Savoury custard with mackerel and pickled rhubarb (chawanmushi)
- February 2023
- Serves 4
- Hands-on time 25 min, plus 1 hour pickling. Oven time 20 min
Rhubarb and custard in a savoury setting? You bet – chawanmushi is a Japanese egg custard usually flavoured with dashi and topped with umami-rich mushrooms and seafood. This one uses the eggy canvas to showcase the wonderful flavour combo of smoked mackerel and pickled rhubarb – resulting in something very special.
For another savoury spin, try Felicity Cloake’s cheddar and nutmeg custard tart.
- 16.7g (3.7g saturated)
- 16.7g (14.1g sugars)
- 3 medium free-range eggs
- 400ml dashi stock (fresh or made with dashi powder)
- 1 tsp mirin
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 40g shiitake mushrooms, halved if large
- 2 smoked mackerel fillets, broken into flakes
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced
For the pickled rhubarb
- 100ml rice wine vinegar
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 rhubarb stalk (about 200g), cut into 2cm slices
- 20g fresh ginger, sliced
- To pickle the rhubarb, put the vinegar, sugar, salt and 100ml water in a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar dissolves, then simmer for 2 minutes. Put the rhubarb and ginger in a clean heatproof container, then pour over the pickling liquid and cover. Chill for at least 1 hour.
- Put 4 deep ramekins, cups or bowls (that hold at least 200ml) in a saucepan wide enough so they fit in with some space between each. Pour enough water in the saucepan to reach halfway up the sides.
- In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, dashi, mirin, soy and salt until well combined. Pass through a fine sieve into a jug (this helps achieve a silky texture).
- Take the ramekins out of the saucepan and bring the pan of water to the boil. Divide the mushrooms, mackerel and spring onions between the ramekins then pour over the custard mixture. Cover each ramekin with a lid or foil. Once the water has come to the boil, reduce the heat to very low and carefully lower in the ramekins. Cover and cook very gently (you don’t want the water to boil) for 15-20 minutes until the custard has set. Test the custard by tilting a cup slightly – if it is runny, keep going.
- Carefully remove the custard ramekins/cups from the water and serve with the pickled rhubarb on top.
You can keep any leftovers in another ramekin/cup and keep chilled for up to 2 days. To reheat, steam in the same way for 2 minutes.
The rhubarb can be pickled up to one week ahead. Keep it in the fridge
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