Makes 4 servings
Tea eggs are just one of a variety of seasoned hard-cooked egg dishes that are popular in China. The shells of the cooked eggs are lightly cracked with a spoon, and the eggs are then simmered in an aromatic tea-based liquid, which leaves an attractive marbleized pattern on the whites when they are peeled. The eggs themselves take on the delicate flavors of soy and star anise. These eggs make a great snack or hors d'oeuvre, but they are also delicious cut up in a salad or a bowl of broth.
8 eggs, preferably medium
1/2 cup dark soy sauce
1/2 cup dry sherry
4 star anise
1 strip (1/2 x 2 inches) orange zest
3 cups water
3 Lapsang Souchong tea bags, strings removed
Toasted sesame oil for rubbing the eggs (optional)
1. Place the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil over medium heat. As soon as the water boils, remove the pan from the heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain off the water, cover the eggs with cold water and let stand until cool enough to handle.
2. Meanwhile, combine the soy sauce, sherry, star anise, orange zest and water in the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the tea bags.
3. When the eggs are cool, gently tap them with the back of a tablespoon so the shells are evenly cracked. Do not peel. Using the spoon, carefully lower the eggs one at a time into the simmering liquid. If it does not cover the eggs entirely, add more water. Cover the pan and simmer for 1 hour.
4. Transfer the eggs to a bowl or small casserole with a lid. Cover with the hot liquid and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate, preferably overnight.
5. Drain, peel and pat each egg dry. Rub with sesame oil, if desired. Serve halved or quartered.
The Good Egg:
More than 200 Fresh Approaches
from Soup to Dessert
By Marie Simmons
Houghton Mifflin Company, May 2000
480 pages, hardcover, two colors throughout
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created June 2000
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