Tea eggs

This is Chinese fast food – deliciously savory hard-boiled eggs, ready to eat warm or cold. Soy sauce adds salt and flavor; black tea adds color and a subtly fragrant note. They make an easy, satisfying breakfast or convenient wholesome snack.

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons (2 bags) black tea
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 whole star anise
  • Water

Directions

  1. Place eggs gently in a large pot and add water to cover. Bring to boil. Depending on your preference, either 1) remove from heat, cover and let sit 20 minutes or 2) turn to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain eggs and let cool (you can speed cooling by giving the eggs a cold water bath, draining and refilling when the water gets warm again).
  2. Using your fingers or the back of a spoon, crack each eggshell all around. The cracks allow the flavor to penetrate, so make sure each eggshell is well and deeply cracked all over.
  3. Place cracked eggs in a pot, ideally keeping in a single layer. Add tea, soy sauce, star anise and water just to cover. Bring to boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for an hour, turning eggs if water gets low. Leave eggs in liquid, as eggs will continue to absorb flavor. Refrigerate when cool.

Notes

  • If you don’t have star anise, leave it out or try one of these optional flavorings: dried orange peel, five spice powder, sugar, cinnamon stick, sichuan peppercorns.
  • Frugal chinese grandmas can save the liquid for another batch. Store in refrigerator if using within a few days; otherwise freeze for a later date.
  • Cooking hard boiled eggs for a long time can result in a gray-green outer layer on the yolk that will not affect the taste. If the aesthetics really bother you, try these modifications: 1) cool hard-boiled eggs in ice-watera bath immediately after cooking, 2) bring water, tea and soy sauce to a boil first, then pour over well-cracked eggs, 3) let eggs soak in liquid in refrigerator overnight or longer. The flavor may not be as strong as in eggs simmered in the tea/soy sauce liquid, but your yolks should stay bright yellow.

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