Enjoy Meltingly Soft French-style Flan Topped with Savory Beef Sauce

The Yomiuri Shimbun
French-style steamed egg flan

As the temperatures drop, it’s time to warm up with comfort food. French cuisine chef Shinsuke Ishii recommends flan, which is a savory steamed egg, as an alternative to soup. His recipe is topped with a thick sauce containing the umami flavor of beef.

Flan is made by steaming beaten eggs. One may associate flan with a dessert like custard pudding, but it is often served as a savory appetizer in French cuisine by diluting beaten eggs with bouillon.

Ishii said he serves seafood flan at his restaurant.

“Flan is soft and tender, like soup,” he said. “It is warm and rich in flavor, making it perfect for winter.”

To make the egg mixture, Ishii added chicken broth powder dissolved in water to beaten eggs. The salt content of the chicken broth can vary, so it is recommended to adjust the portion by checking the label on the container of whichever product you use. Ishii said consomme or beef bouillon are also good substitutes.

The egg mixture was poured into heatproof containers and steamed. Then, Ishii made a hearty sauce to top the flan. Beef, eggplant and nameko mushrooms were simmered down with a slightly diluted bouillon until the eggplant and nameko became soft, while the umami of the beef was extracted. Potato starch was added to thicken the sauce, as well as butter for richness.

The steamed egg was then generously sauced and served with a sprinkling of shaved green yuzu peel. The rich aroma of butter and beef rising from the flan was very French-style.

As I spooned the dish into my mouth, the bouillon’s umami spread from the smooth flan, mixing with the sauce’s umami to coat my tongue. The dish goes well with a glass of wine on a cold evening.

Flan with beef and mushroom

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 2 eggs
  • 400 cc chicken bouillon (Dissolve chicken broth powder according to directions shown on container)
  • Pinch of green yuzu peel
  • (Sauce)
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 small green onions
  • 100 grams thinly sliced beef
  • 50 grams nameko mushrooms
  • 500 cc chicken broth (dissolve powder to 70% of thickness indicated)
  • 10 grams butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp potato starch


1. Beat eggs in a bowl, mix with chicken bouillon and strain. Pour mixture into four heatproof containers and steam for eight minutes over low heat in a steamer.

2. To make the sauce, peel and cut an eggplant into 1-centimeter cubes. Cut beef into bite-size pieces. Wash the nameko mushrooms and drain.

3. Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and cook the eggplant. When the beef’s color changes, add chicken stock and simmer. After cooking for about five minutes while skimming, add nameko and boil down further.

4. Dissolve potato starch in one tablespoon of water, pour it into a boiling pan and stir to thicken the sauce. Add butter and turn off the heat when the butter melts. Add the green onions and mix to finish the sauce.

5. Take out the steamed egg and plate it. Pour the sauce over the egg and sprinkle shaved green yuzu peel. Garnish plate with leaves for decoration.

Use sauce for grilled salmon

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The remaining sauce is also delicious on grilled salmon.

This recipe makes more sauce than required for the flan. The remaining sauce can be used for other dishes, Ishii said.

The beef in the sauce adds volume to grilled salmon and makes the dish look appetizing, too. The buttery sauce goes great with the salmon. “It is also delicious over white rice,” Ishii said.