Everything You Need to Know About Chinese Tea Eggs
Chinese Tea eggs are a popular Chinese snack that is made by boiling eggs in tea and spices. The tea leaves give the eggs a dark brown color and a unique flavor. Steep them overnight gives the egg the “marble” look. Tea eggs are a popular Chinese snack enjoyed by people of all ages.
Black tea is the most common ingredient in tea eggs. It gives the eggs a dark brown color and a strong tea fragrance flavor. Jasmine tea, green tea, or even oolong tea also works, but they seem to have less flavor somehow. I have made Chinese tea eggs numerous times. I personally think black tea is the best and brings out the best flavor of everything. If you don’t have tea leaves, you can always use regular tea bags.
The result is a soft-boiled egg that has been marinated in a flavorful tea mixture. Tea eggs can be eaten hot or cold. You can serve them over rice, or noodles, or just eat them as a quick protein snack or as a breakfast.
They are also sold as a popular street snack in China. When I was in Malaysia and Singapore for high school years ago, they were everywhere too, from the street market to the indoor mall. It is quite usual for you to find Asian parents packing tea eggs in kids’ lunch boxes as part of their lunch or for a field trip!
The Origin of Tea Eggs
Tea eggs are believed to have originated from the Zhejiang Province in China. They were first mentioned in a cookbook from the Song Dynasty, which was written over 900 years ago.
Tea eggs became popular during the Ming Dynasty when they were often eaten as a snack or given as gifts. Tea eggs became even more popular during the Qing Dynasty when they were sold on the streets of Beijing.
Today, tea eggs are enjoyed by people all over China.
The Dry Ingredients
The dry ingredients in tea eggs play an important role in giving the eggs their unique flavor and color. Some of the most common ingredients include black tea, green tea, cinnamon sticks, Sichuan peppercorns, star anise, and bay leaves.
Black tea is the most common ingredient in tea eggs. It gives the eggs a dark brown color and a strong tea fragrance flavor. Jasmine tea and green tea also work.
Cinnamon sticks add a mild spicy flavor to the eggs, whereas Sichuan peppercorns add a tingling sensation to the tongue. Star anise and bay leaves are both aromatic spices that give the tea eggs a pleasant smell.
The flavor of the Chinese Tea Eggs
The flavor of tea eggs is unique and complex. The tea gives the eggs a strong flavor, while the spices add depth and dimension. The eggs are also slightly sweet, salty, and savory.
The texture of tea eggs is soft and creamy.
Chinese tea eggs are an excellent snack that can be enjoyed at any time of day. They are very easy to make in advance and can be tailored to your own personal taste. With their unique flavor and inviting aroma, I am sure they will become your new favorite!
Chinese Tea Eggs
- Boil the egg for 7 minutes only. Take the egg immediately out. Run cold water over the egg or soak in ice water until the egg cools down. This is done to stop the egg-cooking process. I use running water in this recipe. It is just easier for me. Set the eggs aside.
- Put all the ingredients except the egg into a pot and bring it to a boil. Let it continually simmer for about 10 minutes on low medium heat. Then turn off the heat and let it steep until it slowly cools down.
- Now, let’s crack the eggs! Use a spoon to slowly smack the eggshell, but not too hard. Make sure you don’t break the eggshell completely but barely break it. It takes several tries to get the right intensity. This will give the egg a perfect “marble” looks with all the broken eggshells. (Be careful not to break the egg yolk inside.)
- Put all of the cracked eggs into an air-tight container and pour the pre-made sauce over the egg. Make sure every egg is deeply buried into the sauce!
- Keep the container in the refrigerator and set 24 hours.
- After 24 hours, let’s eat!