The two previous Easters, I made Vegetable-Dyed Crackled Eggs and while they were fun for the kids to peel and to look at, they rarely wanted to eat the hard-boiled eggs afterward. However, Chinese Tea Eggs, seasoned with soy sauce and spices, are way tastier.
I had a packet of tea egg spices in the pantry that I opened with the intention of using them, but the package had a very strong Chinese herbal medicine smell, which I didn't want to flavor the eggs. So I put the package back in the pantry and decided I would just use some of my favorite spices instead.
This recipe is easily adjusted with whatever spices you prefer, the only constants are soy sauce for savoriness and tea for aroma. I used a mix of loose leaf black tea and bagged black tea with orange peel. If you don't have the latter, just toss in a dried orange peel. I added some Saigon cinnamon bark, star anise pods, and a black cardamom pod. The last may be harder to find, so I've listed it as optional.
I prefer to soft-boil the eggs since they'll be simmered for a bit in the spiced tea mixture, so that the eggs won't be rubbery. Crack the shells without peeling them, simmer, and let them soak in the flavorings overnight.
The result is a marbled hard-boiled egg redolent with the aromas of tea and spices. A great snack at any time, but for Easter, I let the kids peel the shells so they can unwrap each egg's unique crackled effect for themselves.
Chinese Crackled Tea Eggs
Feel free to halve the recipe, but for a dozen eggs, you'll need:
12 soft-boiled eggs
6 cups water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 sticks cinnamon
6 star anise pods
3 black and orange peel tea bags or 1/4 cup loose leaf black tea and a 2-inch piece dried orange peel
Optional: 1 black cardamom pod
Soft boil the eggs. I prefer using an electric food steamer for 12 minutes, a little past soft-boiled, but not quite hard-boiled. That's because they'll be cooked a few extra minutes and I didn't want the eggs to become rubbery.
When the eggs are done, let them cool down and then lightly crack the shells without peeling them. Set aside.
In a pot, add 6 cups water, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 2 sticks cinnamon, 6 star anise pods, 3 bags of black and orange peel tea, or 1/4 cup loose leaf black tea and a 2-inch piece of dried orange peel. I actually used three teabags and loose leaf tea for a stronger concentration of tea flavor. If you have it, add a black cardamom pod too.
Add the eggs to the pot and bring the spiced tea mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let simmer for 15 minutes. Cover. Leave the eggs to steep overnight.
The next morning, the eggs should all be stained brown from the soy sauce and tea. You can peel them before serving, or let each guest peel the eggs themselves. Store in a covered container in the fridge.
How quickly the kids have grown! I had lil' sis hide plastic eggs stuffed with candy, crackers, and stickers in the backyard for the kids to find. My brother insisted they not have baskets so that they'd have to carry the eggs in their hands, thus slowing down how fast they can go.
Easter egg hunt done, it was time to eat. I only invited my cousins so it was a small menu of Roast Pork Loin with Garlic and Rosemary, Baked Chicken with Salt, Pepper, and Lemon with roasted vegetables, Macaroni and Cheese, and the tea eggs.
The box in the back was a dozen cream puffs from Beard Papa's (Although, probably from the Monterey Park location since San Gabriel closed.) courtesy of my third cousin. They were sooo good! I hadn't eaten a Beard Papa's cream puff since my blog post in 2007! I had forgotten how much I liked them. The middle '87 arrived later with a strawberry custard pie from Marie Callendar's that was quickly devoured as well.
My nephew wanted to take home some of the tea eggs, I gave a few to my neighbor, so I ended up boiling another half dozen eggs just for photos.
Other egg recipes:
Banh Mi Hot Ga Op La (Vietnamese French Bread with Sunny Side Up Eggs)
Cha Trung (Vietnamese Meatloaf Steamed Egg Omelet)
Chao Hot Vit Bac/Bach Thao (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Preserved/Century/Thousand-year Duck Egg)
Chinese Tomato Egg Shrimp Stir-Fry
Com Chien Toi Trung (Vietnamese Garlic Fried Rice with Eggs)
Deviled Eggs with Dill and Sour Cream
Thit Heo Kho Trung (Vietnamese Braised Pork with Eggs)
Triple-Deviled Eggs with Black Pepper, Paprika, and Sriracha
Vegetable-Dyed Crackled Eggs
1 year ago today,
2 years ago today,
3 years ago today,
4 years ago today, Pollo Campero - Commerce (Closed).
5 years ago today, columbines in my garden.
6 years ago today, Yong Tau Foo (Chinese Stuffed Tofu).
7 years ago today, Ma Po Tofu (Chinese Pockmarked Old Lady's Tofu).