Have you ever tried the Chinese Tea eggs from streets in Chinatown? They have brown marbled pattern and smell of fragrant herb and spice. My kids love them and always ask me to buy some if I visit Chinatown. They are actually pretty easy to make at home. You need some herbal spices, tea leaves or bags, soy sauce, and optional rock sugar (crystal sugar).
1. Eggs (10 - 20, depends on how fast you will eat them). I use 10 eggs here.
2. Tea egg package (big tea bag and an pre-mixed herbal spice pouch), if you can not find pre-mixed Tea Egg Spice package, use 2-3 black tea bags and a mix of the herbs below . It does not have to be exact, just gather whatever you can find. You only need a few pieces of each herb. Too much will overpower the flavor. Put all herbs in a cheese cloth or herbal tea bag for easy cleaning up.
Use combination of the following herbs if you do not have Tea Egg Package. It is Ok to add or minus a few herbs. Everyone has their own "secret" formula. Star Anise is the must have in my opinion.
- Licorice Root
- Star Anise
- Bay leaves
- black pepper
3. Soy sauce - traditionally dark soy sauce and regular one are both used. Just use any soy sauce you have. It adds the color and salty flavor.
4. Rock sugar (optional) - it adds a shiny texture to the egg, and a little sweet balances all the salt and spice. You can use a little bit of regular sugar to substitute.
1. Put all eggs in a medium pot with water covering the eggs plus about 1 inch of water.
2. Put the tea bags and spice bags into the pot.
3. Bring the water to boil, reduce the heat and cook for 8-10 minutes.
4. Crack the egg shell with a metal spoon or fork, so the liquid will soak through the crack and create the marble pattern. Put all eggs back to the liquid.
5. Add some rock sugar. The rock sugar can add a shiny texture of the egg, and some sweetness. Also add 1-2 tablespoon of Soy sauce for a darker color.
6. Bring the heat down and let it simmer for at least 1 to 2 hour. The longer you cook, the darker the color of the egg will be, and the stronger the flavor.
That's it. Let it cool down and enjoy. You can leave the eggs soaking in the herbal tea liquid overnight in refrigerator for more flavor. The leftover herbal liquid can be used to cook Pork or Tofu. It taste similar to traditional "5 spice" seasoning. They go very well with steamed white rice.
My tea eggs are almost have gone by end of the day. If you have kids that are always hungry, I recommend making a bigger batch. They can be stored in refrigerator for many days!