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Cup Custard

Author Lucy Seligman


  • 3 oz. chicken breast meat boned and skinned
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 2-1/2 cups cold dashi* fish stock
  • 2 teaspoons mirin sweet sake
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 small raw shrimp shelled and de-veined
  • 8 uncooked gingko nuts shelled and peeled or 2 uncooked chestnuts, shelled, peeled, and halved
  • 2 fresh shiitake mushrooms halved
  • 8 fresh green peas parboiled, or 4 snow peas, strings removed, parboiled and halved
  • 4 thin slices kamaboko steamed fishcake


  1. Cut the chicken into eight pieces and marinate for 15 minutes in the sake and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Drain.
  2. Beat the eggs and add the dashi, remaining soy sauce, mirin, and salt. Strain through cheesecloth or a fine sieve. Try to avoid making bubbles.
  3. Distribute marinated chicken, shrimp, ginkgo nuts, mushrooms, peas, and fishcake among four custard cups. Pour the strained egg-dashi mixture over it until the custard cups are almost full. If there are any bubbles, prick them with a toothpick.
  4. Preheat a steamer. Cover the cups with plastic wrap and steam for 15-20 minutes over medium heat. Check doneness by sticking a toothpick through the center; if egg sticks to the toothpick, continue steaming for a few more minutes. The top of the custard should be smooth and jiggle slightly if touched.
  5. When cooked, remove the plastic wrap and place chopped trefoil or spinach in the center. Top with a few slivers of yuzu or lemon peel.
  6. *Japan’s basic fish stock made from dried bonito shavings, kelp, or a combination of the two.

Recipe Notes

To garnish:
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mitsuba (trefoil) or parboiled spinach leaves
A few slivers of yuzu (Japanese citron) or lemon peel