Cooking in a water bath, just like crème brûlée, makes these Japanese custards set yet incredibly silky. These chawanmushi from Eric Wolfinger are infused with umami-rich dashi and soy. They make a beautiful first course with a drizzle of Yuzu Ponzu and a garnish of fresh crab or uni.
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2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon Master Dashi (see Note), divided
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sake
Uni, crabmeat, steamed enoki mushrooms, scallions, and cilantro, for garnish
1 tablespoon Yuzu Ponzu (see Note)
How to Make It
Place eggs in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 11/3 cups dashi, soy sauce, and sake. Pour liquid through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl. Discard solids. Divide liquid among 4 small heatproof bowls or ramekins. Cover tightly with plastic wrap.
Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a pot fitted with a steamer basket over medium-low. Add bowls to steamer. Cover and steam until custard is set, about 15 minutes.
Unwrap custards. Garnish with uni, crabmeat, mushrooms, scallions, and cilantro, if desired. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon dashi with yuzu ponzu, and top custards evenly with mixture. Serve immediately.