs
  • 10 g light soy sauce
  • 5 g mirin
  • 350 g dashi stock
  • 50 g mung bean vermicelli
  • baby shiso to garnish

Dashi glaze

  • 120 g dashi stock (see above)
  • 10 g white soy sauce
  • 10 g mirin 
  • 1 tbsp kuzu powder diluted in 150 ml cold water

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.


You will need to begin this recipe a day ahead.

Soaking time: overnight

For the dashi stock, place the kombu and cold filtered water in a saucepan and stand overnight. The following day, heat to 80°C or just before boiling and stand for 10 minutes. Remove the kombu and bring to the boil. Add the bonito flakes and simmer for 10 minutes. Allow the bonito to sink to the bottom of the pan, then remove from the heat. Gently ladle the stock into a sieve lined with an oil filter or a muslin cloth. The kombu and bonito flakes can be used for other dishes. Refrigerate the dashi stock until chilled.

For the fish cake, make sure all the ingredients are chilled as well as the food processor. Add all the ingredients together and blend until a smooth paste forms. Spread into a baking paper-lined 20 x 10 cm tray and steam for 10 minutes or until the fish cake is just cooked. Take out from the steamer and chill over ice until cool.

For the chawanmushi, cut the vegetables and chicken into small cubes. Mix together the dark soy sauce, mirin and sake.

Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and sauté for 1 minute before adding the vegetables. Add the soy mixture and gently simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the fridge – preferably overnight.

Crack the eggs into a bowl. Using a fork, gently break up the eggs – you don’t want to create air bubbles. Add the light soy sauce, mirin and dashi stock.

Soak the vermicelli in warm water until softened, then drain. Cut the fish cake into similar size pieces as the chicken and vegetables.

Divide the chicken mixture and vermicelli between 5 small ceramic tea cups, then top with a layer of the fish cake pieces. Strain the egg mixture and spoon into the cups until three-quarters full. Steam the custards for 14 minutes.

While the custards are steaming, for the dashi glaze, place the dashi, soy and mirin in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Stir in the kuzu mixture a little at a time until the mixture is a little thinner than gravy. Once cooked, remove the chawanmushi from the steamer and pour the warm glaze over the top. Garnish with shiso cress and serve immediately.


Maeve O'Meara is back in Food Safari Water airing 7:30pm Tuesdays on SBS Food, or streaming on SBS On Demand. Visit the program page for recipes, videos and more.