Traditional Japanese Chawanmushi

Switch up your usual fall comfort food with this traditional Japanese bowl

Credit: Sheryl and Karla

Chawanmushi is Japanese style comfort food you can make at home

This traditional egg custard dish from Japan is the perfect comfort food for fall

Chawanmushi is a little bowl filled to the brim with a combination of ingredients steamed in egg.


  • 1-2 boneless chicken thighs/breasts, cooked,cut into small pieces and seasoned with 1 tsp soy sauce and 1 tsp sake
  • 6 fish balls, sliced up
  • 3 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 cup kale, soaked in hot water
  • 8 ginko nuts (optional)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups dashi soup stock
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sake


  1. Prep all the filling ingredients: thaw or cut up or blanch.
  2. Put a little bit of each ingredient into each of the bowls. Chicken goes on the bottom and the most colourful ingredients go on the top.
  3. Crack 4 eggs into a bowl. Mix gently but do not beat air into them.
  4. Add dashi stock mixed with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce and 1 tablespoon sake.
  5. Mix, then strain through a fine-meshed strainer to remove the slippery part of the egg white.
  6. Fill about 2/3 of the bowls with egg mixture, leaving some of the ingredients exposed.
  7. Put the lids on the chawanmushi bowls. If you don’t have a lid put a piece of saran wrap over top. 
  8. Boil a pot with about 1.5 inches of water in the bottom. Turn it down when boiling and gently put each of the chawanmushi bowls into the pot. 
  9. Cover the pot with the lid and simmer on lowest heat setting for 20 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean or custard is set.

* The chawanmushi may also be cooked in the oven in a water bath at 350ºF for 20 minutes. 

Makes: 4 bowls