Friday, June 22, 2018

Steamed Green Crab Egg Custard

When you hear "egg custard" you may think of a dessert such as crème brûlé least that is how my husband, someone with a sweet tooth thinks! He got excited for a mere second until he realized that I am making a crab broth for this custard.

Japanese savory steamed egg custard, known as chawanmushi in Japanese is generally made with dashi (stock) using dried bonito flakes (fish flakes) and kombu (seaweed). People add a variety of ingredients inside this custard such as mushrooms, shrimp, chicken, fish cakes, carrots, beans, and ginkgo. In this recipe instead of the traditional dashi I use green crab broth, a piece of slightly smashed ginger and kelp that I harvested from the New Hampshire coast. You may check my previous posts for further details on how I make my stock or broth, How to Prepare Green Crabs for Making Stock and Simple Green Crab Stock. The crabs came from an afternoon of hunting specifically for green crabs and surveying them. I must thank a group of concerned citizen scientists and the 3 University of New Hampshire representatives for the crabs that I am using in this recipe.

steamed green crab egg custard

Steamed Green Crab Egg Custard


1 cup of green crab stock, see How to Prepare Green Crabs for Making Stock, Simple Green Crab Stock links
2 large chicken eggs
1 1/2 tsp fish sauce (I prefer the 3 green crabs brand, seriously!)
About 1/3 cup fresh green crab roe (and crab mustard if interested)
4 cut carrot flowers, about 1/4 inch thick, cooked until soft, garnish
4 fresh cilantro leaves, garnish
4 ramekins


Make the crab stock or broth. In the meantime whisk chicken eggs in a bowl and strain it using a fine wire strainer into another bowl. Try to strain all the egg and scrape the bottom of the wire strainer to remove as much of the egg as possible. I tap the side of the strainer with my palm and this helps strain the whisked eggs. Once the broth is done strain the liquid in a fine strainer and discard the contents. If using previous frozen broth, heat it up before using. Season the stock with fish sauce.

Temper the hot broth and egg by scooping a ladle of the broth and while whisking the strained eggs slowly add the broth. Continue to add the hot broth slowly while whisking the eggs. The goal is to gradually raise the temperature of the whisked eggs without scrambling (cooking) them. 

Use a slotted spoon and divide the green crab roe/crab mustard in each ramekin. Pour the tempered egg and broth mixture into the ramekins. Cover the ramekins tightly with plastic wraps and place in a steamer. Be sure to have enough water for your steamer during cooking. Steam over high heat for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, partially uncover the plastic wraps carefully (it is very hot so avoid burning yourself) and place a piece of cooked cut carrot flower and cilantro leaf on top (I slide these in using chopsticks). Cover the cups up with the same plastic wraps and continue to cook for about another 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and serve hot.

Helpful Hints:

*You may remove some of the liquid from the roe and mustard with a spoon or rinse them in cold water and strain. If you rinse and strain them the flavor may diminish slightly.

whisk eggs in a bowl
strain the whisked eggs in a fine wire strainer into another bowl
strain all the whisked eggs
ramekins in a bamboo steamer
divide the crab roe in the ramekins
pour the broth and egg mixture
wrap the ramekins with plastic tightly
bamboo steamer in a wok style pot
with water below the bamboo steamer for steaming
cover the wok style pot
steamed green crab egg custard
cooked custard and roe
my mother-in-law gave me these pretty cups with lids
which are typically used for the chawanmushi
(I did not use these tea cups because
I was unsure how they would tolerate the heat)
crab roe and crab mustard--rinsed and strained

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