“Tea egg is a typical Chinese savory food commonly sold as a snack, in which a boiled egg is cracked and then boiled again in tea, sauce and/or spices. It is also known as marble egg because cracks in the egg shell create darkened lines with marble-like patterns. Commonly sold by street vendors or in night markets in most Chinese communities throughout the world, it is also commonly served in Asian restaurants. Although it originated from China and is traditionally associated with Chinese cuisine, other similar recipes and variations have been developed throughout Asia. “(Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_egg)
I do not think i need to introduce this Chinese snack. it is popular and can easily find in night markets or even shopping centre. It is just a hard boiled egg flavoured by mainly spices. It is braised over a rather long time to get the flavour penetrate into the eggs and the braising or boiling is with the shell on.
I did not boil for a very long time as I am concerned about the gas bills and I will be sharing a method that can get reasonably flavoured eggs. Of course, time is the essence and if you have time, just leave it over night. The longer the time it is submerged into the gravy, the stronger is the aroma in the eggs.
Ugly eggs yield strong flavour but beautiful marble eggs yield very faint aroma of the spices in the eggs. That is my personal opinion. The tastiest egg should be one that is dark brown in colour, meaning the egg white has already become dark brownish. Whitish marble eggs give you clue that the egg white is egg white, the flavour has not penetrate into the egg white as yet.
So the choice is up to readers. If you want tasty aromatic eggs, use the needle I suggested. If you want beautiful marble eggs, you can omit the needle piercing. I found that those with needle piercing are much tastier and aromatic..
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: 10 tea eggs
- 10 eggs
- 1.5 litres of water *
- 2 small cinnamon stick**
- 3 cloves**
- 5 star anises **
- 1 teaspoon of five spice powder (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorn
- 1 small piece of rock sugar
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of dark soya sauce
- 4 tablespoons of dark caramelized soya sauce
- 3 breakfast tea bags or 1 tablespoon of red tea (Pu Er etc.) (Optional)
* Water will very much depends on the size of your pot. The water must be able to cover the eggs. Therefore, all ingredients stated here are for your reference only.
** You can just omit cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anises and bay leaves and substitute with 3 teaspoons of five spice powder.
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- In a pot, put some cold water, boil the eggs until hard boil eggs which requires about 5-7 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Put all the spices and the water in a pot and bring to boil.
- When the eggs are cooled to touch, use a needle to pierce a few points on the eggs and use the back of a teaspoon to lightly break the shell as evenly as possible. If you want a beautiful marble egg, you can omit needle piercing.
- Put the hard boiled eggs into the braising sauce, reduce the heat to medium, let it simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, off the heat and let it sit in the pot until they cool down. On the heat again, boiled for 15 minutes, off the heat and let it sit in the pot for cooling. Repeat the processed for another 2 times and your eggs are ready to be eaten. (effectively, you will need boiling time of 1 hour, but if you are running short of time, 3 times boiling is adequate). For better flavour, leave the eggs overnight in the braising sauce and heat up before serving.
I remembered my niece was so happy when she saw the supermarket selling this type of tea eggs premix. Well, for a single girl like her who do not have a complete kitchen, that may help to satisfy her cravings but you may or may not like the spice mix that you purchased. But for a kitchen in full operations, all the ingredients that is needed are common household ingredients. Why not give it a try ?
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