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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bean Curd Chawan Mushi - Soy Steamed Egg

Yuba Chawan Mushi 1

Yuba Collage

Yuba Chawan Mushi

I tread perilously every time I get ready to photograph for my blog. Through trial and error, I have vaguely gotten the knack of capturing the right lighting in my kitchen. I have graduated from using craft paper as my background to fabric (table cloth, placement mat. dish towels...) which gives a softer finish and has a lesser tendency to bounce harsh lights around. However, photographing food for me now, can only, at best be considered a hit or miss exercise. I still get exasperated when the still shot ,which appears sharp and polished on the tiny camera display screen, turns drab and blah when projected on the computer screen.

Styling for me is especially challenging as I am not blessed with 'the eye'. I sometimes feel that the way I style my photos is quite similar to the way I dress - there are days where I can throw a few disparate pieces of clothing together and look good in them and others where my garbs selection just make me feel like an awkward duck. Today is one of those days when I am having a bad pictorial day - photo block, whatever you call it for I stood there staring for quite a long while at the 2 bowls of egg custard, not knowing what to do with them....

Consolation came after I put away my camera and started digging into the Chawan Mushi. It tasted simple, honest and totally unpretentious. I felt purged. I have always loved Tofu and have on a few occassions made egg tofu from scratch. This particular recipe was published in one of the old Japanese food periodicals I bought in Japan a few years back. This particular issue featured 100% on tofu. What got me excited is the idea of steaming dried bean curd skin ( Yuba, 湯葉、腐竹,Fuchock) in egg tofu. The egg tofu is made by mixing egg with soya bean milk. The stock used can be kept light with a Kombu Dashi, Mushroom stock or for those who prefer a stronger flavour, chicken stock. The tender bite from the bean curd skin provides a textural contrast to the soft, custardy tofu. A very pleasant, serene experience.... unfortunately, this did not come through in the photos.

P.S. : I made the mistake of adding the bean curd skin into the egg/soy liquid. This actually displaced air in the liquid and resulted in bubbles. I would try to place the bean curd skin in the bowl next time before gradually pouring in the egg/ soy  mixture.
Recipe :

1            egg
1/3 cup   mushroom dashi stock ( I used the porcini mushroom powder to make the stock.)
1/2 cup   unsweetened soya bean milk

10g         dried bean curd skin (use the thin version commonly used for chinese desserts)

1/4 tsp     Soya sauce
1/4 tsp     Salt

Method :

1. Soak dried bean curd skin in water for 3 mins to soften. Drain water.
2. In a bowl, beat egg very lightly to avoid creating too many bubbles.
3. Add the soya sauce and salt into dashi stock.
4. Add (3) into (2)
5. Add Soya bean milk and mix well.
6. Use a fine mesh, filter the egg mixture into 2 small bowls. Add softened bean curd skin.
7. Steam (6) over strong boiling water for 1.5mins. Reduce heat to low boiling and continue to steam for 8 mins.  Insert bamboo skewer into tofu. When cooked, you should not see any milky liquid surface.


Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

I *so* get what you said about hits and misses. I get that all the time. I've always admired your styling. You use the most appropriate props to enhance your food. That's something I should learn to do. Beautiful steamed egg you made, Shirley.

WendyinKK said...

Oh great idea!!!
Lining the bowls with beancurd!!!

These look so silky smooth...flows down the throat, I guess :)

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Hi Wendy, yes it is quite a clever idea to steam the egg with bean curd skin - I really like the recipe. But next time, I will use chicken stock and I will make sure no bubbles are formed.

thecoffeesnob said...

I completely hear you, Shirley, about the photo styling. You do a fantastic job though- everyone comes out looking delicious!

La Table De Nana said...

I love the photos! I saw bean curd at my Asian market..I have been picking up things here and there because of mentors we both know:)I haven't quite let it stay in my basket yet:)..One day.. And I know this will sound so contrived ,but it's true.... I thought the same thing just recently if not yesterday! About the eye..and taste in the way we dress..and sure enough..sometimes someone will have your own style and I like it..and for some horrible trait of vanity somewhere hidden deep inside I think..oh thank you and thank goodness..but in myself..I know it's just a circumstancial fluke:)

Have a great do have a great eye..~
And what is it about the cute little sharp pic in the screen growing softer on the big computer?

Angie's Recipes said...

You are creative! I have never thought of using soya milk to steam the egg. It's intriguing.

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Hi Angie, no, I cannot take credit for the creativity. Steaming soya bean milk with egg is one of the basic methods to make home-made tofu... :)

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Hi Angie, no, I cannot take credit for the creativity. Steaming soya bean milk with egg is one of the basic methods to make home-made tofu... :)

Irene's Footprints said...

I suppose this is something like dou hua dessert?

Smooth and great foto shot again.

You need not buy the eco lights since you have "graduated".

: )

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Hi Irene - exactly the texture is like dou hua but this is savoury.
Eh, I am not happy with these series of shots leh... Actually I already have the ego lights. I used it for a short while then went back to natural light... I still don't know how to position the lights properly.

Trissa said...

Totally with you - you wouldn't believe how many shots I have to take to get "the one"... then sometimes it turns out it's not "the one"! But anyway, I have to say your photos are great - all of them including this yummy dish!

Zurin said...

I dont know if youre going to believe me but I was looking at your photos for a long time (really! up an down and up again) and thinking to myself "this girl really knows how to take pictures...esp for a delicate dish like soya bean!"

and then I read your post~ I was so surprised it made me smile...exactly how I feel..I can really go out looking totally inappropriate but there are good times too ;)

great shots...a lovely light delicacy to them...oh I have TONS of misses too and yet they always look good on that little camera screen

tracieMoo said...

So smooth.. just like tau foo fah.. nice and healthy!! I love this :D


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