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Created by Executive Chef Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson of Published On Main (a Vancouver eatery that was named Canada’s Best Restaurant), this recipe sees a classic Japanese steamed custard — called Chawanmushi — given a local twist thanks to B.C. tomatoes. The dish can be served on its own or topped with a variety of additions such as courgette, fava beans, and shaved fennel tops, according to Stieffenhofer-Brandson.
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Tomato Water Chawanmushi
2 cups (500 mL) local Sungold cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup (200 g) dashi (Japanese soup stock, can find at most grocery stores or use recipe below)
1 1/4 cup (250 g) tomato water
1/4 cup (50 g) mirin
1/3 cup (35 g) shiro dashi
Salt to taste
In a large bowl, crack all four eggs, plus two more egg yolks, and whisk. In a medium-sized pot, bring dashi up to a boil.
Temper the eggs by adding just a little bit of hot dashi at a time, while whisking. Once complete, add in tomato water to the egg mixture and season. Whisk once more.
Equally portion and pour into your desired bowls, leaving enough room for the tomatoes, and steam for about 5 to 8 minutes until it sets with a slight jiggle. Once steamed and set, arrange tomatoes and other desired toppings.
Dress with seasoned tomato water, basil oil (optional), and salt and pepper to taste.
1 kg (2.2 lbs) tomatoes
1 tbsp (20 g) salt
Blend tomato with salt and then hang over cheesecloth overnight with a bowl under to collect the tomato water. Collect, clean, and clear tomato water the next day. The tomato pulp can be repurposed for sauce or tomato jam.
8 cups (2 L) water
2-3 pieces kombu (edible kelp)
2 cups (500 mL) loosely packed bonito
Lightly toast kombu over open flame or under a broiler. In a small pot, place kombu in cold water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes.
Remove kombu, bring back to heat, and then add bonito. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to steep. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, and cool.
Serves 4 to 6.