Post by Alison Hein.
Tea Eggs, a traditional Chinese specialty, make a fun family project or a delightful surprise for guests. Hard-boiled eggs are rolled and cracked, then steeped in rich, black tea. When peeled, a lovely, thin-lined mosaic pattern is revealed where the dark tea has seeped in.
In this simplified version, only eggs and tea are called for in the recipe. The end result is a hard-cooked egg with a distant, fragrant flavor that lingers lightly on the tongue – curious and interesting, yet mild enough for young palates. More traditional preparations call for adding soy sauce and / or a chef’s choice of spices. Chinese five-spice powder or Szechuan peppercorns add real zip. Or, you can take the eggs in a more dessert-like direction, adding spices such as cinnamon and cloves.
Make sure to peel the prepared eggs very carefully, or you may lose some of the lovely dark marbling. Also, be advised that dark, brewed tea can stain cutting boards and fingers alike, so choose your tools wisely.
This is one of those methods that’s imminently perfect for experimentation, with low risk or overhead. You are sure to delight family and friends with these fun and fragrant eggs – each one an individual piece of art, each one a lovely surprise, each one a delightful breakfast in bed!
4 cups water
2 tea bags (or loose tea) of strong black tea
Pour water into a small heavy saucepan and heat almost to a boil. Add tea bags to hot water to steep. Remove from heat.
Place eggs in a small heavy saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil on high heat and continue to cook eggs for 10 minutes, until hard-boiled. Cool slightly, then crack and roll on a hard surface so that thin lines appear all over the shell. Place cracked eggs into brewed tea, ensuring there is enough liquid to completely immerse eggs.
Allow tea to cool to room temperature, then transfer tea and eggs to a small glass dish and refrigerate. Keep eggs in tea for at least 4 hours, or as long as overnight. When ready, remove eggs and carefully peel off the shells to reveal the cracked tea pattern underneath. Serve cold.
Makes 2 tea eggs.