Friday, January 25, 2013

Tea Cuisine: Marbled Tea Eggs 茶葉蛋


- Eggs (any number, but make sure they cover only one layer in the pot)
- Boiling water
- 100ml light soy sauce/tamari sauce
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce (add more if you prefer a darker colour)
- 1 tsp sugar

(A) Herbs and Spices
- 2 tbsp black, non-floral tea (preferably Chinese tea such as pu-er 普洱, tie guan yin 铁观音 or oolong 乌龙) or 2 black tea leaves bag (if using tea bag, only use the tea filter bag, cut away the string and paper handle)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise
- 2 small pieces of dried tangerine/orange peel
- 3 cloves
- 6 peppercorns, lightly bruised
- 2 small pieces of dang gui aka Angelica sinensis, Chinese Angelica Root, 当归 (optional, for the herbal taste)

For extra herbal taste (optional, for step 4 below)
- 5 pieces of dang gui
- 1 tsp wolfberries, soaked in water for at least 5 minutes

1. Prepare hard boiled eggs till they are 80% cooked. 
Place eggs in saucepan of cold water (enough water to cover eggs). 
Bring to a boil for about 2 minutes, turn off the flame and cover with lid for about 7 minutes (for 100% hard boiled eggs, it’s about 10 minutes). 
Rinse the eggs with cold water till they are cooled.
2. Gently tap the exterior of the eggs with the back of the spoon to form cracks evenly around the egg, careful to leave the entire shell still intact and covering the egg. This will create the beautiful “marbled” look and also allow the flavors to seep through the eggs.

3. In a slow cooker, arrange the eggs to occupy one layer in the pot. 
Then add boiling water (just enough to cover the eggs), soy sauces, sugar, tea and the ingredients in (A). Set the slow cooker on high for about 1-2 hours (starting from the time you see the water boiling in the slow cooker). Thereafter simmer on low for as long as you like till ready to serve.
 If  not using a slow cooker, just bring all the ingredients in a pot to a boil, then simmer for about 2-3 hours.

4. For extra herbal flavor,  add an extra 5 pieces of dang gui to the pot one hour before serving (do not want to leave them in for too long as it will result in bitter taste).
 Five minutes before serving, add the soaked wolfberries. For this herbal version, serve the eggs in a shallow dish with some broth, wolfberries and dang gui pieces poured over it.

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