With the Chinese tea eggs recipe we get in the heart of the Chinese culinary tradition. It is a simple but unmissable and characteristic preparation. In the shops and sellers of baoz and dumplings, near to the big bamboo steamers, you will always find a large basket full of tea eggs. And it is not uncommon to see someone walking carrying a transparent bag full of dark-shelled eggs.
Black tea, soy sauce and a skilful mix of spices: this is the base of marinating, in which the eggs can remain to flavor for up to four days, filtering the aromas between the cracks in the shell. The result will be a flavored and marbled-looking albumen and a soft, almost creamy yolk, exactly like the ones you could buy here, in any street in Shanghai, especially in the morning. They are in fact consumed very often at breakfast.
Chinese tea eggs
Original recipe here
- 12 eggs
- 2 slices of ginger
- 3 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons black tea leaves
- 1 teaspoon Sichuan pepper
- 3 Tablespoons light soy sauce
- 4 teaspoons dark soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 Tablespoons Shaoxing wine
- 1,5 l water (deep enough so all eggs can submerge under liquid)
Bring the eggs to room temperature by leaving them out of refrigerator for a couple hours.
In the meantime, prepare the sauce base by adding the rest of the ingredients to a medium pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, and the turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat, open the lid, set it aside, and let it cool completely.
Bring another pot of water to a boil for the eggs. Once boiling, gently and quickly lower the eggs into the boiling water using a large spoon. You want to avoid dropping them and cracking them on the bottom of the pot. Let the eggs cook in the boiling water for 7 minutes.Then turn off the heat, quickly scoop out the eggs, and transfer to an ice bath. Allow them to sit in the ice bath until they are completely cooled. The purpose here is to stop cooking the eggs any further.
Once the eggs are cooled, lightly crack the egg shells. The goal here is to make enough cracks to allow the flavor of the sauce base to seep into the egg. I like to use a small spoon to tap the eggs, but be careful! It you tap or crack too hard, you might crack open the egg since the egg yolk is still very soft.
Soak the cracked eggs in your sauce base for 24 hours in the refrigerator, making sure all the eggs are completely submerged in the sauce base. After 24 hours, they’re ready. You can also soak them longer for a stronger flavor, for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.