Steamed crab, shiitake, corn & coconut custard pots with wasabi tobikko

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Appears in

Fusion: A Culinary Journey


By Peter Gordon

Published 2010

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These custards are a lovely way to serve crab - although you can also make this with sliced steamed prawns, scallops, oysters and even a vegetarian version using steamed pumpkin. You’ll need a steamer deep enough to hold your serving dishes easily - I always use bamboo steamers which are easy to get hold of in most Chinese supermarkets and cookware shops. The crunchy texture that the sweetcorn gives contrasts perfectly with the creamy custard, and the wasabi tobikko used as the final garnish gives even more textural excitement. If you can’t get hold of this wonderful Japanese ingredient, made from flying fish eggs (although usually dyed with artificial colouring!), then you can use any of the fish roes on the market mixed with a little watered-down wasabi paste. Even the best sustainable caviar works well in this recipe. These are best eaten hot from the steamer, but they can also be made up to six hours in advance and eaten cold. I give a recipe for dashi, but if you don’t have the time or ingredients to make this, then use a light fish, vegetable or chicken stock and add an extra Tablespoon of light soy sauce to the mixture.


  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, the caps thinly sliced
  • ½ a fresh corn cob, the kernels sliced off
  • 100 g white crab meat (from the legs)
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • 80 g brown crab meat (from the body - very tasty)
  • ½ tsp finely chopped or grated peeled ginger
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 100 ml dashi
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp wasabi tobikko


Set your steamer basket or baskets above boiling water, and have at hand the dishes you’re going to serve it in. Glasses work well so you can see everything, or use ceramic ramekins.

Divide the shiitake, corn kernels, white crab meat and the spring onion amongst eight heat-proof glasses or ramekins.

In a bowl, whisk together the brown crab meat, ginger, 1 teaspoon flaky salt (less fine salt, if using) and the eggs for 10 seconds. Whisk in the dashi for a few seconds, then lastly the coconut milk. Make sure it’s mixed well, then ladle or pour it into each glass or ramekin.

Place in the steamer and cook for 12-15 minutes with the lid tightly on until cooked. To test if they’re cooked, poke a skewer or thin knife into the centre of two of them, it should come out clean, although a little moist. If it still looks like uncooked egg, then you’ll need to keep cooking until ready.

To Serve

Carefully remove the steamer from the boiling water and leave for 5 minutes. Then give the dishes a wipe - be careful as they’ll be a little wet and possibly slippery. Spoon on the wasabi tobikko and eat straight away.