Fermented Mushroom Chawanmushi Recipe

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Photo by Brett Stevens

Serves 8.

Seasonal bamboo shoots are a textural treat. Here, they are combined with a delicate yet powerful fermented mushroom chawanmushi (savoury custard), crisp Jerusalem artichoke and a smoked pig’s trotter broth. I love the fact that the bamboo is the main ingredient here – with the meat component taking on the form of the supporting light broth – rather than being the garnish to the meat dish, as you would typically expect.

Note: The pig’s trotter broth can be made in advance – it will keep refrigerated for 2–3 days or can be frozen for up to 6 months. If you don’t have a cold smoking set-up at home, ask your butcher if he can smoke the trotters for you. 

Fermented Shiitake Mushroom Juice


  • 200 g (7 oz) shiitake mushrooms
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt


  1. Finely slice the shiitake mushrooms and place in a vacuum-seal bag. Sprinkle over the salt, seal the bag, removing all the air, and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.
  2. The next day, strain the mushrooms and gently squeeze them as dry as possible, reserving all the liquid. Refrigerate the liquid until needed (the mushrooms can be sautéed in butter to make a separate dish).

Photo by Pixabay/ConnieMWT

Fermented Mushroom Chawanmushi


  • 4 eggs
  • 360 ml (12 fl oz) milk
  • 3 tablespoons Fermented Shiitake Mushroom Juice


Whisk all the ingredients together very well, then strain through a muslin (cheesecloth). Divide the mixture evenly among eight 175 ml (6 fl oz) ceramic dariole moulds, cover each tightly with plastic wrap and place in an 80 degrees C (175 degrees F) steamer for 13–15 minutes, or until the custard is just set.

To serve:

  • 12 New Guinea Green bamboo shoots, cut in half lengthways and outer leaves removed
  • 100 ml (3-1/2 fl oz) melted butter
  • sea salt

Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. In a separate saucepan, warm 200 ml (7 fl oz) of the smoked pig’s trotter broth (freeze the excess and use it in soups as a base stock).

Blanch the halved bamboo shoots in the boiling water for 20 seconds. Drain, then brush with the melted butter and season with sea salt.

Spoon the custards out into individual serving bowls. Place three bamboo halves over each custard, add a tablespoon of the broth to each bowl and garnish with the crisp Jerusalem artichoke skins. Serve.

More from From the Earth:

Cover courtesy of Hardie Grant Books

Excerpted with permission from From the Earth by Peter Gilmore, published by Hardie Grant Books October 2018, Hardcover RRP $60.00.

Inspiration for edible alchemy.