Hot soup would be nice for cold night dinner. Chawanmushi (Japanese Savoury Custard Soup) would be perfect! ‘Chawanmushi’ means ‘steamed in a tea cup’ and it is quite easy to make. Here is my family’s home style Chawanmushi recipe. If you don’t have Dashi Stock, why don’t you use Vegetable Stock or Chicken Stock? Use whatever ingredients you have. Just remember that you need to make Clear Soup to mix with Eggs. The ratio of the volume of Soup to Eggs is 2.5 to 1.
Clear Stock: Crack the 4 eggs into a measuring cup. First calculate the amount of clear stock you need, if the volume of the 4 eggs is 200ml, you need 500ml of clear soup. (200ml x 2.5 = 500ml).
Heat dashi stock and season with mirin, salt and soy sauce in a saucepan, then let it cool down to mix with eggs later.
Whisk eggs in a mixing bowl then add the warm stock gradually and mix well. We are often taught to pour the egg mixture through a fine strainer to make it smooth, but I don’t do that. Remove bubbles from the mixture.
Soup: Prepare the other ingredients that you choose to use. The chicken and seafood doesn't need to be pre-cooked, however they should use small pieces or be cut very small. Wash the spinach well and boil in boiling water until tender. Dip in cold water to stop cooking further, drain well and squeeze to remove excess water. Cut about 4cm.
Place the ingredients in small bowls, cups, ramekins or whatever you use.
To Serve: Pour the egg mixture over the ingredients carefully. Place a young Italian Parsley leaf or Shungiku on top. In Japan, most commonly Mitsuba leaf is placed on top, but we all know it is just too difficult to find Mitsuba in Australia. Italian Parsley tastes very similar.
Cook them in hot steamer or microwave oven or in the oven like cooking Creme Brûlée.
We don’t use chopsticks to eat Chawanmushi. Serve them with small spoons.