Large Chawan-mushi Savory Custard

Usually, chawan-mushi is made in a cup for individual servings, but this recipe shows you how to make big servings in a bowl!

Large Chawan-mushi Savory Custard
Photographed by MASAO KUDO

Recipe by
Tokiko Suzuki







Calorie count is per serving

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

  • 3 eggs
  • 50 g kamaboko fish cake (white)

    Fresh surimi mixed with salt and starch, then steamed.

  • 2 chicken tenderloins (90 g)
  • 2 fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 50 g nagaimo Japanese yam
  • 9 ginkgo nuts
  • 5 slices fu dried wheat gluten (thinly sliced)

    Ideally plum blossom-shaped nama-fu raw wheat gluten, if available.

  • Dashi, as needed

    Japanese soup stock. Made with a lot of different ingredients, most commonly konbu kelp and bonito (skipjack tuna) flakes.

  • [A]

    • 650 ml dashi
    • 1 tbsp sake
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp usukuchi soy sauce

      Popular soy-sauce originating in Kansai region. Light-colored, yet salty. Good for keeping the natural taste and color of the ingredients.

  • A small amount of mitsuba trefoil (cut into large pieces)

    Leafy vegetable originating in Japan. Has green leaves and a long, white stem with a refreshing smell. The stem can sometimes be eaten, depending on the variety.

  • 1 tsp usukuchi soy sauce

    Popular soy-sauce originating in Kansai region. Light-colored, yet salty. Good for keeping the natural taste and color of the ingredients.

  • Salt, to taste



Cut the kamaboko fish cake into 6-7 mm cubes and the chicken tenderloins into 5-6 mm cubes. Remove the stems from the shiitake mushrooms, wipe the caps with a moistened and well-wrung cloth, and cut into 5-6 mm cubes. Peel the nagaimo Japanese yam and cut into 5-6 mm cubes, then place the pieces in a mesh strainer and put the mesh strainer under running water to rinse, then transfer the nagaimo Japanese yam pieces to ice water to further reduce "sliminess," and strain. Place the cut kamaboko fish cake, chicken tenderloin, shiitake mushroom, and nagaimo Japanese yam in a metal tray and sprinkle with 1 tsp of usukuchi soy sauce.


Remove the shells from the ginkgo nuts and place them in a small pot with just enough water to cover and a small amount of salt, and heat. When the water comes just to a simmer, stir with a slotted ladle to loosen and remove the thin skins on the ginkgo nuts, then remove from the pot. Rehydrate the fu dried wheat gluten in dashi.


This method will let you cleanly remove the thin inner skins of the ginkgo nuts without damaging the inside at all.


Beat the eggs thoroughly, then add the ingredients for [A] to the egg mixture. Strain the egg mixture through a mesh strainer to make the uncooked custard. Reserve 5 tbsp of the uncooked custard in a separate container, and mix the rest with the cubed ingredients in the metal tray. Pour the mixture into a heat-resistant bowl.


Heat a steamer until steaming, then place the bowl of uncooked custard in. Steam over high heat for 1 min, then reduce heat to low and steam for 17-18 min, or until the juices run clear when pierced with a bamboo skewer.


Sprinkle the ginkgo nuts and rehydrated fu wheat gluten across the surface of the custard, then pour in the reserved uncooked custard mixture. Steam again over high heat until the surface has set, then remove and serve with mitsuba trefoil sprinkled over top.


Cooking the custard most of the way through, then topping it with reserved ingredients and more of the uncooked custard, gives the finished result a nicer appearance.