Cha Ye Dan – Chinese Tea Eggs

Tea Eggs

We invite you to make an experiment and try this Chinese specialty. In China and Taiwan you can taste Tea Eggs on every corner. The recipes vary in different places and everyone is proud of their special way of making them.

Tea Eggs are associated with the Chinese New Year feasts and – same as golden nuggets − they are the symbol of wealth in the coming year. They are delicious and look great – their beautifully coloured surface resembles marble or jade.

You need:

6 eggs
1.5 dl (1/3 pt) dark soy sauce
2 stars of anise
2 teaspoons of black tea – ideally a darker Taiwanese oolong, but any dark tea, such as Assam, will do
2 pieces of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 strips of tangerine rind
1 teaspoon of Sichuan pepper

Hard-boil the eggs as usual, for 5−7 minutes. Cool them under running cold water and carefully tap them all over with the back side of a spoon to crack the shell evenly, as if you were about to peel them. But don’t peel yet! Keep in mind that the more evenly and thoroughly you crack the shell the more beautiful and interesting eggs you will get in the end.

Take the pot in which you have boiled them and fill it with two cups of water and the rest of the ingredients. Put the eggs carefully in, bring to a boil and keep boiling for at least 40 minutes. Turn the fire down even more and let the eggs steep, rather than boil, in the hot infusion for several more hours, ideally over night.
Peel the eggs, enjoy their beauty − and then also the taste. It will be a pleasant surprise.

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