Tadaaaaaa! I finally started looking into chinese cuisine! For real!
One of my first attempts was a half-dozen tea leaf eggs. It’s a common snack here, absolutely delicious, and it’s a nice change from the classic hard-boiled eggs.
The appearance may seem strange to Western eyes: I had a hard time getting a few sceptical friends visiting me in Shanghai to give them a try
But there are only good things in it! Tea leaf eggs are about hard-boiled eggs with a slightly cracked shell marinated in a mixture of water, soy sauce, sugar and spices.For 6 eggs (This recipe is a hybrid between my book’s recipe and a recipe given by a Chinese friend). 6 eggs For the marinade: 1 liter of water
8-10 tablespoons of soy sauce (I use a light soy sauce, with less salt) Pepper Powdered sugar Cinnamon (in sticks is better – but I always add a little ground cinnamon anyway) Star anise 3-4 handfuls of black tea leaves (optional – actually, you can make tea leaf eggs without tea leaves – and it tastes just as good! If you do put tea leaves in however, try to go for black tea instead of green tea which is a bit more sour. Oh and I often just cut up tea bags because I rarely have tea leaves at hand I also sometimes put a couple of rosebuds or other tea-flowers in the marinade when the cooking is done, but even though I like to think the contrary, I’m pretty sure the taste difference is minimal ) 1 orange peel (optional) Cloves (optional) Nutmeg (optional)
Meanwhile, prepare the marinade:
In a large pot (all eggs must be able to hold in it side by side), boil the water with the soy sauce.
Then add all ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
(The marinade is really a matter of taste: I like mine to be more sweet, but some like a more salty version. The best way is to taste it and adjust the quantities of sugar/spices/soy sauce)
Once your eggs are boiled, rinse them with cold water. With the back of a teaspoon, gently tap the shell to crack it all over before dipping the eggs into the marinade. (This is what will give them their « marbled » look).
Cook the eggs in the marinade on low heat for about fifteen minutes.
You can obviously eat the eggs right after, but it is best to let them marinate overnight so the spices really impregnate the eggs.
So tempting, or not at all? :)