Chawanmushi, Spanner Crab and Shellfish Oil

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4

    as a Small Entrée

Appears in

Chawanmushi is a Japanese savoury steamed egg custard that, when made well, is possibly one of my favourite things to eat. Whenever it’s on the menu at a Japanese restaurant, I have to order it just to see how good it is. If it comes out lukewarm, then it wasn’t made fresh to order. This dish should be served super hot, and should tremble like panna cotta when you put a spoon through it. My version pays homage to Tetsuya Wakuda and my time spent at Tetsuya’s – spanner crab and shellfish oil always remind me of those days.

Ingredients

Chawanmushi

  • tablespoons thin (pouring) cream
  • tablespoons shiro-dashi
  • 3 eggs

Vegetable Nage Glaze

  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) seasoned ginger vegetable nage
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch mixed with a little water to form a slurry

The Rest

  • 120 g ( oz) cooked crabmeat
  • 1 tablespoon trout roe, to garnish
  • chopped chives, to garnish
  • 1–2 teaspoons shellfish oil (Essentials)

Method

Chawanmushi

Whisk all the ingredients together with 350 ml (12 fl oz) water in a bowl and strain through a fine sieve into a jug. Divide among four small bowls and cover each bowl very tightly with plastic wrap. Put the bowls in a large steamer and place over a saucepan of simmering water for 6–8 minutes or until set. They should be quite firm with a little wobble in the centre.

Vegetable Nage Glaze

Bring the vegetable nage to the boil in a small saucepan. Start to gradually whisk in the slurry and continue whisking and adding slurry until the nage thickens. You will not need to add all the slurry, just keep going until you achieve a thick sauce without any lumps.

The Rest

Put the crabmeat in a bowl and place in a bamboo steamer over a saucepan of simmering water for 30 seconds, or long enough to heat it through.

To Serve

When the bowls of chawanmushi are cooked, remove the plastic wrap and divide the crabmeat among the four bowls. Spoon the hot vegetable nage glaze on top, making sure you cover the whole surface area of the chawanmushi. Garnish each with a teaspoon of trout roe, some chopped chives and a few drops of shellfish oil.

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