(Yields 8 portions)
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
In a pot add water and kombu leaf, and bring up to just below a simmer for 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and sprinkle the bonito flakes on to the surface of the warm water.
Let the bonito flakes sink to the bottom and steep. Do not boil dashi broth with kombu and bonito flakes inside as it can become bitter. Once the dashi broth has steeped for 30 minutes, strain through a fine sieve and chill.
Technique for assembling the Chawanmushi:
Steam the clams, remove from the heat, separate the clams from the liquor, strain and reserve the liquor in a fridge. Combine the chilled clam juice with enough chilled dashi to equal 1 litre. In a tall cylindrical vessel, crack the eggs and whip gently with chopsticks* so as to not aerate the eggs. Add the chilled dashi and season with mirin, soy and salt. Strain through a fine sieve to remove any sand etc.
*Ancient Japanese secret to get a silky smooth texture in your custard.
Separate and arrange 120 grams of clams in a shallow baking dish, shells open and facing up. Gently pour the egg custard over the clams with the shells above the custard line. Cover each dish with foil and place in a steamer over high heat for two minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to steam for another 6 minutes or until the custards are set. Note, the dish at kandara is quite big in surface, steaming the chawanmushi can take up to 20-30 minutes. The size of the dish determines the length of time required. Remove from heat and discard the foil.
Garnish with ikura, spring onions, pea sprouts, nasturtium, and flowers