Custard and Seafood? I know it sounds crazy but read on as it is delicious.
Rather than thinking of sweet custard with fish, think of this dish as a seafood soup that is set with eggs.
You can mix and match many ingredients in this delicacy. My favourites are prawns and oysters or crab and scallops. Other alternatives include small pieces of whiting or even whitebait and Moreton Bay bugs. For a freshwater option I’ve used marron, crayfish, red claw and either trout or golden perch. Pick you favourites and give the ‘set-soup’ a try. Serves six portions.
200g green prawns, peeled and deveined
2tsp sake or mirin
4tsp soy sauce
2 green shallots, finely sliced
4 shiitake mushrooms, fresh or dried
2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup dashi granules
1 green shallot very finely chopped, green part only
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 bamboo or metal steamer
6 heatproof bowls for the seafood custard
1 fine sieve
1 glass jug
(1) Slice each of the shelled and deveined green prawns into four or five pieces, depending on the size of the prawns. Combine the sake (or mirin) and 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce in a glass bowl. Add the sliced prawns to the sake/soy mixture and tumble well to ensure that the prawns are well coated.
(2) Shuck and clean the oysters and place them into the refrigerator until needed. Bottled oysters will need to be drained well and then placed into the refrigerator.
(3) Wash the fresh shiitake mushrooms then remove stem and slice the caps. If using dried mushrooms, soak in warm water until softened. Finely chop shallots.
(4) Divide mushrooms and shallots between the six heatproof bowls. Then add equal amounts of prawns and marinade and pop one oyster into each bowl.
(5) Combine the dashi granules (or chicken stock powder) and the boiling water together in a glass bowl and stir until the granules are completely dissolved. Allow the broth to cool completely.
(6) To make the ‘custard’, combine the dashi (or chicken) broth, the remaining soy sauce and eggs in a glass bowl. Whisk very gently to combine, trying not to get too much froth on the top of the egg mixture. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug to remove any froth that has occurred – a froth free liquid gives the cooked seafood custard a beautiful silky texture.
(7) Pour equal amounts of the liquid mixture into each of the heatproof bowls before covering each bowl with a lid of alfoil. Crimp the edges of the foil slightly to ensure that no extraneous water finds its way into the savoury custards when steaming.
(8) Place your bamboo or metal steamer over the top of a pan (or wok) of boiling water. Carefully place the filled and covered custard bowls into the bamboo or metal steamer and cover with the steamer’s lid. Steam the custards for approximately 10 minutes.
(9) Carefully check to see if the custards are cooked. They should be a pale gold opaque colour and still a bit wobbly when the bowl is shaken. Depending on the size of your heatproof bowls, you may need to cook the custards for a few minutes more.
(10) When cooked, remove the bowls from the steamer. Sprinkle each Savoury Seafood Custard with a little of the finely sliced shallot and a drizzle of soy sauce. Serve the custards while still hot.
Dashi granules are available in the Asian section of large supermarkets or at Asian grocery stores. If you are unable to access dashi granules you can substitute chicken stock. If you are using a liquid stock, you will need two cups of stock and omit the boiling water from your ingredients list. If you are using dried stock, you will only need 1 tablespoon of chicken stock powder for the two cups of boiling water.