Chawanmushi vs Gyeranjjim vs other savory egg custards?

They’re so similar but so different. I love a good Japanese chawanmushi with its delicate dashi broth, smooth, creamy textured custard and hidden treasures of shrimp or chicken, veggies, ginkgo nut, whatever. But i’m also very fond of comforting Korean Gyeranjjim, which is fluffy and heartier. I’ve made both, and while both are basically steamed savory egg custards, they’re so different i have a hard time deciding which i prefer. Chawanmushi is harder to cook (for me at least) without ruining the silky texture, while the fluffy, airy nature of the Korean dish is easier to achieve, though it is not without risk of overcooking as well.

Does anyone else love both and cook them at home? Do you have a preference for one over the other? What about other kinds of savory egg custards? Chinese versions? Non-Asian versions? Do you prefer stove stop steaming or baking them in the oven?


Your mention of chawanmushi brought a wave of nostalgia. Not that I ever had it, but when I was 12, my Girl Scout troop put together a cookbook, with each girl bringing a recipe from her family’s background, and one of the girls brought a recipe for chawanmushi. This was in the 1960s in Rantoul, Illinois, so this was pretty exotic, even given it was an Air Force town. Thanks for the memories!

1 Like

I love chawanmushi and I love eggs, so I was born to love that dish. I’ve only tried making it twice, and I’ve had the same difficulties you had at keeping that silky texture. The good news is at least it still tastes great, even if you don’t have the perfect texture. I’ve never had (or was even aware!) of the Korean dish. I’ll have to look that up and see how it’s done.

In Chinese cooking, savory steamed egg dishes are common too. My parents always made steamed eggs with minced pork and usually topped with scallions. Sometimes a salted duck egg might be thrown in. It pairs really well with a bowl of rice. I personally preferred when my mom just made a steamed egg with a bit of soy sauce and salt thrown in - it’s closer to chawanmushi in concept, but not as fancy.

1 Like

Yes! And chinese steamed eggs, which are likely the origin of chawanmushi.

I went through a phase, where I needed to get the texture just right. No bubbles, no separation of liquid, etc. It’s still a favorite (I just searched “chawanmushi” here and found a roughly monthly post :joy:).

I prefer the chinese style, without fillings - no risk of water leaching out of them. But a hybrid flavoring - dashi, soy sauce, sesame oil. Toppings or not, depending on the day.

The texture of gyeranjjim confuses me given my chawanmushi trials. I’ve only ever had it as a bubbly and sturdier custard, which my brain registers as overcooked chawanmushi even though know it’s not. I’ve looked for recipes, but they all have similar pictures…

1 Like

I have served a bastardized Chinese version, no filling, in French pot de creme cups, topped with scallions, seseme oil and soy, as cocktail accompaniments before a dinner party. Very well received.

Steamed stovetop over moderate heat, no boiling.



I would like to make this for my son - no dashi on hand but everything else. Tips/recipe you care to share?

I used no dashi. Off hand I thought that I might have used chicken broth, but this recipe seems to need neither dashi or broth. Enjoy!

1 Like

Is it served warm or cool?

As you please. As a savory course or as I suggested, an aperitif, warm. Leftovers I’ve enjoyed cold.

1 Like

Splash of fish sauce works instead of dashi, or skip it. Can also use chicken stock instead of water for more flavor.

The chinasichuan link is a good reference. Start with the lower liquid proportion and increase as you get comfortable (more liquid yields a more delicate custard, but is trickier).

For 1 egg, I set the first timer for 7 mins and start checking - you want a slight jiggle like quiche. Add a minute at a time and keep an eye on it, it goes fast at the end.

And even if it gets overcooked (bubbles in custard, liquid separates) it still tastes good, so mistakes are edible :slight_smile:


Thank you!

For 7 minutes, what depth of dish do you use?

Yamasa and mirin is just perfect for authentic chawan mushi… but still the vibrant colors of kamaboko and greenie spring onion add the happiness to your dining experience

1 Like


Sorry @ChristinaM - missed this question.

Varies - pyrex custard cup, ramekin, slightly shallower bowl all work - just check for the jiggle sooner in a shallower dish.

1 Like

I’ve made it using my standard Asian rice bowls, that I cover with a small plate. Bigger than your average serving, but that’s not a bad thing (for me at least)!

1 Like