A tea egg is a common snack found in China and Taiwan. It is prepared from hard boiled eggs and tea leaves, and is commonly sold by street vendors in Chinese communities around the world. Tea eggs are a beautiful way to use tea to create an edible art form. The tea leaves a deep brown marbled pattern on the hard boiled eggs, making them lovely to display as well as to eat!
To prepare your tea eggs, first boil the amount of eggs to be prepared until they are hard-boiled in a saucepan. Once they are completely hard-boiled, you must then take a spoon, and carefully crack the outside shell all the way around on the outside, or roll the eggs lightly on a towel. The more cracked the shell is, the more dyed your eggs will be! Once you’ve lightly cracked all the hard-boiled eggs, return them to the saucepan filled with water. This time, add to the water the following:
- 5 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoon black tea leaves or 2 tea bags (you can also use Pu-erh)
- 3 piece star anise
- 1 small stick cinnamon or cassia bark
- 1 teaspoon cracked peppercorns (optional)
Cover the eggs in that preparation and simmer on low for 3 hours, adding more water if necessary. Drain and serve the eggs either hot or cold. After the peel comes off of the egg, you will see a beautiful marbled spiderweb of light and dark browns formed by the tea mixture the eggs were boiled in. You can also change the flavor by adding or substituting other spices, or Chinese five-spice mixture, which adds a savory, slightly salty tone to the egg.
It should be noted that green tea should not be used to make tea eggs as it will produce a more bitter egg. Black tea and Pu-erh teas are optimal, and you can even substitute chai spices for Chai Tea Eggs.
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