[Recipe] Dashi, Chawan mushi and Dobin mushi

Note: I really wanted to trying my hand at the recipes I found online on the Steamy Kitchen blog. I’ve copied some of the pictures for the Dashi Stock in case that particular entry goes away.

Dashi Stock

4 cups water
6-inch piece kombu or kelp (I had to improvise with the materials at hand and used 4 kelp knots)
2 handfuls of katsuobushi or bonito flakes (about 2 cups loosely packed)

To make dashi, use large bonito flakes or katsuobushi. They come in a big package at the Asian market. Look for the big flakes. The little flakes are for garnishing. Big flakes should be the size of a cornflake.

You’ll also need a 6-inch piece of dried kelp (seaweed) or kombu for dashi. They usually come long, folded and then dried. You’ll only need 6-inches and just a single layer, so break it apart.

Do not soak the kelp or even rinse it. Just take a damp cloth and wipe it down to clean any dirt off the seaweed. Add the kelp to water and turn the heat to medium-low.

Just before it comes to a boil, add two big handfuls of bonito flakes, stir and turn off the heat immediately.

Leave it to seep until the bonito flakes start to fall to the bottom of the pan, then strain.

The stock can be used now or frozen (use within one month).

Chawan mushi

I first had this in a Japanese restaurant in London and it was bloody marvellous. It’s a very light and silky steamed egg custard that is traditionally served in a lidded cup but can just easily as well be done in a ramekin.

This recipe serves 2 or 3, depending on the size of the cup/ramekin being used.

2 eggs
1.5 cups dashi stock
1 tablespoon light colored Japanese style soy sauce
1 teaspoon mirin
1 sliced shiitake mushroom
2-3 asparagus spears, sliced into pieces about 2 inches long.
2-3 shrimp, cleaned and deveined

Combine egg, dashi stock, soy sauce and mirin in a bowl and with smooth strokes, gently beat with chopsticks. Try not to create too much froth, because you don’t want a lot of air bubbles in your custard. Strain egg mixture through cheesecloth or strainer.

Divide egg mixture among the chawan mushi cups.

Add a few slices of mushroom, one shrimp, and an asparagus piece (using an end piece that includes the pointy tip looks best) to each cup. Cover with lids if using chawan mushi cups, or cover with foil if using the ramekins or teacups.

Place cups into steamer basket. Steam on high heat for 2 minutes, then reduce heat to low for another 10-12 minutes.

Test the surface with toothpick or skewer to check doneness…some clear liquid should form on top when prodded. Custard should be smooth and soft but not super firm. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look completely gelled, it is supposed to be a silken consistency. If it looks underdone, just keep on the steamer and re-cover, checking back at 1-2 minute intervals until it reaches the desired consistency.


Dobin mushi

Dobin mushi is a soup that is cooked and served in a teapot. You should first pour out and drink the broth while enjoying the bits left in the pot.

For two people:

2 tiger prawns, cleaned and deveined
2 king scallops, without roe, cut in halves
2ounces of white fish, cut into thin slices (I had cod)
1/2 carrot, sliced thinly
2 asparagus, sliced in 2 inch lengths
2 mushrooms, cut into slices.
1 tbsp soy sauce

Matsutake mushrooms are very traditional in this dish, but they cost a small fortune and aren’t that easy to get a hold of. I used some shiitake mushrooms and it came out quite nicely.

Place all the ingredients into the teapot. Ladle in some dashi stock (enough to cover) and add the soy sauce and a sliver of lime peel.


Steam for 8-10 minutes (longer if you have chicken or other meats that require longer to fully cook).

Serve immediately. You can add a twist of yuzu or lime if you want to add a zing of freshness.


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