Chawanmushi or Chyawanmushi/茶碗蒸し is the Japanese equivalent of a French flan with thebig differencethat is not a dessert, but an appetizer!
It is quite easy to prepare and open to so many variations.
Here is the basic recipe. Just let your imagination fly!
INGREDIENTS: For 2
-Shrimps: 10 small
-Shiitake mushroom: 2
-Chopped leeks: to decorate and taste (or trefoil)
(you can use gingko nuts, kamaboko, crab, sea urchin, etc.)
-Dashi: 100 cc/ml (of your choice)
-Japanese sake: 50 cc/ml
-Soy sauce: half a teaspoon
-Sugar: half a teaspoon
-Salt: 1 pinch
-Water: 2 cups, 400 cc/ml
Take shell and head off every shrimp.
Let shrimps marinate in the sake for a while.
If you use frozen shrimps, thaw them and sponge off their water first.
Cut the shiitake in two.
If you use fresh shiitake, fry them just a little in butter and sponge them off.
If you use dried shiitake, let them mariante in lukewarm water for two hours. Their water can be used as part of the dashi.
If you use frozen shiitake, thaw them and sponge them off first.
in a saucepan, drop dashi, water, salt, sugar and soy sauce. Heat to before bubbles come up (bubbles will be the main reason for failure!).
Beat eggs and por them slowly into the dashi, whisking them all the time.
Once all the eggs are mixed in, switchoff fire and strain/sieve soup.
Place half of the shrimps and mushrooms at the beottom of each cup.
Slowly pour half of soup in each cup/ramequin/small bowl.
Pour 3 cm of water into your steamer pan and bring to boil.
Place steaming tray inside steamer and place cups on it with lids on.
Cover as shown on above picture.
Cook over strong fire for 2 minutes, then 10 minutes over low fire (over high fire all theway through will ened into failure!).
Check if chawanmushi are properly cooked. If you stab a toothpick in it, no dashi shoud come out.
Decorate with leeks or trefoil and serve!