Chicken chawan-mushi with cucumber salad
In Japan, this method of cooking chicken is known as "white chicken". Because the meat cools quickly in the ice, it remains dense and juicy. The cucumber adds a touch of crisp delicacy.
- Sprinkle the chicken with sake and salt, then marinate for 3-4 minutes.
- Bring the water to the boil, place the chicken in it, then return to the boil.
- Turn the heat off and let the breasts sit in the water for 10 minutes.
- Remove the breasts from the saucepan and plunge them into a good quantity of ice, in cold water.
- Leave for 10 minutes to completely cool, then refrigerate until needed. Cut the chicken into small cubes.
- Break the eggs into a bowl and add 1½ cups of dashi stock, salt, soy sauce, sugar and sake.
- Gently whisk with a stirring motion, but don't let the mixture froth. Should any form, carefully mop it up with a paper towel and discard.
- Remove the hard stems from the shiitake mushrooms and slice them thinly.
- Divide the mushrooms and cubes of chicken between each of 4 small bowls or china cups.
- Carefully pour over the chawan-mushi mixture.
- Boil the water in a steamer and steam the -ramekins until the mixture has just set and is still quivering - about 6-8 minutes.
- While the custards cook, slice the cucumber into thin matchsticks and toss gently with the chilli and sesame oil.
- When the custards are cooked, garnish with the cucumber salad. Serve immediately.
- Heat the water and mushrooms in a small saucepan. Just before the water boils, add the bonito flakes, then turn off the heat.
- Leave the stock until the flakes sink to the bottom of the pan, then strain. Makes 500ml.