Both Chef and Steward are huge fans of Japanese cuisine. What is there not to love? The balance of flavours, colours and presentation… it’s all so zen and amazingly balanced. The tradition of Japanese cookery not only lies in Sushi and Teppan-yaki restaurants, but in the homes of real Japanese people. The average Japanese home cook can do wonders that only trained chefs can do in other cuisines. Such is the attention to perfection. Here is a perfect dish from a the perfect hands of our friend Nami who has such great recipes and pictures, you are guanranteed to be blown away. Do share some hospitality with her. -Chef and Steward.
Hello readers of Chef and Steward! My name is Nami and I’m the author of Just One Cookbook. I’m really happy to be here to share a Japanese autumn recipe with you. Thank you Kari & Chef Lij for inviting me!
Chawanmushi is a savory egg custard which is often served as an appetizer. The egg mixture is flavored with dashi stock, soy sauce, and mirin, and it is steamed in a cup. There are many variations of Chawanmushi and restaurants in Japan usually include seasonal ingredients. Today I’m featuring a very seasonal ingredient, and part of the reason why the Japanese are excited when autumn arrives: Matsutake mushroom.
Matsutake mushroom (pine mushroom) is prized by the Japanese for its distinct aromatic odor and flavor. Its place in the Japanese cuisine is very similar to black and white truffle for the French. In Japan, top quality Matsutake mushroom could sell for as much as $1000 per pound. Luckily, we are able to get them at nearby Japanese supermarket (grown in the US) for about $40 per pound.
Typically enjoyed in a soup or rice dish, Chawanmushi is another fantastic way to enjoy this special mushroom with its unique essence and taste. Have a wonderful autumn!
½ – ¾ cup dashi stock
4 shrimps or 2/3 chicken thigh (optional)
½ Tbsp. cooking sake
1 matsutake mushrooms
1 large egg
½ tsp. mirin
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. usukuchi (light colored) soy sauce (or ¼ tsp. soy sauce)
2 ginkgo nuts (precooked)
4 thin slices Kamaboko (fish cake) (I use Naruto today)
4 mitsuba (Japanese wild parsley) stems
* You can add other seasonal ingredients
1. Make dashi stock.
2. Remove the shrimp shell if necessary and devein. Marinate shrimp in cooking sake. If you use chicken, cut into small pieces (so it cooks faster) and marinate it in cooking sake.
3. Clean the matsutake mushroom with damp towel or paper towel. Do not wash the mushroom. Cut into thin slices.
4. Whisk the egg in a medium bowl, but do not create air pockets. Add dashi stock and Seasonings. Then strain the mixture through a sieve into another bowl.
5. Start boiling water. The amount of water should cover ½ of chawanmushi cup. When boiling, reduce the heat to the lowest heat.
6. Divide all the ingredients into 2 cups. I started with one shrimp, ginkgo nuts, and matsutake mushroom. Then put naruto, the other shrimp, and mitsuba on top (the colorful ingredients should be near the top of cup). Tie mitsuba’s stem into a knot.
7. Gently pour the egg mixture into the cups without creating bubbles. Instead of covering the ingredients completely with the egg mixture, leave some ingredients exposed so it will be visually pleasing when cooked. Put the lid on (or cover tightly with aluminum foil if you don’t have chawanmushi cup).
8. Place gently inside the hot water (it should NOT be “boiling”) and cover the pot’s lid. Cook for 25-30 minutes on the lowest heat. If you are not adding shrimp or chicken, the cooking time should only be 15-20 minutes. Insert a skewer in the center of the cup to check if the egg is done. Enjoy!
Where to find ingredients in Dubai:
Mirin and other Japanese food stash at Deans Fujiya near Lamcy Plaza
There used to be a Korean grocery upstairs from Safestway but it has moved to SZ rd next to “just kidding” not sure if its open yet though!
I’d think 1004 Japanese – Korean mart here in barsha has some of those ingredients :)
Deans (Oud Metha) and 1004 Mart (Barsha) are your best bets.
Fujiya behind lamcy. Best place. Or olso check out choithrams at hayat regency galleries
Sources, Abigail Caidoy, Nausheen Noor, Didi Patermo, Sandy Dang, Elena Jbara, Dima Sharif