Chawan Mushi

Chawanmushi – “steamed in a tea cup” in Japanese – is a classic Japanese savoury egg custard. It is a very popular appetiser or side dish at Japanese restaurants. It also makes a great comfort food on a cool night.

This chawanmushi recipe is packed with goodness, perfect for a healthy heart. We present: Chawanmushi with Crab Sticks, Mushroom And Ginkgo Nuts.

You only need few basic ingredients to make chawanmushi. Traditionally, the egg custard is a mixture of eggs, dashi (Japanese stock made from seaweed and bonito fish flakes) and soy sauce, but you can replace dashi with chicken stock, which is as flavourful as using dashi. The solid ingredients usually consist of ginkgo nuts, Shiitake mushrooms, seafood (such as crab stick, shrimps, Japanese fish cakes) and/or chicken meat but you can also add in other ingredients such as carrot and other vegetables.

Our chawanmushi recipe recommends QL Omega eggs, which are enriched with Omega-3 (an essential fatty acid associated with reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases) while containing 50% less cholesterol compared to standard eggs.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Makes: 6 chawan mushi


4QL Omega eggs (about 200 ml)
600 mlcooled or warm chicken stock (not hot, or it will cook your eggs when mixing; you can use instant chicken stock granules/cubes as well, just dissolve in hot water and leave to cool)
1 tsplight soya sauce or Japanese shoyu
Salt (to taste or optional)
4MUSHROOM Imitation Crab Stick, cut into small chunks
18raw ginkgo nuts, shelled and skin peeled
6dried Shiitake mushrooms, soaked to softened, sliced 1 cm thick
1stalk of spring onion, chopped (for garnishing)

Special tools: Heat resistant Japanese tea cups (with lids), or any heat resistant Chinese tea cups, ramekins or bowls.


  1. Blanch raw ginkgo nuts in boiling water for 5 – 8 minutes. This is to ensure the ginkgo nuts are properly cooked during steaming.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with chopsticks until completely mixed. Avoid frothing to prevent bubbles forming on the custard when steamed.
  3. In another bowl, mix chicken stock, soy sauce, and salt (if using). Pour this stock mixture into the beaten eggs; mix well and strain through a fine sieve into a measuring jug. Skim off bubbles on the strained mixture.
  4. Divide the MUSHROOM Imitation Crab Stick chunks, Shiitake mushroom, and ginkgo nuts among the tea cups. Pour strained egg mixture slowly into individual cups to avoid bubbles from forming. Fill up the tea cup with the egg mixture to about ¾ full.
  5. Cover each tea cup with a lid (or aluminium foil) and place them in a hot steamer. Cover the steamer with the lid and steam on high heat for 2 – 3 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium low and continue to steam for 15 – 20 minutes. The cooking duration will depend on the steaming temperature. Check the egg custards after 12 - 15 minutes to see if they are done. The chawanmushi is done when the custard is set but still jiggles slightly. Insert a toothpick into the centre, it should come out clean. If the top is cracked or rough looking, it is overcooked.
  6. Remove from steamer and serve immediately with teaspoons or keep warm in the steamer (with heat turned off) until ready to serve. Sprinkle chopped spring onion right before serving.

QL Kitchen tips:

  • Raw ginkgo nuts are available at Chinese medical halls or sundry shops, they may be sold at supermarkets as well.
  • If you do not have chicken stock on hand, you can make the chawanmushi with just water instead of chicken stock, shoyu and salt but it will be less flavourful.
  • If you like your egg custard firmer, you can reduce the chicken stock to 500 or 550 ml.

QL Omega eggs are available at major hypermarkets and supermarkets. For more information on QL eggs, click here.

To find out more about MUSHROOM products and where to purchase, click here.

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