"Chawanmushi is often served in Japan as part of a kaiseki meal, at the beginning. It's made with eggs, dashi, mirin and soy sauce, steamed and topped with toppings such as shiitake, prawns and lily root," says Federico Zanellato. "We've replaced the dashi and mirin with parmesan consommé and use a rosemary dashi."
- 400 ml milk
- 100 gm Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
- 125 gm lightly beaten egg (about 2½ eggs)
- 1½ tsp white soy sauce (see note)
- ½ tsp usukuchi soy sauce (see note)
- 6 cm piece of konbu (see note)
- 8 gm (½ cup firmly packed) bonito flakes (see note)
- 1½ tbsp (firmly packed) rosemary leaves
- 1½ tbsp white soy sauce
- 1½ tbsp mirin (see note)
- 1/8 tsp xanthan gum (see note)
- 1Heat milk in a saucepan over low-medium heat to 80C (4-5 minutes). Add parmesan, stir well to combine, then set aside to infuse (40-50 minutes). Strain through a coarse sieve, then through a coffee filter into a jug, pressing lightly to extract all the liquid; you may need to replace the filters a few times as they become blocked (discard solids). Combine remaining ingredients, except shiso and oil, with 100ml cold water and ½ tsp sea salt flakes, then stir into infused milk. Pass again through a fine sieve and divide among four 160ml bowls. Steam in a large steamer over barely simmering water or in a steamer oven at 85C until just set with a slight wobble in centre (14-16 minutes). Set aside at room temperature.
- 2For rosemary dashi, heat konbu and 250ml water in a saucepan over low-medium heat to 60C and maintain heat for 1 hour to infuse. Discard konbu and bring stock to 85C. Add bonito and rosemary, turn off heat and infuse briefly (10 seconds), then strain through a sieve lined with a double layer of muslin (discard solids) and set aside to cool (30-40 minutes). Add soy sauce, mirin and xanthan gum, blend with a stick blender to dissolve gum, then strain through a very fine sieve.
- 3To serve, spoon a little rosemary dashi over chawanmushi (you may have some leftover; see note), scatter with shiso leaves and dot with oil.
Note White soy sauce (shiro shoyu), usukuchi soy sauce (light soy), konbu, bonito flakes and mirin are all available from Japanese grocers. Xanthan gum is sold at health-food shops. Dashi will keep refrigerated for a week in an airtight container and can be used as a dressing or for seasoning.
Drink Suggestion: LuMi sommelier Michela Boncagni suggests 2012 Prosecco Borgo Molino, Treviso.
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