I stumbled upon a tea egg recipe a few months ago. I had never heard of tea eggs before. Apparently they’re a popular snack in China. (Most of the recipes I read made mention that all the 7-11s carry them.) I was intrigued and made a mental note to try them. With Easter coming up this weekend, I thought they would be my fun egg dyeing project. They come with the added bonus that you end up with extra tasty eggs. I looked at numerous recipes and amalgamated them into one of my very own.
- 6 large eggs
- 1/2 cup gluten-free soy sauce
- 3 star anise
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teabags of black tea
- Place eggs in a medium-sized saucepan. Fill with cold water until eggs are covered by about one inch.
- Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 1/2 minutes. Remove eggs from water. Place in an ice bath or run under cold water to cool.
- Once eggs are cool enough to be handled, crack the shells using a knife.
- Place the eggs back in the water and add the other ingredients.
- Bring the pot back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. Turn off heat. When saucepan has cooled, cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Peel and eat. Eggs will keep for about 4 days.
(Makes 6 eggs)
The eggs can be eaten warm right after they are finished simmering. Since I knew I was going to be soaking the eggs, I simmered mine for around 1 hour 45 minutes. I did eat one at this point. The marbling was less pronounced. And the flavor lessened as the egg cooled. If you were going to eat the eggs right away, I’d suggest a longer simmer. Soaking overnight definitely added more flavor. The eggs tasted salty, had a nice licorice flavor and a hint of cinnamon. (“Licorice and egg? That’s good?”) Yes it is.
I used pu-erh tea because it was mentioned in numerous recipes, but my understanding is that any black tea should work. I didn’t taste any tea flavor. I gather that despite the fact they are called tea eggs, tea is not supposed to be the dominant flavor. However, I would add another bag or two next time I make them.
In general, I think the idea is for Chinese five spice blend to be used as the seasoning. According to the great, all-knowing Wikipedia, five spice blend consists of star anise, cinnamon, clove, sichuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds. Many times ginger is included too.
I actually found a five spice blend at our grocery store but was not confident in it’s gluten-freeness. I contacted the company of the brand I saw, and it turns out Dynasty Five Spice Powder is gluten-free.
If you find five spice powder or all of the individual spices, go ahead and use them. It seems that many recipes understand that might be a bit of an undertaking, so they only call for the cinnamon and star anise.
I thought I was being pretty cavalier with my cracking, but my eggs showed much less marbling then many of the pictures I saw. No need be gentle.
For everyone who has not dyed their Easter eggs yet. The cracking technique can be applied to regular dyed eggs too–which we never did as children, but I sure wish we did. Don’t miss your memory making opportunity. ;)