Saturday, March 30, 2013
Tea egg is a typical Asian savory food commonly sold as a snack. It is also known as marbled egg because the cracks in the egg shells create darkened lines with marble-like patterns. Chinese Tea Eggs are commonly sold by street vendors or in night markets in most Chinese communities. This Easter, why not try some Chinese Tea Eggs instead of the traditional dyed eggs? These Chinese Tea Eggs are flavorful snacks and just as beautiful as other dyed eggs, don’t you agree? Plus, the lovely colors are all natural from the tea, soy sauce and other spices used in the marinade.
I personally love a soft egg yolk in my boiled eggs. So, this is how I prepared mine. If you preferred a hard boiled egg instead, by all means go for it. I’ll put the cooking time in details in the recipe for both “doneness”. I think the soft egg yolk (糖心蛋黃) is gorgeous, don’t you agree?
These Chinese Tea Eggs are super simple to prepare, here’s what you need to do. First, place the eggs in a medium pot and fill with cold tap water to cover the eggs by 1-inch. This step is important because if you add cold eggs into hot water instead, the egg shells will crack. Yes, we’ll be cracking them, eventually, but not now. When the eggs are still raw, you know what will happen when they cracked. Not pretty, not pretty at all!
Cover the pot and bring to a boil on medium low heat and let the eggs simmer for 3 minutes for soft egg yolks. (8 minutes for hard boil eggs)
Rinse the eggs under cold tap water until cooled.
Here’s the fun part, with the back of a spoon, gently tap the eggshells to make cracks all over the shells. See, you do get to crack the shells; as much or as little as you wanted. The more you tap, the more marbles and patterns you’ll get on the eggs. I love lots of cracks because that also means lots of flavors. But please be gentle, you still want the egg shells intact. Then, set them aside after you had the fun.
My Mom gave me this black tea leaves called Pu-erh (普洱茶葉 in Chinese). It’s a type of Chinese black tea that’s really dark and quite flavorful. Or, you can simply use any other black tea varieties that you have on hand.
With the same medium pot, add 4 cups of water, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, star anise, tea leaves, cinnamon stick, sugar, and five spice powders and simmer the liquid for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the cracked eggs while the liquid is still hot. Cover and let them steep overnight.
I personally love to serve these Chinese Tea Eggs with a sprinkle of Szechuan Pepper Salt (椒鹽). Not only it adds a punch, but also a little crunch from the flaky salt.
Simply heat the cracked Szechuan pepper and flaky salt (kosher or sea salt) in a small dry pan for a few minutes until fragrant and that’s it. These Chinese Tea Eggs are best serve warm or at room temperature. I simply reheat the number of eggs that I’m serving in the pot of tea-marinate, until they are slightly warmed through.
My hubby and the kids love them plain without the pepper salt. Either way, you can taste the spices and black tea in these eggs. I hope you’ll give them a try because they taste even more amazing than their look! Happy Easter everyone. I’m going to do some “egg hunt” in my pot of tea mixture!
Chinese Tea Eggs (糖心茶葉蛋): (Printable Recipe)
Ingredient for the Tea Eggs:
6 to 8 eggs
4 cups water
6 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 star anise
3 tablespoons black tea (or 2 teabags), I used 普洱茶葉
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon turbinado sugar (a.k.a raw sugar), or you can use brown sugar
2 tablespoon five spice powder
Ingredients for the Pepper Salt:
2 tablespoons kosher or coarse salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
To prepare the Chinese Tea Eggs:
Place the eggs in a medium pot and fill with cold tap water to cover the eggs by 1-inch. Bring the pot to a boil on medium low heat and let the eggs simmer for 3 minutes. Remove the eggs and discard the water. Rinse the eggs under cold tap water until cooled. With the back of a spoon, gently tap the eggshells to make cracks all over the shells. Set aside.
With the same medium pot, add the 4 cups of water, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, star anise, tea leaves, cinnamon, sugar, and five spice powders and simmer the liquid for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add the eggs. Cover and let them steep overnight.
To prepare the Pepper Salt:
Place salt and pepper in a small pan and heat over low heat for a few minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before use.