Japanese breakfast for dinner?

We ate this at Smallwares on Fremont Street in Portland, and it was so delicious I wanted to figure out how to make it at home. It was surprisingly simple and cheap, and delicious too. Also, open to endless variations.

How to make Chawanmushi:

Put on a pot of beef broth: you can use beef bouillon cubes or toss in some shredded stew beef, or use the pan scrapings from yesterday’s roast beef. Use eight cups of water. Add a chopped onion and three chopped mushrooms. Cook the broth until it’s pretty concentrated, and add 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar or just white wine, and a squeeze of anchovy paste or fish sauce. Simmer some more.

Meanwhile mix six eggs in a bowl. Add five cups of the beef broth to the eggs, first tempering the eggs so they won’t scramble, and stir. Distribute some of the beef in the bottom of each of five deep bowls (like cafe-au-lait bowls, or even mugs). Pour the egg and broth into the bowls, and microwave for about 12 minutes or until the custard is set. Ladle a little more broth over the top and serve hot.

Vegetarian or Vegan?

Neither vegetarian nor vegan. But you could make the broth with miso and soy sauce and mushrooms, and it would be vegetarian.

Will it keep?

Yes, it was delicious for lunch the next day, but it won’t keep very long. You can freeze the broth for next time though.

Published by Karen Carr

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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