Chawanmushi (Savory Egg Custard) Recipe (茶碗蒸し)

Chawanmushi is a savory egg custard that literally means "steamed in a small tea bowl." Umami-rich and smooth as silk, this classic dish is an all-time favorite!

Chawanmushi (Savory Egg Custard) Recipe (茶碗蒸し)
Photographed by Takeshi Noguchi

Recipe by
Eiko Oba







Calorie count is per serving.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 2 eggs

    You should have 100 ml (3.5 oz) of beaten eggs.

  • [Dashi]

    • Note

      Makes 600 ml (20 oz) of dashi. Use half for this recipe.

    • 1-2 piece(s) konbu kelp (5 cmx5 cm)
    • 700 ml water (23 oz)
    • 8 g skipjack shavings (0.28 oz)
  • [A]

    • 300 ml dashi (10 oz)
    • 1/5 tsp salt
    • Soy sauce, to taste



Make the [Dashi]. Soak 1 or 2 piece(s) of konbu kelp (5 cm x 5 cm) in 700 ml of water for 1–2 hours. Place over low heat and remove the konbu kelp just before it comes to a simmer. Add 8 g of skipjack shavings and raise the heat to medium. After simmering for 2 minutes, strain and reserve the liquid.



In a bowl, combine the ingredients listed under [A] and mix well.


Beat the eggs in a separate bowl, add [A] and mix well. Pass it through a fine mesh strainer to achieve a silky, smooth texture.


Transfer the egg mixture to a measuring cup and pour evenly into two separate heat-resistant bowls. Using a measuring cup makes it easier to pour the mixture evenly. Use a spoon to remove any foam that forms on the surface.


Use simple, heat-resistant ceramic bowls that aren't elaborately shaped. Dishes that are not heat-resistant, like most glass bowls or lacquerware, should not be used for this recipe.


Heat 800 ml of water in a frying pan. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and place the bowls filled with the egg mixture inside, leaving some space in between them.


Place a pair of cooking chopsticks between the pot and the lid to allow the egg mixture to steam, and cook for about 2 minutes over medium heat. Leaving a gap between the pot and lid allows steam to escape and lowers the temperature, preventing the custard from forming bubbles inside. After steaming for 2 minutes over medium heat, reduce the heat to low, and steam for another 12–15 minutes.


Insert a bamboo skewer into the center of the custard to check if they are done. If no liquid comes out, it is fully cooked. If any liquid does come out, steam for another 1–2 minutes.


When removing the bowls from the pan, first remove the lid to let all of the steam out. Slide a spatula or turner under the bottom of one bowl while holding the top of the bowl with a potholder. Be careful not to burn yourself!