I decided to take part in a Chinese New Year virtual potluck and giveaway at Appetite for China. Participants will receive a copy of Diana’s cookbook, “The Chinese Takeout Cookbook,” and be entered to win a couple of prizes. I jumped at the opportunity to try another one of Diana’s recipes (I really like her Siracha garlic wings recipe) and am looking forward to checking out her cookbook! Many thanks to Diana for hosting this great virtual event and giveaway.
There were seven recipes from “The Chinese Takeout Cookbook” to choose from and I gave the Chinese tea eggs a try. 茶葉蛋 (or tea leaf eggs) were a major part of my childhood in Taiwan. I remember buying them at school for a snack. The smell reminds me of 7-11, where tea leaf eggs are always simmering. It is also a dish I have not been able to recreate at home, which isn’t good when I have a craving for it.
One of the unique characteristics of tea leaf egg is the marbling pattern on the egg. This is created by cracking hard boiled eggs before simmering the eggs in the tea mixture. I think the first few eggs I cracked probably had more egg shell separate than I wanted, but I think I got the hang of it.
The only black tea I had on hand was Earl Grey tea. I suppose it was an appropriate choice since I left out the dried mandarin peel because I didn’t have any. Earl Grey tea is flavored with bergamont orange to imitate Chinese tea, so I guess it helped create the right flavor to the tea mixture. I did add black peppercorn. Since I cooked more eggs than called for in the recipe, I increased the amount of ingredients for the tea mixture.
After about an hour of simmering, the kitchen started to smell exactly like how I remember tea leaf eggs smelling. The ingredients produced just the right balance of sweet and savory. I almost felt like I did not even need to eat the eggs, the ability to recreate the smell alone was a success.
I let the eggs simmer for a total of two hours before taking a few out for a try. The marbling pattern already formed on the surface, but the flavor was pretty light. The ends of the egg did not look as good as the sides. I’ll probably need to work on my egg cracking technique!
I left the rest of the eggs in the pot (with the stove off) to soak up some more of the tea mixture. The marbling became more intense, and I could taste the tea mixture in the egg white. Yum! I also had an egg with some noodles. I’m so glad I tried the recipe and now I can make tea leaf eggs whenever I have a craving. It’s such a delicious snack!
I’m so glad Diana shared her recipe for tea eggs. I encourage you to check out Appetite for China and “The Chinese Takeout Cookbook” for this and other great recipes. The virtual potluck and giveaway ends on February 24, 2013.