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Scallop Shiitake Chawanmushi


chawanmushi cover


Chawanmushi is an elegant Japanese savour set custard. Possibly one of the more fancier dishes when it comes to Japanese cuisine, regardless it being a fancy type of dish its actually pretty easy to make and extremely flexible as to what you can add to Chawanmushi. In this recipe I want to highlight the process of how to assemble/cook Chawanmushi but In this version I wanted to add Scallops, shiitakes and finish with lots of Ikura for that fresh ocean hit. With all that said let’s dive straight in to this recipe! 



1. First things first we need to make Ichiban Dashi, this can be done in advance if you prefer and actually this will intensify the umami. In a small saucepan add 800mls cold water, 6-8 dried shiitakes and 10g kombu. Place the saucepan onto a medium heat then slowly bring the temperature up to 60 degrees centigrade. When ready, remove the kombu and discard then we can add 8g of bonito flakes and turn off the heat. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes to steep then pass the dashi through a fine sieve. Allow to completely cool then cover and store to one side for now.

Soy Ginger Broth:

2. Now moving onto making an intense soy and ginger broth that we will pour a small amount over the Chawanmushi when cooked. Again in a small saucepan simply add 100mls water, 25mls light soy, 25mls of mirin and 5g of sliced ginger. Place onto a high heat and bring the liquid up to a boil to infuse. Whilst we wait on the broth prepare a cornstarch slurry by adding 2 tsps of cornstarch into a small bowl then diluting that with 1-2 tbsp of cold water. When the broth is infused, remove the slices of ginger then slowly add the slurry to the slurry and mix. Continue to boil until the achieved consistency and we want this to just about coat the back of a spoon. When ready remove from the heat and we will reheat this towards the very end.

Scallops, Shiitakes and Tofu:

3. Before we begin to bring the Chawanmushi together we can move on to preparing the key ingredients. To fill the Chawanmushi we first want to slice 4-6 fresh shiitakes into thin slices then slice 200g of firm tofu into 1 cm thick square bite sized pieces. For the scallops we will cook these seperately and I like to slice into halves as I find them to have a better one biter mouth feel. Keep these to one side now and will will add these ingredients at different stages.

Chawanmushi soup:

4. To finish the soup for Chawanmushi we first need to measure out 600g of the dashi stock that we made earlier. In a separate large mixing bowl measure and add 200g of whole egg (4 medium eggs approx) then first whisk the eggs well. To the eggs add the dashi stock and season the mix with 15 light soy, 15mls of mirin and 1 tsp salt. Whisk again until smooth then pass the mix through a fine sieve to remove of any excess lumps from the egg. 

Build & Cook the Chawanmushi:

5. Now that all the components are prepared we can build up the Chanwanmushi, traditionally these are served in small like matcha types of cups, however, ordinanry tea cups, small bowls, ramekins will do just fine. Start by adding a few pieces of tofu and sliced shiitake to which ever bowls/cups you are using. Next add Chawanmushi soup over until 3/4 of the way full. Remove any air bubbles that may appear then cover tightly with clingfilm. To steam these you can either add to a steamer, place into a pan filled slightly with water or even microwave on low. To cook i simply went with the traditional bamboo steamer, however, it is essential that it has a tight seal. Layer up the steamer then steam on a medium heat for 20 minutes or if using the pan and water method again steam on a medium heat but this will take 8-12 minutes to steam. When cooked the Chawanmushi should have a slight jiggle to it meaning that it is now set. Carefully remove from the steamer and thats all there is to it.

Scallops and Toppings:

6. Just as we take out the Chawanmushi we can now cook the scallops last minute and gather the additional toppings. Lightly season the scallops on both sides with a pinch of salt then place a pan onto a high heat. When smoking hot, add a drizzle of oil then lay down the scallops. Sear on one side for 45 seconds then flip and repeat on the other side. Remove the scallops from the pan and set to one side. As for the additional toppings finely slice some chives and to elevate the dish I wanted to use Ikura (salmon eggs) to finish, however, this is an optional topping. Finally reheat the soy ginger broth then when ready all thats left is to serve!

Finish the Chawanmushi:

To finish this Chanwanmushi add a few slices of seared scallop to the center then pour over 1-2 tbsps of the warm soy ginger broth over the top to create a thin layer over the Chawanmushi. Next, add a good spoon full of Ikura over the scallops then top that with some finely sliced chives and nourish…

Additional notes

When it co es to what key ingredients to add to Chawanmushi then finely sliced chicken, beef, varius seafood/shellfish or vegetables also work perfectly. As long as they can be cooked within 10-20 minutes (cooking method depending) then you are good to go. As for the cooking method it is essential if steaming that there is a tight seal, however, steaming in a pan with some water is a safe option if not. Have fun making Chawanmushi and peace as always! 


To serve 4 
Cook Time 15 minutes
Prep Time 30-45 mins



  • 10g kombu
  • 8g Bonito Flakes
  • 6-8 dried Shiitake mushrooms
  • 800mls water
  • 600mls dashi from above
  • 200g whole egg
  • 15ml light soy
  • 15ml mirin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 fresh scallops
  • 4-6 shiitakes
  • 200g firm tofu
Soy Ginger Broth:
  • 100mls water
  • 25mls light soy
  • 25mls mirin
  • 5g sliced ginger
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
Additional Ingredients:

  • Ikura (optional)
  • chopped chives

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