Turnip Clouds

Kabura Mushi

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves



Appears in

At Home with Japanese Cooking

At Home with Japanese Cooking

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1986

  • About

This is a delicately seasoned, elegant little side dish to serve with more intensely flavored fish or meat courses.


  • 4 jumbo shrimp
  • 3–4 white turnips
  • 1 egg white
  • Pinch of salt


  • ½ cup dashi (Basic Soup Stock)
  • ¼ teaspoon usu kuchi shōyu (light soy sauce)
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon saké (rice wine)
  • ¼ teaspoon cornstarch


  • 1 teaspoon wasabi (fiery green horseradish) paste or reconstituted powder or 2–3 sprigs mitsuba (trefoil) or coriander


Shell and devein the shrimp, then cut each into 4–5 pieces. Divide them up among 4 small bowls (or use teacups, preferably without handles) and lay the pieces at the bottom.

Peel and grate the turnips onto a kitchen towel. Bring the corners of the towel together to form a small bag and twist the top closed, squeezing out about half the liquid. You should have approximately ½ cup grated turnip.

In a bowl, beat the egg white with the pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Add the grated turnip, mixing in gently but thoroughly.

Divide the turnip and egg-white mixture among the 4 bowls, mounding it softly to cover the pieces of shrimp. Steam the bowls of turnip clouds for 10–12 minutes.

In the meantime, season the basic stock with light soy sauce, salt and rice wine, and heat it through for several minutes. Dissolve the cornstarch in an equal amount of cold water and stir it into the seasoned stock. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sauce thickens slightly. Pour some of the sauce over each steamed turnip cloud. Garnish the top of each portion with either a small dab of fiery green horseradish (to be dissolved in the surrounding sauce by each diner), or chop sprigs of trefoil or coriander and scatter them over each “cloud.” Serve piping hot.