Chawanmushi is a traditional Japanese appetizer of egg custard that’s steamed in a teacup and is flavored with soy sauce, sake and dashi. It can be eaten hot or cold.
1 cup uncooked pumpkin flesh
1 2/3 cups kombu and bonito stock
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons sake or white cooking wine
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
3 kamaboko fish cake slices
3 large prawns, shelled, deveined and chopped, plus 1 whole shelled, deveined prawn for garnish
prep: 15 minutes
total: 30 minutes
3 teacups (with lids, plastic wrap or aluminum foil)
1. In a blender, process the pumpkin until smooth. Remove to a bowl.
2. Break the eggs into a separate bowl. Gently stir the eggs with a pair of chopsticks using a cutting action.
3. Add the kombu and bonito stock, sugar, sake or white cooking wine and soy sauce, and a little more than half of the blended pumpkin. Blend the mixture as finely as possible; strain through a fine sieve.
4. Place fish cakes and chopped prawns at the bottom of each cup; pour the egg-and-pumpkin mixture over (do not fill to the brim).
5. Cover the cups tightly with lids, plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
6. Steam the cups over high heat for about 10 minutes. To test if the chawanmushi is cooked, insert a bamboo stick into the mixture: if a little clear liquid comes out, it is cooked.
7. Steam the remaining blended pumpkin and the reserved prawn for 5 minutes; slice prawn and use to garnish the chawanmushi along with a spoonful of pumpkin.