We love, love, love chawanmushi. There is nothing like a hot bowl of this delicate steamed egg custard on a cold night to get the appetite going. It’s comfort food, Asian style. It’s light, non-dairy, full of flavour and if you haven’t tried it, you really should head over to the nearest Japanese joint and order one, egg-lover or no.
We love this dish so much, in fact, that we started toying with the idea of turning it into a dessert. After all, warm desserts can be very comforting, for the stomach as well as the soul, and our Ginger Mushi does just that. The dessert is lighter than the regular egg custard as it has no dairy, the ginger gives us the right amount of kick, the plump juicy goji berries add sweetness while the sesame seed praline gives a nice toasty crunch!
- For Ginger Syrup
- 2 tbsp ginger puree
- 2/3 cup caster sugar
- 2/3 cup water
- For Sesame Praline
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
- For Ginger Mushi
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup ginger syrup
- 1/2 cup hot water
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp dried goji berries, soaked and drained
- 1 tsp candied ginger, chopped
- First make the ginger syrup. Place water and sugar in a pot and heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
- Add the ginger puree and give the mixture a good stir.
- Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the water reduces and the mixture thickens. You should be able to get no less than 1/2 cup of syrup out of this [We are not making a caramel here, so make sure you stir the mixture frequently so it doesn't darken].
- Strain 1/2 cup of the syrup into a bowl, add hot water, mix well and allow to cool.
- While the sugar mixture is cooling, prepare the sesame praline.
- Place sugar and the 2 tbsp water in a pot and heat over medium to low heat. Leave the sugar alone, DO NOT STIR, until it begins to turn a beautiful golden brown.
- Once the sugar reaches a nice color (take care not to let it burn), remove pot from heat, and stir in the black and white sesame seeds.
- Work fast. Quickly pour the gloriously golden sugar-sesame mix onto a prepared baking sheet placed over a heatproof tray. Using a heatproof spatula or a butter knife, spread it out into a thin layer. Now leave aside to cool and harden.
- Now for the custard. In a bowl, crack the eggs, add salt and mix slowly so as to minimise bubbles. Do not whisk. Try and pop or scoop out any bubbles when you can.
- Next, pour in the cooled sugar syrup and mix it in slowly. Strain the eggy mixture and pour into prepared heatproof cups.
- Gently drop in some candied ginger and plump goji berries into each cup. Steam the custards over medium to low heat for about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Serve hot. When serving, crack the hardened praline into large shards. Top each custard with a sesame shard, some additional goji berries and toasted black sesame seeds.
You can even add some red dates to add more flavour to the dish. When preparing the dates, halve them and remove the seeds. Then cook the dates in boiling water for about 30 minutes or until fork tender. Once ready, and while hot, coat the dates a little ginger syrup, a dash of salt, and let cool.