Chawanmushi (Japanese Egg Custard)

chawanmushi

Japanese Egg Custard (Chawanmushi)

Flavored with homemade dashi and studded with chicken, shrimp, and mushrooms, this savory Japanese custard makes an excellent starter.Matt Taylor-Gross

My mother's chawanmushi seemed like a treasure hunt. I would dig into the tender egg custard, seeking out chicken, shrimp, gingko nuts, and lily root. She made it only in autumn when these last two delicacies appeared in our market. When I first tried to make chawanmushi myself, I cooked it at too high a heat, which left craters on its surface. Now I have mastered my mother's technique—keep the water bath simmering, never boiling—and it reminds me of her calmness in the kitchen. —Hiroko Shimbo, author of Hiroko's American Kitchen (Andrews McNeel, 2012)