Chawan-mushi steamed cup – a seasonal Japanese dish

food-japanesesteamedcupNORTH Dorset-based Japanese cook Teruko Chagrin has a warming traditional Japanese soup recipe for February, perfect for this raw cold winter.


For 4 people


4 small and shallow cups


Steamer (Chinese bamboo one is the best)



2 cups (180ml x 2) Dashi stock

• Dashi is Japanese sea stock made from Kombu seaweed, dried bonito fish flakes, small dried fish called Niboshi and dried Shiitake mushrooms. You can use ready made Dashi concentrate or an instant Dashi sachet. If you would like to make it from scratch, here is the recipe;

2 large eggs

100g chicken breast skinless

To marinade the chicken: 2 tsp soy sauce, 2 tsp Mirin or Sake

Pinch of sea salt

4 uncooked small prawns

A few slices of dried shiitake mushroom or a fresh one sliced

Blanched spinach or Mitsuba Japanese honeywort (optional-coriander or any cress could be an alternative)

1/2 medium carrot

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tsp light soy sauce

2 tsp Mirin



Mix 2 cups of dashi, soy sauce, Mirin and salt in a bowl.

Slice the chicken breast thinly to fit the size of the cup you steam in. Put them in a bowl with soy sauce and Mirin and leave it for at least 20 minutes.

Soak the shiitake mushroom pieces (if they are dried) in warm water until they are softened. This should take 10 minutes in lukewarm water. If you are using fresh Shiitake, just slice them thinly.

Peel the prawns then take the veins out. Pat dry with kitchen paper then sprinkle with a little Sake..

Slice the carrots very thinly (3mm) then stamp a few flower shapes. If you don’t have a suitable mould, it is possible to cut out the flower shape using a knife!

Beat the eggs without making bubbles. (If you use chopsticks to mix the eggs, keep the end of chopsticks at the bottom of the bowl. This will stop making bubbles).

While you are waiting for the Dashi stock to cool down, you can lay the marinated chicken in the bottom of the cups then the Shiitake mushroom slices and a prawn with one or two flower shaped carrot slices on top.

When the Dashi stock is cool, pour it into the beaten eggs. (Use a sieve to make the whole mixture smoother if you want a silky effect for your guests). Pour the mixture into the cups then put some green garnish on top.

Put the cups in the steamer and bring it to the boil for 5 minutes then turn it down to simmer for 15 minutes. Check it by shaking it gently. If it wobbles slightly, it is ready to serve with a spoon.