Chawanmushi, Japanese Savory Egg Custard


Maria Kanno/Flickr CC 2.0 

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Chawanmushi is a Japanese hot appetizer. It is a type of egg custard steamed in a cup, but it is not sweet. You might find it at sushi restaurants or slightly more formal Japanese restaurants in Japan. “Chawan” means teacup or rice bowl and “mushi” means steamed in Japanese, and it is indeed steamed food in a cup. Chawanmushi’s flavor comes mainly from Dashi, soy sauce, and mirin, and even though Chawanmushi is a savory dish, the texture is similar to egg flan.

Dashi is a class of soup and cooking stock used in Japanese cuisine. Dashi forms the base for miso soup, clear broth, noodle broth and many kinds of simmering liquid.


  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups dashi soup stock, cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sake
  • 1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken thigh (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1/4 enoki mushrooms, chopped, or 4 shiitake mushrooms (stems removed and thinly sliced)
  • 8 slices kamaboko or narutomaki fish cakes

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl.

  3. Mix cool dashi soup stock, soy sauce, salt, sake, and sugar in another bowl.

  4. Add the dashi mixture in the egg mixture gradually. Strain the egg mixture.

  5. Put mushrooms, chicken, and kamaboko or narutomaki slices in four chawanmushi cups, or teacups.

  6. Fill each cup to three-quarters full with the egg mixture. Cover the cups.

  7. Preheat a steamer on high heat.

  8. Turn the heat down to low and carefully place cups in the steamer. 

  9. Steam for a few minutes on high heat.

  10. Turn down the heat to low and steam for about 10 to 15 minutes more, or until done.

  11. Poke a bamboo skewer in the chawanmushi and if clear soup comes out, it's done.

  12. Serve immediately.


Use ramekins or other small bowls and cover with aluminum foil if you don't have a small cup with a lid.